||This issue of ducts is dedicated to the memory of the late Fred Hudson, the former president and artistic director of the Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center of New York, who died this past winter at the age of 74. Fred was a great friend and mentor to me and ducts would never have come into existence without his support and advice. When I first told Fred about our idea for the webzine, he said, sounds good, when can I see it? After the first issue, his response was, Its good, whens the next one? That was Fred: encouragement coupled with a kick in the pants. In addition to his invaluable support, he also volunteered his time. He taught me how to write a budget and even sponsored ducts, before we achieved our non-profit status, so we could apply for grants. Fred ran the FDCAC for a little over 30 years and sacrificed his own work -- he was a screenwriter -- to his larger calling: inspiring students, mostly African American, to believe in their work and themselves. He taught them how to tell compelling stories and, more importantly, the necessity of getting those stories to a larger audience. How else would African Americans ever get jobs in Hollywood? How else would white America come to see African Americans as a diverse, cultured people? In a broader sense, of course, this is what ducts is all about: providing writers and artists a chance to tell their personal stories and to give them a place to share their voice with all of you.
If youre curious to read more about Freds inspiring life, please go to the Hudson Tribute duct. Youll find a short essay by yours truly, as well as eulogies by Budd Schulberg (On the Waterfront) and Kermit Frazier, his friend and colleague. Boston Globe writer Adrian Walker, Freds nephew, also shares a eulogy and a moving personal essay.
We hope we can, in our small way, carry on Freds inspiration. We are a small organization now, but were hungry and we want to grow. And, in order to do that, we have begun fundraising. So if you enjoy the thought-provoking essays and memoirs, if you are captivated by our fiction, poetry and art, I urge you to donate whatever amount you can. We are a rarity on the Web -- a highly evolved, not-for-profit literary webzine -- and we are just now beginning to raise money. We dont have printing costs, of course, so anything you donate will go a long way. Right now, your tax-deductible contributions will go to help offset the costs of designing and hosting the site, the simple mechanics of running a website. But we hope we can someday begin paying our staff and, of course, all of our wonderful contributors. We believe that all of them deserve to be paid. We hope, also, that some day we might produce the webzine on a quarterly basis, or perhaps monthly. Your donations, however small, will begin allowing us to pursue all of these goals. So help us dream big. If you want to send along a donation, click here or simply go to our donations duct.
Thank you for your support, in advance, whether or not youre able to donate money. We are, of course, happy to have you as a reader! And I think youll be thrilled by what youll find in this issue. It is, in fact, one of our finest to date, and I believe, by itself, is a fitting tribute to Fred and what he spent his life pursuing.
Its not easy, of course, to write well and its often more difficult to recognize and hone great art. Thats what makes ducts special: youll find riveting works in all our ducts in this issue. And I owe my wonderful editorial staff for making that happen! We are proud to introduce two new editors to you: Tim Tomlinson, fiction, and Cindy, art gallery. Tim has done an amazing job of finding riveting and diverse stories for you to enjoy. And Cindy has discovered a wide variety of art and video (hooray!) that youll return to more than once. We are very happy to have both Tim and Cindy on board and we cant wait to see what they bring to the table in future issues.
Our man of many talents, Charles Salzberg -- essays, reviews and memoir editor -- has created three riveting sections and Im sure youll be excited to go back and read each piece again and again. Stephanie Hart (Kids), Laura Buchholtz (Humor) and Ryan Van Winkle (poetry) have done their usual job of scouring the planet for the best of their respective ducts. Youll laugh and cry (but mostly youll laugh) when you read through the work in these sections. And dont miss the ducts stage. Anne Mironchik, our treasurer, has found three wonderful songwriters (including herself, naturally!) for this issue. Youll want to hear more after listening to these songs.
A special thanks to our new design studio, The Torpedo Room, for putting together this massive issue.
And once again, thank you all for stopping by. We hope youll enjoy the ducts and return, again and again, to explore and rediscover all of the wonderful work within.
--Jonathan Kravetz, Editor, DUCTS