This issue marks the start of our fourth year of publication. Last year, in honor of our anniversary milestone, we introduced open (no fee) submissions during the month of October. We got a flood of submissions that month—it was such a flood, in fact, that it has taken us nearly a year to publish all of the good stuff we received. Four of the pieces in this issue came to us during last October’s open submissions period. These writers are great (and very patient). Open submissions happens once again this month, and I can’t wait to see what you have to share with us. I know there will be some gems.
Last year we also hosted an anniversary reading featuring contributors from Sacramento, where we are based, and others from across the country joined us virtually by way of Google Hangouts. The entire thing was broadcast live online, and we had viewers from as far away as India and Canada! (If you’re interested, you can view the recording on YouTube.)
This year, to mark the end of our third year, we’re launching a new series called Gum Tree Live. A live online reading via Google Hangout will precede each issue. The premiere will be on Thursday, October 9, at 6 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time. You can watch from wherever you are by following this link. We’ll also be announcing the event and sending reminders from all of our social media channels so be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Tumblr. In this, our three-year anniversary issue, we’ve gathered work from writers across the country: Texas, Pennsylvania, California, Virginia and Massachusetts. Each of them will read a five-minute teaser, which we hope will entice you to subscribe (if you haven’t already) and to help share the power of these stories.
Under the Gum Tree is a reader-supported magazine. That means the dollars you spend subscribing or buying an individual copy is the only revenue that sustains its publication. We are so excited that our subscription base is growing! We can’t do what we do without the support of people like you—Patrons of the Arts—people who believe that art and true, personal storytelling is an important part of enriching our lives and making the world a better place for all of us; people who believe that art brings value to the world and its value is worth paying for. After all, masterpieces like Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel or James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake wouldn’t exist without the patronage of people who found the work to be so important that they supported the artists so that they could be devoted to their art full-time.
The Information Age has made it possible for artists like me and the contributors whose work you find in these pages to be supported by many patrons, each contributing a small amount to make our work possible—grass roots patronage! You’ll notice a new page in this issue making it easier for people to enjoy our magazine. Indisputably, a hard copy looks really nice on a coffee table. Looking for something to hang on your walls instead? We have some fun and, dare I say inspiring, posters available through our page on Tugboat Yards. Prefer to wear your support? Get yourself some buttons for a one-time $5 contribution.
And I ask that you share this issue of Under the Gum Tree with others you know who might fancy themselves patrons in need of artists to support. Thank you for your contributions to contemporary art and story telling.
Here’s to your help telling stories without shame,
Janna Marlies Maron
Note: this is my editor’s letter from Issue 13 of Under the Gum Tree. Read my other editor’s letters here.