At last, after sifting through and poring over the submissions of 72 short stories and essays and 132 poems, we have finally assembled our annual collection known as the U.S. 1 Summer Fiction issue — our 17th such collection, to be precise.
Since space permitted the printing of only 25 stories and 21 poems one question that arises is why one instead of another, or more specifically, why theirs and not mine. We remind everyone that this is not a contest and submissions are not graded against each other or against some set of criteria — in fact we had a dozen more poems waiting in the wings, judged by our poetry reader to be equally engaging as those we printed.
So it was with the short stories. We hope all of you who participated in this year’s process will take to heart the spirit of a letter we received along with one submission:
“Hello. My name is Frank Li, and I am 13 years old. I live in Princeton. To be quite honest with you, I love writing though I have no idea of knowing whether or not I’m good at it. But I guess that’s for you to decide. I wrote this story, purely with my imagination and will to write. Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter to me a lot if I win this at all. To get my writing out there, to let people read it is enough of a privilege for me. Judge it as you see fit.”
No, we did not print young Frank’s submission, largely because we discourage submissions from students who — we hope — will have other chances to be published in school newspapers, college literary reviews, and in the course of their academic careers. Nor is it for us to decide how good a writer Frank is — through continued effort Frank will determine that himself.
But do applaud his spirit and hope that he — and the rest of you — will keep exercising the digital equivalent of putting pen to paper.
Anyone interested in further discussion of the writer’s craft are urged to join us for the annual Summer Fiction reception on Thursday, August 22, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Tre Piani restaurant in Princeton Forrestal Village. If your work was not chosen for publication and you would like some feedback from the readers and editors of the issue, they will be available before and after the formal presentation that begins at around 6 p.m.
To the Editor:
Trenton Goes Digital
Thank you for the July 10 cover story on the Trenton Digital Initiative, which helped to give form to our coalition of people and organizations.
Since then Comcast has donated 40 computers and many other companies and people have brought used computers to the HomeFront warehouse at 1880 Princeton Avenue in Lawrenceville. Jim Vinson, a Trenton Rotarian, said he had no computers, but asked if he could donate money. We had not sought funds, but with Jim’s generous donation, we were able to buy 20 computers from the Boys & Girls Club, which has a computer refurbishing and training program.
Mercer Street Friends is holding its Trenton Digital Initiative pilot programs now through Thursday, August 15 [the program provides vocational skills and computer repair training to kids from 14 to 18]. They are also seeking donors who are willing to sponsor high-speed Internet access for a family below the poverty line. The cost of sponsorship is only $120 per year through the Internet Essentials program.
Your article was particularly timely because the first computers need to be in place before the school year begins, and because gathering used computers is harder than we expected. Computer sales have been down for the last five quarters, so people are disposing of fewer computers. Big recyclers have a lock on local recycling programs: they sell some computers, strip some for parts, and send the rest to China to extract the metals. Finally, many local institutions send their computers out of state.
We get two main questions:
(1.) Do you erase the hard drive? Yes, we install a new operating system that erases the hard drive.
(2.) Will you pick up a quantity of computers? Yes. For quantity pick-up, please call David Zboray of Mercer Street Friends at 609-278-5513. Please see www.trentonmakes.info for more information.
One minor correction: it actually only takes us a few minutes to create a PC for the Trenton Digital Initiative because the entire installation is on a single CD that includes Linux and LibreOffice.