In the early winter of 2010, the Full Stop founding editors pooled our time and unspent creative energy and, out of a shared sense of ambition, enthusiasm, confusion and mild desperation, created a website. We started editing, writing and posting content a year ago today. Amazingly—even though we were editors who needed editors—people wanted to write for us. And then something truly mysterious happened: you all started reading.
Having you as a reader keeps me honest as a writer and an editor. I don’t know who you are, but I bet you want to read reviews and essays that are thoughtfully argued, stylishly executed, and properly punctuated. I bet you want to feel excited and not pacified by good criticism. For you, reader, the literary imagination is about more than just identifying with words on the page. It’s also an ethical imagination. The line between what you read in books and how you want to be in the world is so tenuous that, when you encounter literature that truly moves you, it disappears altogether. You’re a curious amateur, and you think that amateurism is one of life’s great delights. You love story and metaphor. You desire to be transported, because the there-and-then of fiction allows you to inhabit more deeply the here-and-now of daily life, with all of its exigencies and contradictions. You know that the questions worth asking don’t have answers, but the pursuit of answers shapes your life anyway.
I don’t know your age, where you live, or what you do, but I imagine that these things are true of you. And I write, edit and curate Full Stop as though they were.
Would I want to do this job even if we had no readers? Yes. But it would be a little like trying to put on a play with no audience—edifying, invigorating, and strangely hollow. (If there is no one watching you perform like you don’t know anyone is watching you, it negates the thrill of all that unselfconscious craftsmanship, right?)
So thank you, readers; you make this endeavor feel necessary, exciting, and terrifically fun. Here’s to another year.