What Comes of a Life?

by Jason Sanford

Here are my days (in no particular order):

  • foot in a cast
  • two kids at home
  • a wife I love
  • 8 plus hours of work (except on weekends)
  • grass to cut every other week (except for now, b/c of cast)
  • dog poop to remove from grass (daily)
  • always behind on my personal writing
  • always behind on everything I’ve ever promised anyone

Yes, that about sums up my life right now, with that last point drilling its way through my head as I try to sleep, try to work, try to live.

As regular readers of storySouth no doubt noticed, this spring issue is a month late. I had originally planned on having a brand new issue up by now but life, as it does, intervened. The defining moment came when, my mind on the book I was holding instead of where I was walking, I slipped on some stairs and tore a bunch of ligaments in my right foot.

Slipping on the stairs? My god, only old people do that. As I child or teenager I could have fallen down twenty flights of stairs and jumped up without a care or pain.

And that’s when, of course, I realized how much my life has changed from what it was in my younger years. I have a family. A job. Responsibilities. Children who don’t care that this time was supposed to be for daddy’s writing, dammit (“Can you still read us a book? PLEASE!!!).

Don’t get me wrong. I love my life and family and work and even the new dog who poops all over the yard (for someone who grew up in the county, where we leave nature to dispose of everything, picking up canine excrement is extremely strange).

No, what gets me the most about my life these days is how, no matter how hard I try, I’m always behind in the things I believe matter.

Such as storySouth. No matter how fast I read the fiction submissions, I always have a hundred more to go through. Or take, for example, my own fiction writing. I am currently 82,000 words into my first novel. While I logically understand that I will finish the bastard one day, too often it seems that the novel will never find an end. In the worst moment, events like this leave you wondering if you’ll ever accomplish anything worthwhile in life.

But despite depressing thoughts like this, life does keep rambling on. Even though I only get to write a little bit each day, the word count on my novel keeps inching up. And storySouth? My god, look at storySouth. As Jake Adam York says in his essay in this issue, it is four years since we first started work on storySouth. Amazing how time disappears. Only when it’s gone can you look behind you and see all that you’ve done.

I hope you will look through this issue of storySouth and, like me, enjoy the places storySouth has been in the past four years. In his essay, Jake says that where we’ve been are simply different ways of looking at the south. I like the sound of that. The only thing I’d add is that the stories, poetry, and essays in this issue are also different ways of looking back at life and seeing where it took us. And somehow, no matter how frustrated we get at never doing all of the things we’d like to do in life, when we look back on where we’ve been, it turns out that amazing things have been done.

Jason Sanford is the fiction editor of storySouth.