Stepping Down from Apex

Jason over at Apex Publications announced this morning A Thing I have been keeping fairly quiet for awhile.

As of November, I will be stepping down as editor of Apex Magazine.

It has been a long and fascinating experience, often rewarding, always educational. I am not leaving due to any personal or professional issues–it was entirely my decision and certainly surprised everyone else involved. The fact is, I’m tired. I’m tired, and for the last seven years I have been saying yes to every project and proposal that crossed my plate, paid a little, and wasn’t completely against my code of artistic ethics.

I can’t keep that up anymore. I have to start practicing No Magic, and protecting myself from overwork–because I have overworked myself so hard in the last year that I am psychically hobbled. I have to start having boundaries and making hard choices, or I will burn out hardcore and there will be no more Cat. While on tour I edited Apex and taught an MFA student and wrote short stories–it was too much. I have not, historically, been kind to FutureMe.

So I knew several months ago that I wanted to lay Apex aside–I am not an editor at heart, it is difficult work, very different than writing, and though I am proud of the authors I’ve discovered and particularly of the Arab/Muslim issue and  ‘s wonderful story that flew so far, I want to concentrate on my own work, and editing a magazine will make you question every tiny choice you make in a story.

I knew I wanted to go, but I wanted to choose my replacement, I wanted to pick someone who would carry on the inclusive and high-quality standard I established and not tear the place down just as I’d gotten it working so well. And I was having fried chicken slathered in hot sauce in Chicago one day and talking to Lynne Thomas, who’d just found out about her Hugo nomination for editing Chicks Dig Time Lords, about how she wanted to break into fiction editing someday, and it clicked. I asked her then and there, both our fingers covered in bright red sauce, if she wanted to take over Apex.

The next day she said yes, and we cyber-marched over to Jason to tell him the news.

I am proud of my 18 months (that’ll be the magic number, in the end) at Apex. I believe in and stand by the work I’ve done there, and I have learned a great deal–which is what I’d hoped to do to begin with. I hope you all have enjoyed the space I’ve made there–editing is often invisible work. In my heart, when I took the job, I told myself I’d give it a year and see how I felt. I’ve given it more, and I feel happy–but glad to move on, and confident that it will continue in the vein I’ve established.

I want to thank my slush readers, who were my heroes, and invaluable, and  , who served as poetry slush editor and will be departing with me. And Jason Sizemore for giving me the opportunity.

As a goodbye, thre will be a story from me in Lynne’s first issue. She’s going to be great, and I hope you’ll all join me in welcoming her.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

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