In a presentation to the Royal Society of London, biologists Richard Dawkins and John Krebs put forth what is now known as the Red Queen Hypothesis. In Alice's Adventures through the Looking-Glass, the Red Queen says, "It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place." So it goes with evolution where each species must constantly keep adapting in order to stay ahead of predators and other competitors. Literary journals are their own odd species, and TOUCHSTONE has had to change and adapt as well. This year saw several changes: the inclusion of flash fiction as a genre, an increased focus on writers outside of academic communities, and, most importantly, the move to a fully digital published version of the magazine.
These changes reflect both the reality and the hopes of the editorial staff of TOUCHSTONE. Flash fictions recent rise to prominence may be a further symptom of our already ADD addled minds, but it has also produced interesting, entertaining work, some of which you will find in this very issue. By moving to an entirely digital format for the magazine, we hope to reach a wider audience, reduce environmental impact, and also reduce the costs and wastes associated with printing out hundreds of unused copies of literary magazines. We hope that our expanded call for submissions has elevated the level of quality in each issue, but we have also tried to remain true to our roots as K-Stater's and the quiet aesthetic of the Kansas prairies.
Over the course of the last year, a realization has struck me deep: TOUCHSTONE, and literary magazines in general, are a tremendous amount of work. However, it is the kind of work—reading, talking about writing, talking with writers, working with digital publishing—that is actually enjoyable. I would like to thank a handful of people starting with TOUCHSTONE’s faculty advisor, Kim Smith. Kim's calm demeanor has helped us all persevere when things got crazy. Without his help, TOUCHSTONE would not be here. I would also like to thank my editors for the work they do both in reading and helping to manage staff. My copy editors proved invaluable as I often find myself spending ten minutes pondering on the placement of a comma. Finally, I would like to thank Tara Skaggs for her work in updating and renovating the TOUCHSTONE website. While last year's website was beautiful, it did not fit with new guidelines for webpages through Kansas State. It required a complete overhaul, and Tara was there to guide Kim and myself through the process.
So read on and keep reading. There is some great stuff in here.