Welcome to “the lost edition” of P76 originally planned for the summer of 1993-94.
Eighteen and a half years after we called for contributions to the 6th issue of P76 magazine, we are delighted that it is finally, in your hands! Literally, if you are holding one of the limited-print-run copies, or virtually if you are reading this on your device or computer.
Some of the writers published in this issue have gone on to enjoy considerable success. Interestingly, their acceptance to appear in this issue of P76 represents may represent one of their first acceptances for publications. For them, and the other writers in this edition, P76 No 6 is something of a ‘time capsule’ finally being opened after 18 years lying buried beneath hurrying feet.
Eighteen years is a long gestation by any measure, and definitely a labour of love; but this baby is finally delivered. Such silences are, of course, common to the world of literature as Tilley Olsen told us in Silences (1962):
Literary history and the present are dark with silences: … Or — as instanced over and over — other claims, other responsibilities so writing could not be first?(The writer of a class, sex, color still marginal in literature, and whose coming to written voice at all against complex odds is exhausting achievement.)
Having selected, edited and, with the help of the wonderful John O’Brien, typed up all the submissions and mostly laid out the issue in 1993 on, what was then, an almost state of the art Macintosh LCIII, we started the search for suitable cover artwork. We wanted to create something special with No 6.
Issue 5 had been a “Special Recession Issue”, badly photocopied with a no frills cover. This time we wanted to return to the glory days of the first four issues with their great silk-screened covers by Gina Ghioni, and art work by Gina, Carol Murchie (Archer), Jurate Sasnaitis, and others. We just did not realize it would take so much time!
By the end of May 1993, we put the edited disk to one side, intending to return to the question of artwork to match the caliber of the writing inside as soon as we could. Somehow, during the nesting panic of nursery renovations of what had been our study, and a computer upgrade, the box of computer disks was archived in a rented storage space.
We then began the grand adventure of parenthood during the freezing cold June long weekend of 1993. Becoming parents to our son was the most wonderfully life-affirming event, coming after a three years in which we had each lost a parent to awful smoking-related diseases. Unfortunately, by the time of his birth, our son’s surviving grandparents’ health was also deteriorating and they needed our help, not vice versa. Our plans for P76 and Rochford Street Press went on hold for a little longer …
As the years passed, we occasionally thought of the lost issue, but we couldn’t find evidence of its existence – it had effectively disappeared. It was only during recent renovations of a study and storage room at our current residence, that Mark found a box of old floppy disks that the riddle was solved. There followed a frustrating process of finding an old Mac that could read the disks, converting and transferring the files onto our current computer and then finding a program that could read the 18-year-old files … Eventually success. And what we found was this basis of this issue.
Today, our children are emerging young adults. They are, it seems, almost as old as this issue! Raised in what we hoped was a creative, chaotic home they are interesting and intelligent individuals with minds and talents of their own and busily studying. Mark and I find we now have time to deal with unfinished literary business and the outcome is, we believe, something beautiful to look at and great to read. The cover and title page artwork by Narelle Adair, and photographic works by Karen Jackson, and Lucie Adair-Roberts, lend a beauty and contemporary relevance to the edition.
Technological changes over the past two decades have of course liberated small presses from the physical need to get the hardcopy to the bookstore and that fact alone makes it worthwhile and affordable to go ahead with publishing this issue.
Issue No 6 is a labour of love, for writing and each other. We apologise for the delay but hope you enjoy.
And we already have plans for issue 7. If you want to keep in touch send a email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will put you on our mailing list.
Co -Editor & Art Director on behalf of Mark Roberts and Linda Adair