Eudora Welty wrote, in One Writer's Beginnings:
It is our inward journey that leads us through time — forward or back, seldom in a straight line, most often spiraling. Each of us is moving, changing, with respect to others. As we discover, we remember; remembering, we discover; and most intensely do we experience this when our separate journeys converge.
Editing The ALAN Review has been an inward journey, in many ways, for me. In preparing this issue, the last one I have the pleasure of editing, I have been thinking back about what the experience has taught me, and how it has changed me. And as I have discovered, I have remembered.
I remember Paul Zindel's My Darling, My Hamburger as my introduction to YA literature. In remembering, I have discovered, with Zindel's death in April, 2003, what many of you have known all along: his work has had an indisputable impact not only on the field of YA literature, but on our individual professional development, as well.
I remember the teachers who broke tradition to bring young adult books into secondary school classrooms I sat in during the 1970s, and the university teacher-preparation courses I took, under Dr. Terry Ley's guidance, where I first swam in an ocean of YA books. In remembering, I have discovered that YAL will be always be part of my identity—as a professional and a person. In remembering my early encounters with the genre, I have also discovered that great gaps still exist in my own reading and understanding of the field. I know too little about science fiction; I haven't read enough by writers from other countries; I already can't recall the IRA Best Book choices for 2002; so many research questions are left unasked; the list of my deficits goes on and on. So 1 keep reading and ruminating.
While thinking about my time as editor, I remember the frustration of young teachers who have written to me about trying to assign contemporary adolescent novels, only to be told by department chairs that they must stick to a rigid canon of recognized classics. And in remembering, I have discovered the significance of the work of leaders like Dr. John Simmons and the late Anne Webb (the latter of whom is remembered on pages 5-6 here), who urge us to question censorship in its blatant and subtle forms.
I remember the joy of teachers who have been convinced that they have "nothing to say" to an audience of readers until they see their articles published in the journal, and am humbled by their enthusiasm and intelligence. And in remembering, I have discovered that teachers too often hide their talents, assuming that their contributions are pedestrian, common, unimportant. And I remember that feeling...and the cycle continues...
The role of editor has, foremost, given me a chance to find the places in which the "separate journeys" that we, as YAL advocates take, "converge." This convergence, this chance to be part of a much bigger whole, has been, for me, an extraordinarily powerful and meaningful experience.
I want to thank the many authors and publishers, writers, readers, and critics of The ALAN Review, for your contributions to the journal during the past five years. I would like to give special public thanks to these folks, members of the "team," without whom I could not have done the job, period:
Dr. Pat Kelly and Dr. Robert Small, previous editors, who continually answer questions for me and give encouraging boosts, and to Dr. Jim Blasingame and Lori Goodson for helping me with this issue during the transition to their move into the editor's seat this fall;
Dr. Gail P. Gregg, Assistant Editor, who has an amazing ability to cut to the chase to get jobs done, is a constant encouragement, and treasured friend;
Jennifer Dail, and her predecessors, Randy Withers and Kim Quackenbush, each of whom has worked as an editorial assistant while in graduate school at Florida State, and who did more of the leg and eye work for the journal than anyone else knows;
The Editorial Review Board, who give academic credibility to the journal through their work for it;
My FSU colleagues, for their support and very real help;
The column editors, for their reliable and always-solid contributions:
Jeff Kaplan, YA Book Reviews editor, and before him, Lawrence Baines
M. Linda Broughton, Middle School Connection editor, and before her, Rita Karr and Kathy Corder
Alan Teasley and Ann Wilder, High School Connections editors
Elaine Stephens and Jean Brown, Research Connections editors
Jim Brewbaker, Interdisciplinary Connections editor
Kathleen Carico, Professional Connections editor
M. Jerry Weiss, Publishers Connections editor
John N. Moore, Library Connections editor
Jean Brown, Non-Print YAL Connection editor, and before her, Marjorie Kaiser
And finally, a huge thank you to Norm Madsen, Dawn Azar, and their son, Eric of Graphic Press, Tallahassee, who have done more than print each issue; they have proof read, corrected, and jazzed it with their printing and graphics expertise—ail with unbelievable good cheer.
The role of editor of The ALAN Review has given me the opportunity to think carefully about what should be made public, what should be questioned, and what should be celebrated in the field of contemporary adolescent and young adult literature. I have discovered the enormous commitment to YAL of experts who, while busy writing, publishing, teaching, and promoting young adult literature are willing to contribute essays, interviews, columns, and advertisements to share their thoughts with ALAN Review readers. ALAN is a group that is academically demanding and encouragingly supportive; it is particular and forgiving. Thank you for helping me discover and remember.
Note: Please see the change of address for submitting your manuscripts to new editors Jim Blasingame and Lori Goodson on page 2!