In 2015, when this journal was born, several of us who were meeting to critique and support each other’s creative efforts felt the vague desire to present our work in a more public fashion. Things began simply, and the work and blessing has grown beyond what I imagined in the beginning. Every so often, I get flattened by humility in being reminded of our journey to this point—how our successes, while suffused with our hard work, are not the product of our hard work. The Spirit blows where it will. Anytime we add another team member, this is the case. That other people should see fit to believe in our efforts here and labor with us is amazing to me, in the most literal sense. That says something about my cynicism, I know, but I’m slowly being cured of it.
Today is that kind of day.
We’re delighted to welcome Jeanine Joyner to Foundling House as part of our editorial crew! We’ve featured her craft here before. Back in November, she walked us through what might be termed the meta-work of writing in her piece “Illuminating Shadows,” but I met her personally by playing a concert in her home.
I got there early and hung about the kitchen—a usual lurking spot for me, if truth be told—talking with Jeanine over this or that and watching her talented daughter paint at the counter. House shows are some of my favorite events. Sure, I get to share music and poetry with folks, but from my end, I also get to see a living snapshot of someone else’s life. Neighbors and extended family show up. Kids tumble in and out of all doors, riffing on the grown-up conversations and generally being impressive with their own artistries and senses of humor. People cook dishes they think their friends will like and pile finger foods around the table in rainbow array.
As I recall, among our other musical privileges at Jeanine’s, my friend Kirby and I sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to a sweet lady who was ninety-plus years old. The crowd spanned age brackets, races, and faiths. A home can be a lodestone of grace, a calico analog to the way the Spirit is working in and through that home’s occupants. Coming in as a stranger from the outside, if one pays careful attention, one can catch glimpses of the larger story. Being in the Joyner home was a breath of fresh air. As far as being a mom goes, I’m pretty sure Jeanine is on par with Molly Weasley.
She is also particularly passionate about combating human trafficking. She recently published her first novel, Paper Dolls: Trust Your Instincts, an account of young Melody and her friends as they grapple with human trafficking’s disturbing realities.
We’re excited about the possibilities and the future with our little team of folks, and we can’t wait for our newest editor to start sharing a fresh group of writers and their work with you.