Sunday, April 8, 2018

Submissions Closed for Final Issue

The final issue is going to be in September 2018. Right here. Soon. Submissions now closed.

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The first issue of TDR appeared online in September 1999. At the time, I was 30 years old and just moving out of my parents' basement (again, and for the last time).

I had been writing book reviews for Paragraph Magazine, which focused on Canadian small press books. Then it folded. At time same time, I was curious about starting an online literary magazine, as an experiment. The internet was new. Would it work? How would it work? Could we fill a need for commentary about small press Canadian books?

Well, it did work, and it was a lot of work, and it was on top of my 9-5 work and my personal writing work, but it was fun and interesting and a challenge and found a niche, publishing fiction, poetry, book reviews, interviews, occasional essays and other features.

It was exhausting and exhilarating. And I kept it going even after I married in 2007, become a step-father to two at the same time. But by 2009, I felt it had run its course (a decade was a good run, and I wanted to focus my spare time on being a family man, and we also got turned down for a grant, which made it harder to justify continuing (i.e., paying people to do what I had done for free)). So I announced the magazine would be taking a break, which it did.

In 2010, my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, and our lives changed forever. It will sound strange to hear it, but we often said the cancer made our lives specifically better, while making them generally worse. We meant, it made us focus on what was important.

It became clear to me that one important thing I missed was being a fiction editor. Missed that engagement with writing and the surprises of reviewing submissions. So in 2011, I started TDR 2.0, a fiction only blog (with occasional interviews).

Shortly after I re-started the magazine, doctors discovered that my wife's cancer had metastasized, which meant it had become terminal. Even so, we were determined to keep our lives so-called normal. What happened in those next months I will never forget; the spirit displayed by my super hero wife will remain with me until the end of my days.

Which is to say, I kept up with the new TDR and stated that I would try to publish an issue a month. (It has slowed down to a new issue every two or three months.) In 2012, my wife passed away and the magazine continued. I took time off work, then went back to work. In 2014, I had heart surgery. The magazine continued.

So why is the next issue the final issue? Well, let's say it's the final issue of TDR 2.0. I'm going to take an extended break. There may be a TDR 3.0; there may not.

Lately, the number of submissions has dropped. I'm not sure what that means, but for a long time I have said to myself that I would continue as long as people kept sending me their stuff. That is slowing down, but it's also true that I am slowing down. And my step-children are growing up. And I have writing projects that I want to focus on without (too much) distraction.

So that's where we're at.

I'll have more to say about my reflections on two decades of online literary publishing at a later date.

For now, please submit and let's do this one more time. The final issue is going to be in September 2018. New writers are particularly welcome!

Thank you to all who have submitted over the years, and all who have been part of TDR, as writers or as staff. I'll have more to say about those fantastic people later, too.

- Michael Bryson, March 31, 2018

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