An awesome, mellow event

On his Facebook page, writer Hector Duarte, Jr. described the launch of Sliver of Stone’s All That Glitters as an “awesome, mellow event.” And according to editor Nicholas Garnett, it was “warm and lovely, like family, in the best sense of the word.” In fact, story plot master Lynne Barrett, who introduced Nick and me, called the book her grandchild.

It was Michelangelo who once said, “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” I often remind myself of these words and, as the founder of Sliver of Stone, I’m fortunate to find myself surrounded by gifted editors who share Michelangelo’s perspective and wouldn’t settle for anything less than extraordinary.

As we planned for our first issue, back in 2010, Laura Richardson, Corey Ginsberg, Marina Pruna, Holy Mayes, Patsy Warman, Fabienne Josphat, and I knew that we simply couldn’t afford to run an online magazine that wouldn’t be pleasing to the eye or that would feature average art and literature. Our time, as writers, was too valuable to be spent on a second rate endeavor. From the beginning, we were bold and aimed for the best.

In the poetry section, under the leadership of Marina, Laura, Patsy, and Kacee Belcher, we published pieces that moved and changed us. This evening, we heard such poetry, as Nick Vagnoni, contributor to the second issue of Sliver of Stone, is with us tonight. Born and raised in Key West, Nick is a founding member of The Miami Poetry Collective. He currently teaches writing at Florida International University.

In the fiction section of Issue 4, last year, we featured the work of Justin Bendell who later joined Fabienne as one of the fiction editors of Sliver of Stone. Both Fabienne and Justin were pleased by the work of Hector Duarte Jr. who was also present tonight and entertained us with his piece, “Extracurricular.” Hector is a high school English/ELL teacher and current student at FIU’s Creative Writing Program. When he isn’t disc golfing or catching up on Breaking Bad, he likes to listen to Hans Zimmer and dream that someday he might nab a small role in The Expendables 3.His work has appeared on Flash: The International Short Story Magazine. 

Editor Corey Ginsberg once said, referring to the dozens of strong submissions received at Sliver of Stone, “To be competitive for the final round of consideration, it is essential for a piece to fireball from the start and keep the momentum going. Regardless of the genre in which I’m reading, good writing is good writing. This is my main concern as an editor—spotting the best writing.” I agree. And so does Nicholas Garnett.

Some pieces won us over in the first page.

We loved Andrea Askowitz’s “Under the Covers.” Andrea is the creator of Lip Service:  true-stories out loud.  She’s at work on a book of stories currently titled, Listen to This or maybe Don’t You Know I’m Famous? 

At Books & Books, we also listened to Jan Becker, an MFA candidate at Florida International University. She is a regular contributor to Selfies in Ink, an online writing and art project.

We were also joined at Books & Books by M. Evelina Galang who recently published Angel De La Luna And The 5th Glorious Mystery with Coffee House Press (2013). She is currently writing Lolas’ House: Women Living With War, stories of surviving Filipina WWII “Comfort Women” and is at work on a new novel, Beautiful Sorrow, Beautiful Sky. Galang teaches in and directs the Creative Writing Program at the University of Miami, is core faculty for VONA/Voices: Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation and has been named one of the 100 most influential Filipinas in the United States by Filipina Women’s Network.

Our last reader was our own Nicholas Garnett. Before he became the Nonfiction editor of Sliver of Stone, Nick won us over with his story “All That Glitters” which lent its title to the anthology. Nicholas Garnett received his MFA in Creative Writing from Florida International University, where he teaches creative writing. He’s also a frequent instructor for the Center for Literature and Theatre at Miami Dade College

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