Dear Readers, Authors, and Supporters of RF: This One's for You
One year ago, I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar…no, that’s not true. But to be honest, that would probably have been more interesting and profitable. Actually, I was working in a soul-sucking desk job where the only saving grace was my co-workers. I was unaware that an Indie Lit World existed or that people published work in digital presses. So, when one of said co-workers, Tiffany, started talking about starting an online press I really had no idea what she was going on about or if she was serious.
She was totally serious.
In the past twelve months, I have had the pleasure of reading so many amazing pieces of writing and connecting with so many very cool people. The whole thing is kind of unreal. I feel like I have this one life where I’m still trudging away at the same soul-sucking desk job. But I also have a much more vivid life where I get to read tons of submissions, sometimes I even get to polish them up, just a little, so a bright and beautiful piece can shine just a tad brighter. Having someone trust you with their words? Their creations? That is truly an honor. Or I get to sit in on “A Word?” and watch Kellie do her magic. Or enjoy cocktails with a group of inspiring writers and watch them do their magic. It’s really been fucking awesome.
So I feel I must extend a heartfelt and gigantic Thank You to all of our contributors, readers, interviewees (is that a word?) Everyone who has participated in or attended an RF reading or Cocktail Hour. Thank you, thank you, thank you! You have made everything a little shinier in this old girl’s life! Oh, look at me getting all shouty again!!
I cannot wait to see what the next year holds for us all. I’m just waiting for the next “I have an idea…” text.
With much love and tons of appreciation,
Marianne Baretsky Peterson
In the year of our Lord 2021, Tiffany Storrs made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. What does one say when someone presents you with an opportunity to work with absolutely incredible writers, to interview some of the coolest people on the planet and get you writing again yourself? You say YES goddamit! A year has passed and it all has exceeded my wildest expectations.
From the book clubs where we get to vibe off of our already loving and silly relationship while talking about work that is so breathtakingly beautiful, that I choke up reading it aloud, to the cocktail hours where I meet all of you for a drink and a little creativity, there is no substitute for what it brings to what I consider a wonderful life experience. Then there is “A Word?”, my absolute truest love. Getting to know all of you, your process, and making connections with people from all over the world. In the depths of a pandemic, it feels like it literally saved my life, and I didn’t even know it needed saving.
Marianne, Tiffany and I carry a similar vision, and we work hard to try to give you what will fuel your creativity and feel a part of something. However, none of it is possible without YOU. I want to thank the authors, artists, creatives, and readers, for sharing your truest selves with us for the last year. Also, the positive support from the writing community for this press is unparalleled. Keep writing, keep expressing the important truths you hold. The artists will save us, and pull us out of these dark times. You have done that for me, I will continue to be there, holding up some corner of this press for a long time, until they kick me out at least. I will be here for you. I will read your words, and I will love every minute of it.
I don’t like to drop names but…
12 years ago, Oprah grabbed a hold of my shoulders as I was getting on an airplane. She looked me in the eye and said “Dream Bigger”. She said this twice. I could not fathom what she meant. I mean, c’mon, I was in Australia with Oprah, how much bigger can it get? And on Sept. 4th, 2022..I finally know what she meant.
Viva la Roi!
I've always had a complicated relationship with the word "no."
As a kid, it was the one word I was never allowed to say to my parents, and the one I was never allowed to question when it was said to me. I was a people pleaser baby, so my childhood was spent adhering to that mindset, revering it, never enforcing it myself but being made aware of my own limitations every time it was uttered. As you can imagine, that led to some disastrous results later in life.
I was precocious, nonetheless, and the older I got, the more "no" changed shape for me. It became less of an absolute and more of a suggestion, a detour, a sign that, if something was important enough, I should find another way to do it. I was bright and feisty, and more often than not, I did just that.
Fast forward 20, 25 years. I am a part-time writer and toying with the idea of pursuing traditional publication on a collection of short stories I had cobbled together through lulls in my miserable day job in 2019. The more I explored that path, the less it felt right. Elements of it felt disingenuous, salesy, a little cheap. No one told me no, but it felt like one. So, without being consciously aware of it, I started formulating another way to do it.
A lot of divine circumstance and daydreaming later, I decided to start RF. I can't say it's the first time the idea crossed my mind, but it was the first time it had legs underneath it, something concrete, nearly tangible. If you're unhappy, you eventually wind up running out of suggestions to second-guess yourself with, and you eventually just do it. That was over a year ago now, and I could not have imagined how much the press would grow and change in that time, how much I would change, how grateful and proud I would be.
The point of my babbling here is really just to drive home the fact that you find where you belong, in case you've ever doubted it. You'll know it when you feel it but that doesn't mean it's going to come easy. Sometimes you have to put yourself out there in ways you weren't expecting. Sometimes you have to trust that you might not fail, but if you do, you didn't go down without a fight, and that's worth something. Sometimes you have to detach from an outcome long enough to give yourself a shot at it. Sometimes, you have to hear "no" just often enough to let it guide you to finding another way to do it. There is always a way. The last year is as close to concrete proof as I have.
To our authors, our readers, and everyone who has seen fit to give RF the time of day in its infancy, I say what I always say to you: thank you for everything you've given to us, to the written word, and to each other. You may never truly know what it means to us, but I do, and it does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.
The best is yet to come. To the future!
Happy fucking birthday, Roi Fainéant!