We Know How Bill Murray Feels
This issue of Packingtown Review represents our ongoing transition from a print journal to an online journal (with a print component).
In some ways, this online issue is not that different from the two issues of our print journal. We are still devoted to the concept of the edited book, where individual pieces are selected from a large pool of submissions and are then arranged to be read, ideally, from "cover" to "cover," allowing independently created pieces to call out and respond to one another. But this book talks, its images pop out, and it comes to you at no charge, mediated by nothing but the electronic device in front of you. If you miss the feel of paper, listen closely to Paul Martinez Pompa read his poems in this issue, and you'll hear the nostalgic rustling of printed pages.
Although there wasn't a particular theme for this issue, there is a significant amount of lists here, beginning with Ksenija Simic-Muller's "The global lost and found." We even have a prose list piece, the winner of the Flash Fiction Contest, Nick Kocz's story "Bronzed." Could it be a reflection of our state of mind, now that we're reorganizing Packingtown Review and forging a new path? A good list can help keep you on track, make a daunting task seem executable, map a complicated reality, maybe even make things fun, scavenger-hunt-like.
Another piece that utilizes the list structure is J.A. Bernstein's "On the Erotic Appeal of Bill Murray," which considers the lack of (explicit) sex in Murray's films throughout the actor's career. Coincidentally, on the day Bernstein sent us the piece, I heard a young female yoga teacher tell a story about how the actor was hitting on her while he was filming in the Northeast. He reportedly accompanied the yoga teacher to her car after their chance encounter at a grocery store and, before she drove off, she gave him her business card while he proclaimed he would attend her next class. Her verdict? She was charmed, though not available, on top of being in an early pregnancy stage and suffering from nausea. The story ends there, because Murray never showed up at her class, probably after picking up her strictly-business cues. As you will see when you read Bernstein's piece, a version of this scenario is played out over and over in Bill Murray's films.
And we know how Bill feels. While we were primarily a print publication with a university press, we courted many potentially secure sources of funding, only to get frustrated with the lack of it. But thankfully, you can't type cast a literary endeavor, and so we're beginning a new, digital life. We're older, more experienced, and willing to compromise nothing.
with Cynthia Cravens, Tasha Marren, Todd Marren, and Roxanne Pilat