I’ve been a fan of Ron Carlson’s work for years, but the first time I met him was at Breadloaf in 2004, where he gave the best lecture on the writing process that I had ever heard. I actually bought a recording of it, so that I could listen to it again and take notes. I was thrilled when Ron finally sent us a story, and even more thrilled after I’d read it. “Beanball” embodies a kind of classic storytelling: beautiful prose, great characters, dynamic plot twists and an all-American subject: baseball. We felt it would work perfectly for our 100th publication, and because of its size, we decided to make it a special double issue. Soon after we were approached by Josh Wolf Shenk, the director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House at Washington College, about making a letter press edition of a One Story issue. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Now we have a very special handmade book to commemorate our 100th issue. If you’d like to read about how the letter press edition of “Beanball” was made, go here, and if you’d like to buy a copy, visit our store. Regardless, we hope you’ll write in and let us know what you think about issue #100.
The process of putting out a literary magazine requires an incredible amount of work. First there is the mountain of manuscripts to wade through–days and months of reading to find that perfect gem. Then there are edits with the author, going back and forth to polish the story into the right shape. Then there’s the copyediting, and layout, and proofreading and then printing and finally distributing to our subscribers. It’s hard to believe that One Story has gone through that entire process 100 times. In many ways the past six years have been a blur, but whenever I look at all of our issues spread out across a table, as I recently did, when we moved into our first office space, I remember all of the details of working with these excellent writers, and each special circumstance when I read their stories for the first time. There is a thrill when you read a good short story. It usually happens on the first page. Sometimes it even happens in the first paragraph. But when it comes, it’s clear as day: This is a One Story story.