If I’d had to guess what Paper Tape would look like when we first started, I would have told you that we’d probably be mostly a reviews site with a few stories and essays thrown in. In our first five months we got only one art submission from Jessica Jones (who eventually joined up as our art editor) and a handful of stories, but since January we’ve gotten hundreds of stories and essays and one lonely review.

Mostly, I think, this is because of where we market, but I still find it odd. Are reviews lower on the publication credit totem pole? Are short stories and essays worth more on CVs? Did the whole world abruptly stop reading reviews in January and forget to tell me?

Jokes aside, it’s probably my fault. I’m more picky about reviews than anything else. I was a lit major not long ago, and anything that smells like an academic paper (annotations excepted) makes my eyes glaze over.

If this book or movie or art exhibition was important enough to convince you to write about it, I want to know why. Take me to the Beat cafe where you discovered Anne Carson. I want to know how Glass, Irony and God filled that empty place in your chest with electric current. How lonely were you exactly when that Picasso painting of the woman running across the room made you cry in the middle of the stuffy museum? What were you thinking about when Hannah Arendt made you reach for your notebook in a dark theater? Why did you throw Lolita across the room? What was it like watching the Babbage Engine start to move? I don’t care what we can learn. I want to know if this thing made you come alive.

It’s a lot to ask of a review, and I could be persuaded to scrap the category entirely and just call them essays. It doesn’t really matter as long as I get more of this sort of thing in my inbox.

How much do I care about this? Let me tell you.

Paper Tape’s reading period technically doesn’t open until October 1, but I will start reading review submissions today.

The first twenty people who send me a review and mention this post will get personal feedback by October 1 at midnight PDT.

After October 1, I will give personal feedback to everyone who sends me a review and mentions this post.

Email submissions to editor at papertapemag dot com. Please?

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