That Room Where They Wait

I have a very good friend (K. Thayer) who just published her work in The Great Richmond Zombie Book. She says, “I think it may be my best short story zombie western.”  She has range.  Following that process was tremendous fun, and it led me to the following wonderful public expression by the founder of Sink/Swim Press, James Moffitt.

I’ve played around with shortening his speech to make it more likely that a busy person visiting Esse Diem will read it; but I have read it myself many times and been enriched each time, and I can’t bring myself to cut a single word.  Read, share, and be inspired!

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Sink/Swim started a year ago after Ryan Brosmer self-published his first book, ‘I will name them such as enemies.’ I thought what he was doing was admirable, and decided to try it with my own twist, not only self-publishing my first book, but also putting a label behind it.

Hemingway

When I started Sink/Swim, I had just finished my Bachelor’s and was scared shitless. I knew I didn’t fit in or belong to the professional world, but at the same time, I was very weary of working in Kitchens. I was trapped between a rock and a hard place, and it seemed to me that at a time in my life where every door was supposed to be open, I was finding that most of them were not only shut, but had boards nailed in behind them.

I started writing a lot more. It was something that had always been present in my life, but had never really been given the time or effort it truly deserved. With Sink/Swim, I decided to take everything I love, like low-art, pop-culture, hardcore, and D.I.Y. Works, and present them as something that could be discussed, recorded, and taken seriously. I deemed myself ethnographer, author, and C.E.O, and decided to see where it all would take me.

It became the mission of Sink/Swim to create a discoursive community for everyone, not just those with advanced degrees, or research grants to create, share, and critique with one another. I wanted to create a haven for artists of all walks to produce their works as a legitimate product. What I love the most about Sink/Swim though, is the fact that none of you have to be here. You’re here because you believe in this, even if only the tiniest bit.

In my experience, the things that matter most in life are the things that we earn and own for ourselves. All of the artists here, all of the writers that contributed to The Great Richmond Zombie Book, have something in common. We’re all playing for higher stakes than most. We’re definitely not doing this for money, or fame, not for rewards or recognition. We’re doing this and will continue to do it for the sustenance of seeing our works come to fruition.

We’re doing this to join the canon of creators we grew up loving with every ounce of our hearts. We do this because of feelings like those here, in lyrics from a song called “Place in the Sun” In between the tornadoes and stomped on untrue love letters/There will be those shining gentle moments /Like the last page in your favorite book. These shining moments are what we all grew up so in love with. Michael Chabon, in his novel “Maps and Legends” speaks about the first piece he wrote, saying:

Judy Blume

“It was as if I had opened a door and stepped into the room in which all my favorite writers were sitting around waiting for me to show up. They were a disparate bunch, from Judy Blume to Edgar Allen Poe, spread of different eras, continents, and genres. Some were close kin to each other – Lord Dunsany, H.P. Lovercraft – while others seemed to have nothing in common beyond their connection to me. And somehow, I sensed, their intersection defined me. They were, in other words, my family. I derived from them, they explained me. And more than anything else I wanted – I knew it now – to be accounted one of them. This was the wish – to be a credit to that far-flung family of literary heroes – that I have sought to embody, to express in the infinitely malleable clay of language ever since.”

Personally, every time I even say Sink/Swim, let alone, sit at my laptop for hours on end, I sit with the likes of Bradbury, Camus, Eggers, Steinbeck, and Hemingway to name a few. I love that room, and for the first time in my life, I have found a door that I know will always be open. To all the artists here, I implore you to treasure that room, and I ask you humbly to open a window so I may glance in. To everyone else, I beg you, never tear that room down. It is with your support that rooms become houses, and together, we create our own family. Welcome to Sink/Swim Press.

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