By Sonja LeDuc (nom of feather)
In the beginning – which must be the most vivid three words ever strung together in an opening sentence in the entire history of literature – The Sopris Sun wanted to publish the work of local creative writers. We have tried before. As anyone who creates something out of nothing knows, it takes more than one attempt. We will try again. No pressure, but the literary page we call “Work in Progress” depends on you, the creative writer.
The title, “Work in Progress,” expresses the idea that The Sopris Sun is finding its way in this endeavor with creative writers joining the ride. We invite authors who want their words read even before they are polished to perfection. Work in Progress focuses on a moment in the creative process. The criticism is accepted.
Novelists, short story writers, poets, haiku writers and seekers of truth in words can participate. Take out the novels and self-published manuscripts stored in a drawer. Parade these darlings in front of the kind readers of The Sun. If a writer worries that readers aren’t gentle enough, he can feel free to embrace that age-old protection, that impenetrable veil of mystery, the pen name.
Local artists, artisans and musicians have many venues to publicly showcase their imaginations and skills, while creative writers have few opportunities to do so.
Most writers are invisible until their published novel is proclaimed a blockbuster. That seems too narrow a definition of success. Sopris Sun’s status as a not-for-profit association calls the association to meet needs that are not met by other entities. One of the needs at Carbondale is a published space for creative writers to read. Our mission statement, “inform, inspire and build community by fostering diverse and independent journalism” is our license to provide that space.
The newspaper regrets not being able to remunerate the creators. However, self-published authors whose work is published may credit their books and blogs free of charge. And, depending on how this community literary sharing experience unfolds, we expect that there will be charitable foundations that we can apply for funding someday. But it is ahead of this story.
The Sopris Sun will not publish novels in consecutive installments like all those by Charles Dickens. We do, however, intend to release news in installments.
It is rare these days for a printed newspaper to publish original fiction and poetry. Since we’ll also be accepting original submissions of never-before-seen illustrations and cartoons, Work in Progress is a humble tribute to The New Yorker, America’s most famous literary weekly. To that note, the magazine’s founder, Harold Ross, was born in a poor prospector’s cabin in Aspen in 1892 and lived in the Roaring Fork Valley with his family until he was eight years old. His father got by, moving from one rugged Colorado mining town to another. Ross is said to have been hampered by his schooling in the Rockies in reading and writing and later taught himself from grammar books and dictionaries.
We chose April 21 as the launch date for Work in Progress because it is William Shakespeare’s birthday week. This seems appropriate since this date, and the bard himself, could be fictional. The nearly two-month forecast also gives us time to cache an inventory of literary works, and it’s up to you to piece it together.
It’s time to begin, standing still in what Philip Roth called “the profoundly uneventful activity” of writing.
Work in Progress Submissions:
Fiction, short stories and poetry up to 800 words may be accepted. We may also publish excerpts of up to 800 words from a single long work, such as a novel. Writers of all ages are welcome. Submit works to [email protected]