This, Then the Exhale

This, Then the Exhale

This, Then the Exhale 1920 923 Jason D. Ramsey

Dear Readers,

Life is a monolith. I appreciate your patience and grace.

Issue 18 is finally here! It is late, and that is my fault. We moved to quarterly issues for 2021, and I underestimated the additional time required to assemble something the size of ‘Idle Reveries’. I want to thank everyone who has been involved in this process — contributors, readers, editors, social media managers, consultants, and everyone who reads Barren Magazine or follows us online. I am absolutely blessed to be a part of this talented and supportive arts community.

This issue was especially challenging for us at the mag. We had many internal discussions about content, mission, values, and ensuring that we are all doing our best to move Barren Magazine in the direction that we’ve envisioned from the beginning. We also made a number of internal changes, both with volunteer staff and backend operations. While these things contributed slightly to the delay, the bulk of the delay was a result of the monolith:

extensive work weeks (I manage a department of 40 respiratory therapists, and we’ve been in the middle of a historic COVID surge in Michigan); five kids (1st to 7th grade; 3 virtual school, 2 in-person, 2 of whom were in quarantine the last two weeks); a master’s class (student); a collegiate lab course (instructor); little league (coach); marriage (thankful); my mom’s worsening dementia (heartbreaking).

We all juggle roles in this life. We struggle in our own ways. I stay busy in order to help stave off major depression and suicidal ideations. But, everything has a tipping point.

My solace throughout all of this is Barren. And you.

You, dear readers, deserve the best that Barren has to offer. It would be a terrible disservice to the entire community for me to publish anything less. As only some of you know, I build each issue from the ground up. I take the blistering, incredible content that our rockstar editors select, curate the visuals, and then assemble each issue in WordPress. Assembly usually takes between 30-40 hours of me, alone at a computer, typing and clicking. Issue 18 took between 40-50 hours (I lost track). I upped the visual ante, which required custom building of each block. I also added a ‘Contents’ section, which allows readers to click on a genre of choice to go directly to it (no more scrolling through everything to get where you want). We aim to present you with a stunning virtual magazine that has the look and feel of the very best print journals. While we don’t have the hot-off-the-press smell, we do our best to appeal to your eyes, hearts, and minds.

We want to leave you breathless.

‘Idle Reveries’ does just that. It cuts to the heart of who we are. It’s a stirring collection of life experiences. It’s rough, but colorful. Its characters are flawed, yet unmistakably real. Its stories are both whimsical and devastating. It is an absolute honor and pleasure to present you with our eighteenth issue.

Love to you all,


Jason D. Ramsey
Publisher / Editor-in-Chief
Barren Magazine

Header photo copyright Barren Magazine.

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  • Jason, in the midst of your struggles you manage to create this gorgeous publication. What an accomplishment. Thank you for everything you do. xo

  • Thank you, Jason. Barren is a beautiful gift to the literary community.

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