We know it can be hard submitting blindly to a press, especially blindly to people. So let's meet the editors (who have not changed since very beginning) for the 2016 issue of From Sac:
Elison Alcovendaz (Editor)
Hi, my name is Elison.
I'm that friend who didn't really like Star Wars: A Force Awakens (but still owns a plastic lightsaber he uses when it’s pitch dark and he needs to get out of bed and walk to the bathroom, only to stop in front of the mirror and have a ten second lightsaber battle with the darkness). I'm the guy who works in a cubicle 8-10 hours a day thinking about how important the invention of the paper clip was then comes home debating whether to go to the gym, watch Big Bang reruns, or eat ice cream (or watch Big Bang reruns and eat ice cream). I’m that guy who spends too much time: in fantasy sports land, scrolling through my Facebook feed, reading any random book I can get my hands on, and looking up random pains on WebMD then spends the next two hours wondering if its lupus (it's not lupus, says House). I’m that dude who still uses the word dude, who thinks 90s Hip Hop is the best musical genre (Ja Rule, bruh), and thinks J.K. Rowling and Derrida are equally important authors (don’t get me started on deconstructing Harry’s scar).
My work has appeared in Gargoyle, The Portland Review, The Alarmist and a bunch of other beautiful literary magazines that you should buy after you purchase From Sac. I have a completed YA novel I’m shopping around and am working on a short story collection, a flash fiction collection, and five different novels (because I keep starting new ones… someone stop me!)
But enough about me. Let’s talk about you, the submitter. When I’m reading submissions, I’m either looking to be impressed – by your bravery, your intellctualism, your originality, your voice, etc. – or genuinely moved, whether to laughter, to tears, to anger, to something. In other words, be you and be the realest you you can be. Don’t try to be your college professor or Hemingway or Borges. Don’t try. Trying is for suckas. Like Yoda and Nike said, “Just do and just be.”
Tess Perez (Editor)
“I love writing my own bio,” said no one, ever. Overall I am a light-hearted person. Most things in life I find funny even the things that aren’t funny which cause me some issues. I put serious artsy films and a great comedy on the same pedestal. My habits in reading are a bit schizophrenic, all based on mood. I’ll read several books at once and never finish any of them. In the past I used to finish a book even if it felt like I was being run over by a car over and over and over…you get the point. Life is too short to waste your time on anything that doesn’t bring you joy. I don’t believe that just because somewhere, at some time a book was deemed a “classic” means that the book is actually good. I got half way through Wurthering Heights and I wanted both Catherine and Heathcliff to die so I didn’t have to hear them whining any longer. There are other books/authors I have similar feelings for, but I’ll omit those for fear of being stoned by my hardcore literary friends.
There was a two-year stint where I taught Literature and Film and Composition. Teaching comes easy to me. I find comfort in being in front of a classroom full of students. It is a job that allows you to keep learning, playing the role of the teacher and the student at the same time. Teaching is also a hard profession to get into, at least at the college level. I’d still be teaching if the school I taught for didn’t have to shut down. But I haven’t lost hope. The search continues.
In the meantime, I write and I edit. You know you’re a nerd when…you get excited to edit another writer’s work. Do you remember how Scroodge McDuck used to roll around in his pile of money? That’s me when I have papers to edit. You may be annoyed with the five pages of notes I’ll return back to you, but I guarantee that I will have spent time with your work and gave it my full attention. Per the usual response of a writer, “I’m currently working on several short stories, blah, blah, blah.” But no, really, I am working on two short stories at the moment, along with a project I hope turns out to be a novel and I am working on a collaborative project with another writer. When you simplify it, writing is just playing with words. Shaping them into something beautiful to share with others who will read them. If I am not constantly playing, I might as well be…let’s not be so dramatic.
Jon Alston (Executive Editor)
Here’s the thing: I hate talking about myself. Mostly because I have no idea what to say, but also because I’m incapable of distinguish between important facts and odd quirks that make people uncomfortable. Such as: I get this weird tingling sensation in my mouth whenever I hear ripping fabric; a very visceral rippling through my tongue and the lining of my mouth. I can’t explain why, I just do. My life is complicated like that, mostly with oddities that really don’t have a whole lot of correlation between each other. And yet, I press on.
A short summary: I like to create. Whether with words, paint, wood, wire, food, glass, metal; you name it, I want to try it. Using my hands is what makes me feel useful. It’s what makes me feel like I have a purpose.
On a whole, I’m a simple man. I want a (mini)house. I want a Malamute. I want to be a full time writer. I want to have a few acres so my family can enjoy nature and grow things and be productive, self-sufficient, members of our community. I don’t need to be rich. I don’t need to have the latest phone/car/toy/thing/whatever. Just simple stuff. Of course, life doesn’t work out like that often, and so for now I work retail full-time, teach university part-time, and write when I have the chance and the kids are asleep; and then when that’s done, From Sac. Most weeks are 60+ hours and are devoid of anything creative. Such is the life of a young family man.
Family is my life right now. And I love it. I won’t lie, it’s hard. Way harder than I thought. And frustrating. Two kids still in diapers—only 19 months apart—can be horrifying and wreak havoc on your soul. But that’s okay. We did it to our parents, now our children get to do it to us. Such is the cycle of the universe. When I’m not at work, I’m chasing the kids around from one mess to the other while their mother works tirelessly on homework and TA grading. We could not be busier. So of course we take on projects like quilts and paintings and photography sessions and across-states visits to friends and family.
That’s just one definition of what it means to be a writer.
To just live and be. And that living and being gives you fuel to create. Most of the time you are too tired to make something beautiful out of all the experience; but every once in a while, there is a moment when all is silent and your world stops, giving you that subtle break you need to capture the essence of what has been.