Thirty issues may not seem like a milestone, but for a litmag it feels like a life of growth. If you’ve been reading J from the start, you know that the two of us, writing teachers at John Jay College, set out to make a literary journal with a justice focus, and that the journal itself was “birthed on a bar.” Now, fifteen years in, there’s nothing jaded for us in the work. Our eyes still widen at a strong story or poem, especially when we read a voice that’s unique to us, or when this voice belongs to a new writer, first time out. Over the years J Journal’s contributors have gone on to publish books, win awards, develop screenplays, get into or graduate from MFA programs, publish widely in litmags and often again with us.
Now we’re moving J Journal forward.
In spring ’22 one of us had dinner with a high school friend. We’d seen each other only a few times in the decades since we’d left school and gone our own ways. My friend brought his daughter to dinner. She’s completing a PhD in clinical psychology, and her days are in scholarship. I brought two recent issues of J Journal. “Wow,” she said, admiring the look and feel of the book, “I’ve never seen a print journal.”
Maybe that was the moment, even if it came to us months later, when we knew it was time to give up print. But we were raised on print, on the smell of books, on the lives you can touch in the textured off-white of the page. Hard to let go but exciting, too, to reckon that time moves and what once seemed the only way to the reading experience was itself a story, a construction.
Fall 2022 will be the last print issue of J Journal. From here on it’s all online. It’s a beautiful site, as we see it, and we hope you will enjoy J Journal’s online aesthetic along with its literary punch. Print or online, what matters are the ideas and images that reading brings. The word’s the enduring thing.
Jeffrey Heiman, Adam Berlin
New York City
A last note: We want to thank Dalyz Aguilar for her outstanding redesign of this website and for her keen aesthetic as she matched each story with its most resonant image. We wish her the very best as she moves forward in her career.