September 23, 2019 by The Citron Review
Shortly after completing my Masters coursework at Antioch University of Los Angeles in 2009, I found myself wondering, as many grad students do after getting their degree, what do I do next? I’d read the greatest literature while at Antioch—fiction that challenged my beliefs, my morals, even who I was as a person. I knew enough to know that I still wanted to be part of that world of fiction. I also knew that I wanted to be involved in the bleeding edge of new fiction. And I’d come to value the short form.
Flash fiction was, it seemed, where my heart was. The form is so compact, so ruthlessly demanding, and equally rewarding. There is no doubt—flash fiction hits hard.
As does poetry, and well-crafted short nonfiction. Something about the size, the word limit, the structure of it allows an author to play around, to invent new ways to impact readers. It’s a demanding format that, ironically, allows for and encourages both creativity and inventive structural strategies.
But my real reasons for starting The Citron Review are far less altruistic.
I was greedy—not for money— but for good writing. And, if I’m honest, I wanted to share in the joy of publishing new writers. As a seldom-published writer myself, I wanted to develop a home that was open to new names. I wanted to send out acceptance letters and share the joys of publishing a “new” writer.
And I got to do that. For a number of years and countless writers, I read the best flash fiction the web has to offer. I’ve sent out countless acceptance letters. And I found a joy in a place I hadn’t anticipated before: rejection letters.
That’s not to say I enjoyed rejecting people. Quite the opposite. I had an opportunity to craft individual rejection letters that served more as encouragement than discouragement. I recall working with one writer in particular. He must have submitted a dozen stories, which I personally rejected each time. And each time, I included a simple note: “I loved this, but it’s just not ready for us. Send me something else. You will have a work in our pages soon enough.”
To his credit, he did. He kept at it, and we were able to find the right piece for us. It worked out beautifully, and we both shared that joy of a job well done.
What do we have to learn from this little journal? That good, quality writing takes time. That there are important voices that must be heard singing in the wilderness. And whether it’s poetry, flash fiction, or flash nonfiction, these voices are powerful and impactful and they ring in our ears for years to come.
Thank you readers, for coming back month after month.
Thank you writers, for sending us your best work.
Thank you editors, for working tirelessly to keep my dream of encouraging new writers and publishing fresh voices alive.
To another ten years.
The Citron Review