When we launched VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions in Fall 2012, we never imagined that over 16,000 first-time viewers would visit our first four editions. While we all love books we can hold in our hands, we are now awe-struck with the reach of online publications.
We are also amazed how every issue has been a miracle of collaboration. Since we rotate guest editors, our volunteers have to quickly master Submittable, Dropbox, and Excel spreadsheets. In addition, they have to adapt to each other’s working styles and establish guidelines for communicating with their team members and with authors and artists. And they have to accomplish all this within a three-month timeframe!
By the time this current crop of editors finished learning, reading, pondering, rating and editing, we discovered we had a very strong field of 14 poets, 6 prose writers, 5 young voices and 5 artists. In addition, our poetry and prose editors wrote feedback letters to 29 authors who requested further insights into their work. Going this extra mile adds hours to our editors’ commitment, but it’s one they embrace enthusiastically issue after issue.
We finally delivered our chosen voices and visions to Deb Scott, our intrepid designer, who worked her magic to produce another edition that fills us with pride and takes our breath away.
Since the job of a managing editor is not merely to support, but to cheer on our journal volunteers, I’d like to shout out four cheers for the following women:
Our Guest Poetry Co-Editors Emily Pittman Newberry, Pattie Palmer-Baker and Wendy Thompson who met face-to-face as well as communicated via email as they made their selections. When it came time to edit the work of accepted poets, they not only made email contact, but spoke by phone or met in person. And, probably a first for VoiceCatcher, when email failed to reach a poet whose worked they loved, the husband of one editor hand-delivered a letter to the author’s home mailbox. Message received. Contact made. Poems accepted.
Guest Prose Co-Editors Michelle Fredette and Tiah Lindner Raphael who worked seamlessly over the phone and via email. Their in-depth comments about each piece of fiction and non-fiction opened my eyes to more astute ways of reading prose. They were mentors not only to one another and to authors, but to me.
Helen Sinoradzki, our Prose Line Editor, who lent another set of expert eyes to ensure each selection was as accurate as possible. Just when we thought we had every comma and subject/predicate agreement correct, Helen taught us otherwise.
Sarah Fagan who played her role as Guest Art Editor while participating in a month-long art residency in Leavenworth, WA. Her outreach to local artists introduced VoiceCatcher to visions we hadn’t seen before. Her artistic intelligence, so apparent in this issue, offers us a diversity of media as well as visions that energize this issue.
Deb Scott, the designer of all five of our editions, who worked with Sarah to ensure art translated effectively to our online format and who created another issue that itself is another unique work of art. Deb’s eye for design and her technological expertise make browsing this fifth edition a rich experience. It is no exaggeration to say that without Deb’s commitment to VoiceCatcher, our journal would not be as visually appealing or as easy to navigate as it is.
Donna Prinzmetal who completed her third issue as Youth Editor by taping five young women from four different high schools. She is an expert at guiding talented young authors through the revision process and teaching them how editing can make their pieces stronger.
Working with these high-energy women has been a rich learning experience for me, and I know I speak for everyone in the VoiceCatcher community when I thank them for their time, dedication and talent.
On their behalf, I invite you to celebrate their work in this issue and to meet our contributors as our reading series continues throughout 2014.