We're Fine, I Suppose, Possibly
By Toh Hsien Min
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. In the last months of 2005, a number of endorsements came in for the work we've done here. There was a mention in the Straits Times Life! in November. Dan Veach, editor of Atlanta Review, called QLRS "one of the finest web-based literary journals - QLRS and "Jacket" from Australia are probably the two best in the world", although the quote reached Life! too late to see print. And John Kinsella used QLRS as the venue for a series of poems to plead for clemency for Van Nguyen in the days before his execution. On the other hand, we saw a situation that compelled all the editors to seriously discuss the possibility of closing down the journal. I will not dwell on this, and the committee decision has been to continue for as long as we are able to, but I'm not sure any of us will be making any promises on the continued existence of QLRS.
It's not that as a committee we don't want to carry on, or that we don't recognise that sometimes openly considering the negative outcomes helps those negative outcomes come to pass or that bravado often brings its own means, but I don't feel that we should be closing off options. There's something not unattractive about the provisional. My flatmate has made a sport out of pointing out my speech patterns: in place of "yes", I say "I suppose" or "probably"; in place of "no", I say "not particularly". "I'm fine" and "possibly" can mean yes or no depending on the context. With so much uncertainty in so much of what I do (mostly outside of work, surprisingly; though I suppose working with probabilities helps to manage volatility), flexibility is to be prized, which means that uncertainty begets uncertainty and the cure might well be its own prolongment. It makes the whole equation harder to answer, but that deferral might be the only possible answer.
I must say that this issue has been impacted by the uncertainty. At one point we even turned away article proposals. This helps explain the anorexic look of this issue, but we've applied the same standards to the slightly reduced volume of submissions. The quality is still there: Boey Kim Cheng's review of Yong Shu Hoong's third book is as good, and important, a piece as we've published all this volume. There's an interesting essay on Japan that takes a work of Japanese animation as a starting point. And in a January of business trips and demanding deadlines, it hasn't been any easier for this coffee-fuelled editor to select the poetry.
Thanks for all the kind words on the journal and the anxious words on the arrival of the new issue. We hope you think it's worth our extra cuppas. Happy Lunar New Year everyone!QLRS Vol. 5 No. 2 Jan 2006
Anyone wants to take over? Put yourself forward in the Forum!