Today is the last day of Longform Fiction. Back in 2011, during a stint of unemployment, my former professor/current friend-confidante Jeremy P. Bushnell asked me to join him in a new venture. He launched a small website/social media feed called Instafiction, modeled after Longform and Longreads, but devoted to fiction, since there didn't appear to be a site of that nature.
Our following was small, but received attention from Max Linsky and Aaron Lammer, the founders of Longform, and after some talks, Jeremy and I agreed to be the first fiction editors for their site. It's been two years, and we felt it was time to step away. Jeremy had his first novel published earlier this year, and he's in the process of working on a new book. I'm officially starting my thesis hours (!) in the spring semester, which is a fancy, technical way of saying: I'm writing a novel as well. The time devoted to curating daily fiction is too much to handle, since I'll need to devote as much free time as possible to writing and editing, in addition to my class and graduate assistant requirements. Even though Longform Fiction is going away, I didn't want to leave Longform entirely.
Therefore, starting in January, I'm starting a new role as a contributing editor to the site. My focus will be the same, but not as time-consuming. I'll still have to do lots of reading, but I do that anyway; as someone in the literary community, I feel it's my obligation to read, support, and engage with other artists, regardless of whether it's for a website or for my own learning.
I'm grateful that Max and Aaron are excited to keep me on. And at the risk of sounding sappy, I simply cannot thank Jeremy enough. He's been one of the biggest influences in my growth as a writer and reader. He read my embarrassing, awful first attempts at fiction when I was 18, has always been ready with a quick text message of support if I'm ever down about something, and I hope he and I can work together in the future on a similar project. So thanks, Jeremy. For everything.
The countless hours I've spent reading for Instafiction and Longform have put me in touch with some amazing artists and journals, many of whom I'm honored to call friends, even if we only know each other through social media. Every part of these projects has been essential in my growth as a writer and a reader, and I wouldn't be in an MFA program if this engagement with great, contemporary artists hadn't happened.
Here's to a great 2015 for everyone. I can't wait to see new work appear in the world. Onward.