editor’s note





There have been more than a few moments, during these short 9 years of its life so far, in which it seemed impossible that Fence should go on. Money, organizational integrity, aesthetic imperative, blah blah blah. Money again. The perils of the nonprofit, the disease of the founder, the disbanding of a band of intrepid editors. There have been moments in which it seemed that Fence was sick; Fence was dying. Fence was certainly out of my control, and I thought I ought to kill Fence. But I wouldn’t hurt a fly.

Now here we are, nine years in, and Fence is ready to begin anew.

My great flaw as a raconteur and a pedagogue—simply as a maker of sense— is that I find it exceedingly tedious to repeat myself. It seems that in these contexts one is asked, indeed is required, for the sake of appearances and all that relies on them, to work up a schtick. Here is where I might go into a retelling of Fence‘s beginnings, and of why and how it all started, and some of the things that happened along the way, and where we are now.* But instead I’d rather just pretend that you all already know, and jump to the present moment, which finds us all together now in the present moment, beginning anew.

I now live in the Hudson Valley of New York, and I have two small children. I’m not quite suburban; more like a disaffected urbanite finding inner peace in the outer reaches of the confounded exurban. Greene County! Land of moldy Federalist manses. It is my fondest hope to bring Fence into its second life, its next nine years, with a correlative sense of marshalled resources, of unimpeded energies, of providence regained.

I do this with deep gratitude for the people, readers and workers, who have stood not by Fence, as though it were an embattled precept in a debate, but rather around Fence. You stood around, and Fence went on, and here it goes.

This is a muted cri de triomphe, perhaps, but there are clear signs of celebration afoot: most notably, the exuberance of Elliott Green’s images gracing this, our 9th anniversary issue. Those who remember our very first Fence ever will recognize his handiwork, and furthermore will be able to imagine my surprise when I called him on the phone, out of the blue, after nine years, to see if he might be able to supply us with more of these unheimlich romps, and discovered him to be my neighbor in Greene County. O that I could be neighbors with all of these visions.

*For those who would like to read just such an accounting, keep your ears to the ground for A Best of Fence: The First Nine Years, forthcoming in the fall of 2007, edited by and featuring essays by all twelve of Fence’s all-time editors: Caroline Crumpacker, Katherine Lederer, Jonathan Lethem, Ben Marcus, Frances Richard, Matthew Rohrer, Christopher Stackhouse, Max Winter, Lynne Tillman, Charles Valle, Rebecca Wolff, and Jason Zuzga.