Tyler McAndrew, John Mauk and The Forge
I am writing so that I will remember the work of two writers I'd like to keep an eye on, and also to tell my readers, all three of them, about these writers. I read both at The Forge, a place where I'd like to publish. More on that later. Let me just acknowledge that every story I have read at The Forge I have really liked, which is not something I can say about every pub,
Tyler McAndrew lives and teaches at the University of Pittsburgh. His story, "Lake Shore Limited," is pitch perfect, excellent written and expertly cadenced. After following him and praising him on Twitter, I read another of his at Electric Literature (another pub I will have to keep an eye on), "My Prisoner." Again, excellent. I note McAndrew is a poet as well and it no doubt contributes to the quality of his work.
John Mauk is from Ohio, lives in my home state of Michigan (although up north somewhere) has a PhD (!), and has written textbooks as well as the wonderful story "Driving the Messiah." Once again, excellent prose, but also compelling plot, interesting characters, and richly evoked setting. I'm going to purchase his collection, Field Notes for the Earthbound, since my local library doesn't have it (it has one of his text books though) (and when I'm done with it, I will donate it to my local library encouraging them to ask him to read there if he's ever in the neighborhood).
Regarding The Forge, if you ever visit my web site, it will tell you that I am galvanizing my writing after an infertile period. In searching for places to submit work, I am spending a lot of time at different pubs, to see if they are a fit. I'm not sure what other people's methods are, but I keep a running list that includes a shorter "wish list" of pubs I admire and pubs where I'd like to publish. I find myself having to get into a couple different mindsets: one is writing, and doesn't think about where to publish, another is reading, and should disengage any thoughts of my own work while enjoying the work of others - but still with an eye on whether the pub is a fit or my stuff compares - still another is critical re-reading and editing of my work, and still another is reading for sheer love, pleasure and enrichment. It's strange that these have to be different mindsets or modes - like I said, I'm not sure how anybody else does it.