Issue Sixteen - April 2010

Writing as Exploration

Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go. ~ E.L. Doctorow

Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say. ~Sharon O’Brien

As writers, we are inspired by just about anything under the sun – and moon – because we know our writing will take us places. Often, we don’t know where we’re going when we start but we stay along for the ride, moved to explore new terrain or dig deeply into old places. If we do think we know where we’re going when we begin, it’s not at all unusual to be surprised at where we actually end up.

This issue of SHARK REEF is full of journeys we might never have chosen, on roads we might never have noticed or never started, if some writer hadn’t put the exact right words down in the exact right order to set us on the way. Perhaps start with Margaret Payne’s meandering and hilarious homage to a new spatula and travel next to Ann Bodle Nash’s vibrant, cacophonous word pictures from her dusty volunteer adventure in Africa. Drift through a fictional young woman’s final encounter with her dying father. Then wander with the deer through Monica Woelfel’s garden; say goodbye with Ande Finley, as she leaves a loved home for a new one.

There’s much more, too: a stunning self portrait in words, not paint; an anatomy lesson; cherished childhood memories of family cars; a familiar children’s memory game and a hand game played by two people, both saying much more than you think at first glance; rainbow dogs; and a love poem or two. Our featured artist for spring is Caroline Buchanan, whose graceful watercolors are well known for their clear, bright light, resonant colors and depth of layering.

For us editors, opening our SHARK REEF e-mailbox is always exhilarating. We never know what riches we will find there and this issue was no exception. We invite you to read the offerings, savor the images and see what you think.