A Note from the Editors

We struggle for order: in political life, in personal life, in the table of contents.  As editors, our last challenge before sending pages to the printer is ordering the work.  We try to hear how disparate pieces want to be drawn together (or drawn apart). What do we have: the visceral, the cerebral, the experimental, the literal, the allegorical.  We listen for meaning in the connections.  Yet, on the final read when we think we have it right, a note of discord often sounds, and we’re back to the puzzle.  And so we move the pieces around, much like the old writer Lonoff moves his sentences around in Philip Roth’s novel The Ghost Writer.  Sometimes, the pieces order themselves, like characters waiting for their writer to hear the message.  And how great for the writer to get it.  The harmonious T of C.  The final reward after reading and winnowing and editing manuscripts. 

This issue begins with a poem about wishful thinking and ends with one about anger.  The first story takes place in Ireland, as two detectives question a rain-soaked traveler, and the last pits two lovers on the outs in New York City, a night before the planes hit the World Trade Center.  Between these bookends, a house-sitter roves enviously around a neighbor’s home, a prison teacher meets his match in a street-hardened youth, an out-of-work actor wields his power in the jury box, an inmate plays a Mozart requiem, and a man with prostate cancer finds kinship with beavers.  The thirteenth J is not a straight-forward journey.  It meanders.  It lurches.  It skips between time and place and mood.  Order determines pace.  Order creates rhythm.  Order enhances meaning.  We’ve already started work on our next issue, looking forward to the moment when we can bring order to the pieces, or the pieces bring order to themselves. 


Fiction by Jacob M. Appel, Jeffrey D. Boldt, Jyotirmoyee Devi, Ron Darian, Ron Gauthier, John Heinz, Rob McClure Smith, Saretta Morgan

Poems by Dennis Braden, Lauren Camp, Byron Case, Michael Casey, Michael Graves, Richard Krawiec, Laurie Lamon, Christopher Mulrooney

Nonfiction by George Newtown, Jason Trask

December 3 at 7 pm
KGB Bar, 85 East 4th Street,
New York, NY

Tuesday Night Fight Writing:
Adam Berlin (co-editor) will read from his new boxing novel Both Members of the Club and Alexander Long will read from his boxing poetry.
Read interview


J Journal
Department of English
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
524 West 59th Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10019