Mar 6 2023
Podcast Epsiode 29: Catherine Rockwood on Editing Our Beautiful Reward
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Welcome back to the Reckoning Press Podcast! It's me, Michael J. DeLuca, publisher, and we are coming back out of hiatus just for a minute to celebrate that Our Beautiful Reward, our special issue on bodily autonomy, comes out in print on March 16th. We're having a virtual launch party on Sunday the 19th at 8PM eastern US time aka GMT-5, which will feature readings from contributors Leah Bobet, Marissa Lingen, Julian K. Jarboe, Linda Cooper, M. C. Benner-Dixon, Riley Tao, Dyani Sabin and Juliana Roth. And we'll draw names and give away books and t-shirts and talk about bodily autonomy and reproductive justice. Editor Catherine Rockwood will emcee, Julie Day and Carina Bissett of Essential Dreams Press and The Storied Imaginarium will host. It'll be grand. I'll post the link to RSVP on the website.
In the meantime, I have Catherine here with me today, and we're going to talk about Our Beautiful Reward!
Michael: I should add that Catherine and I recently met in person for the first time after having worked together on Reckoning staff for several years, and it was lovely, relaxed and intellectually stimulating in ways I had honestly almost forgotten face-to-face human interaction could be in these isolating times. So I hope to share with you all a little bit of that today. Welcome Catherine!
Catherine: Thank you!
Michael: I am excited to try this out with you—we're doing a new thing here, using the Discord chat where we all have our editorial staff discussions on a daily basis to record a conversation. Catherine is the editor of Our Beautiful Reward, our special issue on bodily autonomy, and I've got some questions for her to get us going discussing what makes us so excited about it and how we had such a good time putting it together. First of all, Catherine: what did you learn editing this special issue?
Catherine: I learned a lot. One of the things that I learned is just purely personal and that's just that I enjoy editing, which I didn't know before. I learned to be really super grateful for Reckoning's readers. They saved me from making a lot of mistakes, I think, they helped me read better. Everyone I forwarded things to got back to me with great advice and insights. That's not to say I didn't make mistakes, I did, but other people can't fully save you from that. However, a generous advising team like the one at Reckoning helps improve outcomes. We're proud of the issue. Part of the reason I feel proud of it is because of the people who helped me put it together. It wouldn't be as good as it is without everybody. I think the other thing that is really exciting is, I learned that editing expands the imagination kind of like reading does, and there's a very different feel to it. So you're not really asking yourself what does this individual poem or story do, but instead you're thinking—and this was totally new to me, and so interesting—what does this poem or story do together with this other poem or story? And you kind of do that, and you do that, and you find new things, and you find new combinations, until you hit your page limit. Which, it should be said, we had a little difficulty putting a page cap on this issue. We kind of went over our initial limit because there was so much great stuff that was coming in and so many pieces that we wanted. But speaking in terms of what it's like to edit: it's super intense to be bringing that togetherness of this set of works into its final shape. And I loved it, but also: I was tired once we were done.
Michael: [Laughing] Me too! It is kind of magic how a group of people who don't know each other can be all thinking about the same topic, and be brought together after they've written something on that topic into a physical/conceptual object—an issue of a magazine—and actually begin to feel like a community, mutually inspiring, mutually supporting.