Woke up to a gray day and an acceptance at EPOCH!!! Bowled over. Because EPOCH is such an illustrious literary journal and has published countless distinguished writers. Because I did my PhD at Cornell and it was probably the first literary journal I ever read. Because they have such distinguished editors. Because they've been around since 1947. Because the essay launches THE LUNATICS' BALL and is particularly important to me. (The first longform essay in the collection, after the prefacing title flash, it sets up a pattern for the hybrid memoir/biographies that follow.)
I remember all the MFAs working on EPOCH while I was there—and the magazine's office, near the graduate student lounge. It seemed very glamorous: a well-known literary journal just down the hall! There were rumors of passionate, heated debates about submissions and literary standards around the enormous wooden table that dominated the room. (PhD students at the time were debating Derrida and Lacan, which I found much less interesting.) I was touched by editor J. Robert Lennon's note in the acceptance letter: "I want to add that this piece had the most consistent support from both the grad students and senior editors out of anything this entire submission period. And I personally like it very much!"