Long Train Runnin’
Well, this is awkward.
It’s been a while since I’ve been an active, visible member of Medium. Many excellent writers and even kinder people have moved on over the years, whether to the newsletter utopia of Substack or the latest newfangled online platform promising hungry writers visibility and better pay. Others are still here, plying their trade, even as the literary landscape keeps changing. I have the utmost respect for those talented, driven folks who can regularly crank out great stories week after week, year after year. I’ve had the pleasure to publish many of them.
I founded The Junction in November of 2015. It’s been a passion project to create a cozy destination for writers around the world to send their work. Running a publication, though, can be a thankless, time-consuming effort, as I’m sure many other editors of publications past and present can attest. Despite that, there’s a sense of responsibility to provide the best for our readers.
Over these last six years, I’ve spent my free time on Medium reading, reviewing, editing, and publishing thousands of stories, poems, and essays. Mike Sturm capably filled in when I was traveling abroad in places without internet access. Sven Howard proved invaluable by lending his keen eyes and thoughtful commentary to the submissions we received during the pandemic.
Last spring, we contemplated holding a short story competition with money prizes. Before we could get bogged down in the details of planning, however, something happened.
TLDR: I fell in love.
Some of you may have read a poem I wrote for her while she was hospitalized last summer with sepsis. Our story is a remarkable one, full of kismet. We reconnected twenty years after we graduated high school. Story coming soon.
Anyway, after living the past eleven years in France and thirteen total in Europe, I decided to quit my job as an English teacher, then sold or gave away most of my possessions (but never the books), and moved to the snow-capped mountains of Colorado in November to be with her.
A lot has changed. New relationship. New location. New job. New priorities. I find myself in the unfamiliar shoes of a family man, trying to learn on the fly how to be a part-time parent to a bright and headstrong ten-year-old girl who likes TikTok dances and Fortnite and fidget toys. I’ve always felt a little like a stranger in a strange land. But, as The Good Doctor Thompson once wrote:
Buy the ticket, take the ride.
Like any new endeavor, it’s both exhilarating and occasionally exhausting. Little wonder I needed a break and took a hiatus.
Now that I’m settled in and starting to find my rhythm again, I’ve felt the inevitable tug to return to writing, reading, and publishing. Plus, I’ve missed the community here. I’ve missed you. If you’re reading this newsletter for a definitive announcement, it’s this:
The Junction is back. (Although, really, it never went anywhere.)
Our mission hasn’t changed. We’re going to keep reviewing submissions in search of those golden nuggets that make it all worthwhile. But we’re also going to do it at a sustainable rate to avoid future burnout. At least, that’s the plan. But you know how those things go.
Thanks so much for reading.