Of Editors, Writers, and Swinging Doors

from The Writer’s Chronicle December 2002

Years ago, Ford Madox Ford referred to editors as swinging doors “that authors kick both on entering and leaving.” Writer’s, of course, tend to describe editors using somewhat different metaphors. Clearly an adversarial relationship is often perceived where, if there were better communication, none needs to exist. Granted, an editor’s job is primarily that of a naysayer-at the Georgia Review we are forced to decline over 15,000 manuscripts each year-but that situation only exists because writers freely submit so much work arid would strongly resist any effort to curb that privilege.

>One of the questions I am asked frequently at writers’ conferences is, “How does it feel to have all the power that goes with being editor of the Georgia Review?” Such a question, it should be noted, is never raised by one aware of how much editing is routine drudgery, how much uncertainty editors have over near-acceptances, how much guilt accumulates over dated correspondence and aging manuscripts still awaiting responses. Power? We’re just human beings, making what we hope is a responsible and creative contribution to a literary enterprise that is much larger than any individual writer or editor.

—Stanley W. Lindberg