For the last few issues, the team here at OQ has noticed a decline in the number of letters to the editor we are receiving. This makes us scratch our heads a little and wonder why.
We realize that in 2016 there are quicker ways to comment and respond to content than to fill up the fountain pen and pull out the fine stationery. But still. We are not getting tons of feedback, and we really do love to hear from readers.
If you’ve been working at magazines as long as we have, you expect some articles to cause controversy or raise someone’s hackles. So the calm periods are usually followed by a storm. It’s like when the tide goes out, and you’re waiting for its inevitable return. But our tide’s been out for a while. And we miss it.
Whatever you think of this or any other issue of OQ, and no matter what’s on your mind, we truly do want to hear from you. Comment on stories at OregonQuarterly.com, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, post on our Facebook page, or use that last forever stamp and write to us at 5228 University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403-5228. We do try to print as many letters as possible.
We often hear from Joe Fischer, BA ’60, MFA ’63 (Longview, Washington), an artist who sends us handwritten class notes about his latest commissions in envelopes decorated with colorful images of the Duck, like the one that illustrates this page. Joe even sent Jonathan a painting to congratulate him on his new role as editor. (The painting, which is lovely, depicts Cape Disappointment, but Jonathan is choosing not to take that as a commentary on his prospects for success.)
We also heard from Craig Weckesser, BA ’64 (Rochester, Washington), but his letter was so nice, you’ll probably think we made it up. He writes, “I’ve been a little ill the past few days, thus this belated message to you all. Congratulations and Wow on a wonderful Spring OQ issue. I think the OQ made me well.” Craig goes on to compliment the members of our team and many of our contributors on their work on the last issue. We’re not sure we believe in the healing powers of this magazine, but next time you’re feeling under the weather, take two aspirin, and read OQ in the morning.
Perhaps the most striking letter we received was not in response to any content in the magazine, but was in response to the letter we sent to the 348 entrants who were not selected as finalists in the Northwest Perspectives Essay Contest. Anne Guerin of Langlois, Oregon, wrote:
“Rejection letters are not any fun, but the graciousness of thought and tone in your letter eased the sting. I especially appreciated ‘please keep writing’ and intend to do so as a member of a memoir writing group of remarkable women with remarkable stories to tell.”
We do hope Anne and her friends keep writing. And you, too. Essays. Sestinas. Manifestos. Clever tweets. And once in while, maybe a note to us?