New Kids on the Literary Block

Over the past two weeks, I’ve transferred a little magazine from my backpack to nightstand to kitchen table to desktop.  Its corners are curling, and its white cover is smudged, sure signs of well-appreciated reading material. Each time I pick it up, I’m glad I’ve subscribed to this new literary magazine,  The First Day
Published by Jana and Mike Llewellyn of First Day Press, The First Day is a quarterly print magazine that features in-depth articles, essays, and creative writing related to the arts, culture, and faith. Although The First Day is guided by Quaker principles and values, it strives to offer stories of hope, inspiration, journey, and discovery for people of all spiritual traditions and beliefs.
The inaugural issue does just that. Its pages are full of thought-provoking essays such as Chuck Fager’s personal look at racism in “Playing the Lottery,” and Kody Gabriel Hersh’s essay, “Queer Lessons for Spiritual Life.” There’s also fiction by Elizabeth Spencer and Quaker minister J. Brent Bill, and a dozen poems.
One of the issue’s highlights for me was interviews with writers Tracy Chevalier and Amy Brill.  Both authors have written novels with Quaker women as the main characters (Chevalier’s is The Last Runaway and Brill’s is titled The Movement of Stars), and the interviewers explore with the writers the books’ spiritual themes. Another delight was reviews of two television shows, Orange Is the New Black and Breaking Bad.  Even though I haven’t watched either program, I’ve heard plenty of buzz about both and appreciated the reviewers’ examination of the moral questions the shows raise.
In her introduction to this premier issue of The First Day, Jana writes of the uncertainty she and Mike felt of whether they would receive “well-written and poignant submissions.”  It’s clear from Volume 1, Issue 1, that there are plenty of writers out there who, as Jana found, “…show the deeper truths beneath stories of personal journey.”
While this slim volume supplies reading to occupy me for many hours, I don’t have to wait for Issue 2 for more offerings like these.  I’ve also subscribed to the press’s The First Day Blog for regular online posts about a wide range of personal spiritual experiences.

Jana and Mike Llewellyn bring considerable experience in writing, editing, and publishing to this endeavor, and it shows.  As a result of the couple’s faithfulness to a call to merge faith, culture, and creativity, people of all faith traditions, as well as those seeking a spiritual home, will find a welcome refuge at The First Day.


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