Letter from Guest Fiction Editor, Stefanie Freele


A Far-Reaching Introduction

That is what I thought I’d mention: a revelatory bit about each fabulous hand-picked Corium Magazine story, a humorous moment during the choosing of the pieces, a proud coach-like cheer saying “this is my team.”

However, the instant I began to sort through the stories, remarking in a tidy side-list how this particular one moved me, this one showed a new angle on an over-written subject, this one made me wish I wrote it, this one gave a grin, the stories themselves- which had been muttering and whispering during this categorizing and searching business – chose a leader, who confronted me.

This brave story, whose title will remain unmentioned because after all it had merely drawn a straw and didn’t shout out to be any sort of argumentative activist, told me to “butt out, now”.

If you’ve ever been challenged by a piece of fiction, a small piece of powerful fiction, to keep your mouth shut and listen, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It is an embarrassing experience; my pea-sized ego yelled in its diminutive voice, “I’m the Guest Editor, I have taste, I have skill, I have something to say!”

Oh, did they laugh, these stories, snickering, “taste…. She has taste….”

I tried a little bit of guilt, “How dare you laugh, Corium is one of the most fantastic online magazines devoted to you: short-short commanding fiction.”

They tried to reign it in, I could tell, it was a svelte moment when the tittering faltered; they knew I was right, but, after all, they had the muscle.

I tried to explain how I wanted to showcase each of them.

“Showcase!” They burst, swelling with laughter, bumbling into each other, drunk on my buffoonery.

“I thought I’d point out your good parts.”

This sent them into horselaughs, cackles, and finally, with the holding of stomachs, they explained with the patience of a first grade teacher to a slow-learner, “You never did have any say in our existence. Not then, not now. Enough, enough, let us speak for ourselves.”

It was clear; I was but an intrusionary joke worth only minor consideration.

So, not pouting, I did not pout, I went to the driveway, and you know that 56 Chevy Stepside that sits in the yard, doing just that, sitting in the yard. It has but one purpose (other than collecting leaves). If you hit the back bumper on just the right spot with a rubber mallet, a striking sound will reverberate much like a gong and a little bit like an extended cough.

I gave that truck a good strong wack, Yooooonnnnnnng.

And then I stated, “Stories, go tell your stories.” I said this with assurance and coolness, as if it was my idea all along.