NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Readers, writers and poets from Memphis to Mountain City (and beyond!) now have a new literary journal to read, something that blends public service and Print-on-Demand (POD) technology: 2nd & Church.
"POD for 2nd & Church is a smart way to keep the prohibitive costs of publishing down and allow readers access that wouldn't ordinarily be found,” said Nashville novelist J.T. Ellison. “What better way to get a fabulous literary magazine in the hands of readers across the state, the country and the world?
“If you can just place an order and have a magazine show up in your mailbox, or on your e-reader, the possibilities are endless."
Ellison was the cover story for 2nd & Church’s first issue. Her prose is published in nearly two dozen countries, and she is the author of eight novels, including her latest book, A Deeper Darkness.
Nashville author Jaden Terrell agrees.
“If I were still self-publishing, I’d use POD technology,” Terrell said. “There’s less waste since the book isn’t printed until someone orders it.”
2nd & Church is the latest in a long line of publications across the country using POD technology to do what has traditionally been possible for only the large media outfits. One of these startups is Far Away Literary Magazine, of Knoxville, Tennessee.
"We’ve published three issues using POD so far,” said Co-Editor Christine Dano Johnson. “This has allowed two artists with a collective vision to effectively work together, despite our lack of start-up funds, lack of close-proximity (I live in East Tennessee, she lives in Australia) and lack of physical printing equipment. Without such services, Far Away Literary Magazine would still be a vaporous pipe dream, instead of the quietly successful, small press digital magazine that it is today."
“This is definitely guerrilla warfare publishing,” said Roy Burkhead, editor-in-chief and publisher of 2nd & Church. Burkhead was also the founder of The Writer’s Loft, MTSU’s non-residency certificate in creative writing. “The Web and editorial work is done in Nashville, the layout and design happens near the Gulf of Mexico, the fact checker—known as our factotum—is out of Wisconsin, our columnists are mostly in Tennessee, except for one on the West Coast, and the journals are printed in Oregon.”
“It’s exciting to see the birth of this new literary magazine,” Terrell said. “The online version looked so beautiful I had to order one in print, as well; with interviews, poetry, flash fiction, book excerpts, and articles on Tennessee’s literary landscape, the magazine is chock-full of thought-provoking content.
“It just goes to show that in some cases, you really can judge a book—or at least a magazine—by its cover: 2nd & Church is a beautiful publication, inside and out.”
“We’re comprised of creative and technical professionals who are trying to create a literary journal by, for, and about writers and readers throughout Tennessee,” Burkhead said. “Our goal is to be inclusive of many different types of writers and writing: creative nonfiction, technical writing, literary fiction, W4C, poetry, translation, songwriting and commercial fiction.”
According to Burkhead, he said that one of the things he’s most proud of about the new publication is bringing new writers and poets and/or new work to the public.
“Each issue will have some literary surprises, and that’s true for our second one,” Burkhead said. “This is our poetry issue, and our cover story is on Tennessee Poet Laureate Margaret (Maggi) Britton Vaughn, and she’s even written a couple of new poems especially for us.”
"2nd & Church is a beautiful journal, and it's fantastic,” Vaughn said. “It's delightful, informative, entertaining, and timely; I'm so excited to be a part of it, to be in the second issue. Roy has done an extraordinary job putting it out."
"Marking, as typical, a particular style or type of voice in the expansive world of modern poetry is impossible, even when one considers a specific region, state or writing community,” said Poetry Editor Alvin Knox. “As you'll see in this issue, contemporary poems are as diverse as the individuals creating them."
A quarterly publication, the journal’s third issue is due out later in the year, and its cover story is on Margaret Rhea Seddon, a physician and retired NASA astronaut. Seddon is a Murfreesboro native and is completing a memoir. 2nd & Church will include an extensive interview with her and will publish an excerpt from her memoir.
“I’m grateful to all the writers and poets who have donated their time and offered their words to help make this project a reality,” Burkhead said. “It really couldn’t have happened without the guidance and help of folks like Maggi, J.T., Rhea, River Jordan, Terry Price and our poetry editor: the list is long.”
But, Burkhead said, there is something else happening with the journal. According to Burkhead, he created The Writer’s Loft while at MTSU’s Division of Continuing Education and Public Service (now known as University College), and being a part of that organization showed him firsthand the benefits that can and do come from public service.
“None of us are getting paid, and there’s no promises that we ever will be; the services we provide via our Web site are done at no charge,” Burkhead said. “2nd & Church might become a business one day, but its roots draw from the spirit of public service.
“That why we make complimentary copies of each issue available at select spots throughout Tennessee.”
According to the journal’s Web site (2ndandchurch.com), copies of each issue can be found in select bookstores, cafes, arts centers, and libraries in Nashville, Woodbury, Knoxville, Cookeville, Dickson, and Chattanooga. A complete list of locations may be found at their Web site.
So, what’s next for this upstart?
"2nd & Church is a rallying point and connection center for the literary community of Middle Tennessee,” said Charlotte Rains Dixon, the journal’s Portland, Oregon-based columnist. “I'm excited it will soon fulfill this same role on a larger scale." Dixon’s first novel, Emma Jean's Bad Behavior, will be published by Vagabondage Press in February of 2013, and she will also transition from columnist to correspondent for 2nd & Church.
“That’s right,” Burkhead said. “We’re going to experience some wonderful changes next year: in addition to bringing local writers and poets to our pages, we are going to bring to our local readers literary news from a few other cities across the country.”
Burkhead said that starting in 2013, national correspondents will be bringing Tennessee readers literary news from Mobile, Ala.; Portland, Ore.; Louisville, Ky.; Los Angeles, Calif.; La Crosse, Wis.; and Bowling Green, Ky.
“2013 will also be a big year for us because we will accept advertising and start selling subscriptions,” Burkhead said. “For the first year, the only way to obtain a copy of the journal is to buy or download one from our Web site, or folks could try and get one of the free paper copies at a Tennessee venue, like Parnassus Books or Mysteries & More bookstore, both in Nashville.”
“I am so proud to be associated with 2nd & Church; it's a smart, great looking journal about Tennessee filled with wonderful writing and art from some of Tennessee's best,” said Middle Tennessee writer Terry Price. “The initial issue has made quite a splash.
“This is a lovely addition to a burgeoning literary community.”
Price is both a contributing writer and staff photographer for 2nd & Church. In addition, he is a writing coach and mentor, working with writers one on one and in groups through retreat settings around the country and Europe.
According to Burkhead, the journal seeks to answer such questions as “What does it mean for a writer or reader to live a life of fine arts, especially in the 21st century? Where can writers and readers go, either alone or in groups? What do they choose to write and read about? Which experiences make it from their lives to the pages? How are writers engaged, entertained and provoked? And in turn, how do those writers engage, entertain and provoke via their words and phrases?”
Writer of the journal’s technical writing column, Gayle Edlin said that she deals with some of these questions in her column, appearing in the upcoming poetry issue.
“In ‘Shifting Gears,’ I tell the story of my own struggle to create time and space for creative writing,” Edlin said. “It's not a style that is guaranteed to work for anyone, but it certainly illustrates the difficulties many writers face in endeavoring to fit writing into our already hectic lives. I hope it also inspires other writers to do whatever they have to—and whatever works for them—to make their writing happen! It's an ideal I try to bring to 2nd & Church in my role as factotum, too ... whatever I can do to write, to help, to create, it's important enough for me to make it happen.”
Copies of 2nd & Church may be purchased online via the journal’s Web site, and readers may download a free digital copy from the site, as well. And those with iPads may download the free MagCloud app and download an iPad version of the journal for free, too.
For additional information, check out 2nd & Church online at: www.2ndandchurch.com