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Welcome to Issue No. 10
Jonathan Kravetz


Phil and I have preached the value of telling personal stories since we started ducts more than three years ago. Our contributors have always taken this editorial approach and twisted, bent and shaped it to make it their own, but there was one unexpected result of all of this contorting: the contributors of ducts have become a kind of extended family to us. And by extended, we mean, very extended – we have contributors working in Japan, Thailand, Seattle, Los Angeles and many other cities around the globe. Our own poetry editor resides, currently, in Scotland even while ducts is edited and designed in New York City.

I wanted to begin this editor’s note, then, by wishing one member of our extended family a speedy recovery. Ellen Schecter, new to our memoir duct, was in a terrible car accident a few weeks before our publication date. Remarkably, she is bouncing back quickly and, according to sources (I have a few), is already reading and evaluating colleagues’ essays from her hospital bed. This won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has ever encountered the whirlwind that is Ms. Schecter. She is one of our most exacting writers -- every comma must be in the right place, every word is picked with care – and we are looking forward to getting her passionate emails again very soon. She has more energy than your average NFL football team and we are glad to see that her zest is rapidly returning.


To celebrate ducts’ reaching three years old (!) we are introducing a new feature in this issue: The Best of Ducts.

Phil and I were sharing a helping of rice pudding that his lovely wife whipped up for us not too long ago and we were marveling at how many outstanding pieces we’ve published over the past three years. Moreover (as Phil likes to say), the power of many of those stories and art is not limited to the time of their first publication. We always look for work that transcends time (to the extent that’s possible, anyway) and so, as a result, most of the "old" pieces in ducts are as fresh today as they were the day we first published them. But how, I wondered aloud while swallowing another bite of pudding, do we encourage people to go back and look at some of the old gems? Phil suggested I needed a diet and then said: "We should bring back some of the old works so people can enjoy them again and again." And thus was born our newest duct.

In this issue’s Best of Ducts you’ll find two classics, Helen Zelon’s "Snow in Summer," a layered essay about the power of memory, and Mitch Levenberg’s "The Cat," an inspired story that questions the relationship between language and violence. Plus, you can re-read our very first Welcome Letter to revisit our somewhat zany statement of purpose. We also hope this encourages you to go back and explore the depths of our past issues. We are amazed at how much great writing and art is in there and you will be too.

This issue features all your favorite ducts, of course:

Our new Reviews Editor, Charles Salzberg, took the bull by the horns and created our most powerful Reviews section to date. You’ll enjoy Richard Dubin’s "Tumbling Towers and Chorus Girls" about the nature of the "living theater" and Hillery Borton’s "Absolutely, Totally, and in All Other Ways, Inconceivable," about the important lessons we can gather from watching The Princess Bride. And two more great pieces.

Our Personal Essays section is also as strong as ever. Domenic Angielo’s essay, "The Store" is probably the longest piece we’ve ever run (excluding a full-length novel we ran in our early days!), but it’s worth every word. I’m sure you’ll love it. Editors Ryan Van Winkle (Poetry) and Stephanie Hart (Kids) have done a wonderful job of expanding and refining their sections and you’ll enjoy exploring those ducts too.

Our Columnists Ben Malcolm, Bachelor Girl and Bill Bilodeau have returned to explore the world of Thai cooking, pregnancy and Red Sox angst.

And don’t forget to check out the heart and soul of ducts, the Memoirs section. Naked Man, the only ducts contributor to appear in every single issue, is back with another adventure. Ellen Schecter continues her story about her battle with illness in "Fierce Joy: a Memoir of Healing." We received many letters about Ellen’s memoir in our last issue and hope we’ll receive many more. Helen Zelon tells us about a bizarre crime inside a prison in "The Moments Between." And we are introducing a new memoirist in this issue: Millie Ehrlich will be sharing the experiences of an interracial relationship in the 70s in "Beauty Through Broken Glass."

In our plush carpeted Art Gallery, photographer Christine Walters shares a glimpse of New York City on September 11, 2002, Constantine Limperis brings us more of his evocative paintings, and global trekker Thomas "Naked Man" Fast takes us to weddings around the world (black tie please, sword optional).

On the ever popular Ducts Stage this season you’ll hear an uneasy clash of high and low. Cry inside as you listen to Poetry and Music collected by our editor in Scotland, and laugh out loud with the demented radio comedy of Huebel & Riggle.


ducts has officially incorporated! We are a non-profit corporation now and we will soon be soliciting donations to offset the cost of producing the webzine. Look for the Donate to Ducts duct to appear very soon!


Special thanks in this issue go to you. We are always astonished at how many passionate readers we’ve acquired over the last three years. We appreciate your letters and hope you’ll send more. Feel free to send your thoughts to

Enjoy this issue of ducts and thanks for stopping by!

-- Jonathan Kravetz, editor, ducts

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