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editors' note

Like other journal editors, we publish something under three percent of the pieces that come in. Our tastes—because we publish what excites us—run more to a character’s process than to an embellished narrative. Read through any issue: these characters work their time on the page. And that goes for the poetry and personal narratives in J as well: less report, less argument (they’re everywhere), more on what the writer makes of the moment.


In the fall 2023 issue, we’re pushing against our own type. In one instance, it’s the longest story yet in J, and in the same instance, it’s what could be called – what a generation ago would surely have been called – SciFi. We’ve had none of it so far. But this story, Haskins’ Teleport (the final story in fall 2023), has so much literary reality and a character so troubled by which of his identity choices is realer, that it seems to snap shut the distance between this fall day in New York and a very plausible future. We’re already in it, snookered by our phones, AI-dependent in the space of a month, and shuddering at the immateriality we’re all on the way to becoming. This story stands in the uncertainty between one moon and the next.


Uncertainty gets us. It’s perhaps the element that dominates our tastes, and it’s where we see writers doing their hardest work. How do you create dimensional characters and relationships without saying too much, without overexplaining, which is just what decimates subtext and nuance? Like the question, there’s no firm answer, but we know it when we see it. Teleport, its title pointing to the in-betweenness that attracts, gives us enough (but not too much) to land truthfully.

Issue 32 starts with flight—planes flying over an airport bar, so close that dishes rumble and glasses break—and ends with flight in an era when planes seem an anachronism. Along the way, midflight, this issue’s stories and poems and CNF cover a world-width of territory, pushing toward answers but maintaining a sense of the uncertain, which makes each piece true to life, here and there, now and in the future.

Jeffrey Heiman, Adam Berlin

New York City

November 2023

J Journal_Spring 2023_Cvr.jpg

and read the
fall 2023 issue

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