The Pacific Northwest just got a new literary journal and it's called... Moss. I guess because Yep, Still Getting Dark at 4:30 PM, or Persistent Gentle Rain, or Too Foggy to See the Mountain Today, Oh Well were already taken*. Wait! Before you run away, Moss—which is only on its second issue, awwwwww!—looks like the perfect thing for the bookish indoor kids of the Pacific Northwest. Contributors are limited to writers from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and British Columbia, and editors Alex Davis-Lawrence and Connor Guy are committed to bringing "fresh, ambitious, cutting-edge literature from the Northwest to new audiences online and across the country." About damn time.
Also? The second issue includes an essay by Matt Briggs on what Twin Peaks means for those of us who grew up in the Pacific Northwest, bringing in Douglas firs, clear-cutting, and even the Oregon Trail:
In Twin Peaks, the transitional nature of the clear-cut is pervasive. The forest is beyond man’s domain—the realm of the subconscious and the locus of many of the show’s supernatural elements. In contrast, the clear-cut is man’s domain, the beginning of progress, and a rational space... Lynch sets his story in a world transitioning from the primeval forest to the suburb and eventually death.
It's an interesting essay that also points out some spooky parallels between Twin Peaks and real-life serial killers in the Pacific Northwest.
Another thing: Moss pays its contributors well. This is commendable and rare in the world of literary journals, where some journals charge reading fees for submitting work, making publication a zero-sum game.
I read many literary journals (weird hobbies, yo), and Moss does look very promising indeed. But I've got one teeny, tiny lil' quibble: Guys, come on. Please publish some ladies. Of the writers spotlighted in the first two issues, only two (YAY Corinne Manning and Christine Texeira) are women. That's a problem. Maybe you can help fix it? Pacific Northwest residents can submit here.
UPDATE: I just checked in with Davis-Lawrence with the above quibble. Here's his response:
"As to your concern about the lack of women writers, it's definitely something we're conscious of and seeking to improve - we're a small team (there's just two of us for now) and have been doing the best we can in terms of outreach, but the pool of submissions is still not as large as we would hope. We're making plans to actively seek out more writing by both women and by people of color in future issues. Which is all to say - point very well taken, and I hope that we're able to be more equitable moving forward."
All literary journals should do this, BTW.
*Seriously, though, I wouldn't be surprised.