Phil Giunta is one of the best short story writers producing today. This particular story is incredibly moving, and Phil reading it only adds to it. Enjoy this story on a melancholy fall evening with a glass of wine, and someone you love.
~It took the entire morning, but police divers found Eun-ji’s body in the bay—exactly where I said it would be. I wasn’t entirely forthcoming with them, of course. I didn’t tell them about the pictures. I simply informed them that Eun-ji had talked about exploring the peaks of Geoje Island to find a good spot for cliff jumping. Fearless and heavily influenced by western culture, Eun-ji was what the Americans call an “adrenaline junkie.” Hence the reason she had volunteered for civilian military training in the city of Gimpo last month. That’s where we met.
As a photographer for the Korea Herald, I had been assigned to shoot the weeklong boot camp. My mandatory two years in the Army had just ended six months prior, so I was still able to keep up with the grueling regimen these college students faced. Nothing extraordinary had occurred during the assignment—other than meeting Eun-ji. Day or night, my camera loved her more than any of the others~
Dianne and I just completed our sixth anthology, entitled WHAT SORT OF FUCKERY IS THIS?It was a long project, easily the longest project (both in terms of book length and number of contributors) we’d undertaken in our fledgling publishing endeavor. At times I wasn’t sure we could pull it off.
It may come as no surprise to learn that it takes longer to produce a collection than it takes to produce a full-length novel. The main reason, in my experience, has been that there is a lot more to do in terms of communication. When producing a novel, we’re working with a single individual. Conversely, when producing a collection with upward of 40 or so contributors, a lot more messaging is going on throughout the entire production process. It’s not good, but it’s not bad either. It’s just part of the business, though it does take time.
Of course, working with a number of authors means that you get to learn a bit about them. Not a lot, but a few things. With this most recent collection, I’ve been fortunate to engage with a few of the contributors beyond their manuscripts. Those brief exchanges mean a lot to me because they help me in terms of humanizing the authors we publish. For example, it’s pretty unlikely I’m going to meet face to face with one of our international authors during the production cycle. But in exchanging messages with them that transcend the work we are each doing, there is a greater sense of knowing each other. Which brings me to author bios.
I probably enjoy reading the author bios of our contributors as much as their actual work. Every bio is unique. Of course it is. And every author has a story to tell. I’m not referring to the work they are producing but the actual lives they’ve lived that has resulted in their unique, one-of-a-kind author bio that will publish in the collections where their stories are found. We also publish these bios on our website with photos of our authors. I cannot tell you how much I enjoy this small aspect of the process. Matching a face to a bio makes it even more real for me. To date, I believe we have worked with 59 authors in 21 months. Sometimes I wonder how we get it done.
One reason, of course, is that we simply put in the hours. This is why I’m awake so late on a work night, working on our Contributors web page, adding small photos and brief windows into the lives of the authors we’ve published, each a fascinating story of its own. Over the next few days the page will be fully revised, and there it will remain, until the next Halloweencollection arrives in early October 2019, at which point I’ll be back here again, updating the page with new faces and new stories.
I look forward to making these new acquaintances, perhaps even yours.
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