editor’s farewell note

 

I feel a bit like the Great and Powerful (or maybe the Medium-sized and Somewhat Effective) Oz here, stepping into a natural voice from behind the scenes, only just in time to say good-bye. Rebecca Wolff asked me to be the fiction editor for Fence when there was no Fence, and I was lucky to be asked and smart to say yes, because under the banner of Rebecca’s incredible ability to will Fence into an existence that persuaded others from the beginning, I was allowed to play briefly at being an editor of vision and importance while mainly indulging my whims. In six issues I got to solicit fiction (and engage in dizzy correspondence) with venerable heroes of my youth, and to “discover” or anyway lay passing claim to some emerging voices who’ll be, you know, rocking your world for decades to come. And to push odd, unexpected things into proximity of one another: the Fence pledge.

 

The fiction here in Fence #6 has an elegant full-circle quality which humors my hopes that the right time had come to let go of the job: I finally got something out of Pamela Zoline, who was the writer I first solicited and most wanted to publish when I started. And Andy Mozina feels like another writer Fence will want to claim credit for discovering, as if. And our excerpt from the superb Paula Fox is the first time I’ve gotten to do what the poetry department’s been doing, and reprint something “lost.” And the Chris Offutt story is just so fucking great. And, niftiest trick of all, I’d been holding Ben Marcus’s incredible A Message from the Father of Fathers until #6, not knowing that he’d turn out by then to be my own replacement, and in my opinion, an ideal one. When you do a vanishing act you want something cool left standing in your place after the puff of smoke drifts offstage—he’s it. What’s left is to say thank you, to contributors, submitters, readers, and most of all, to all those names you’ll find on the masthead. Bye. 

 

Jonathan Lethem