Monday, August 16, 2010

draconian measures: The Origin

Some people have asked about the title of this blog. (I guess any measures taken here to date don't seem quite so draconian!) The origin goes back to a temp job I worked in San Francisco. One day the underlings in the law office where I was placed received a memo regarding non-adherence to the firm's dress code, stating that "draconian measures" would be undertaken if people didn't comply. The severity of the memo was underscored by the sheer absurdity of the so-called 'dress code,' which seemed to focus specifically on shoes. My own at the time had been purchased at a local thrift store (specifically for said job) and ironically passed muster despite being a little worse for the wear. In other respects, I thought I was pushing the parameters clothes-wise but since I was a lowly temp I was that much more unconcerned.

Coincidentally, I had been considering starting my own literary zine at the same time, and since no title had yet been decided upon "draconian measures" seemed not only appropriate, but the perfect excuse for me to stop thinking about doing it and acting on the idea instead. Therefore, draconian measures was born!

To commemorate the magazine's genesis, I copied the pertinent portion of the memo and blew up the rather mundane font so that it had a cruddier look. Not just a title, but a logo as well -- perfect for my self-described "litter-ary" magazine.

draconian measures didn't last very long. Despite working many years as a freelance journalist, and being all-too-familiar with looming deadlines, it was tough for me to maintain a regular schedule for releasing issues -- and even tougher for me to decide on material to publish. I declined much more than I accepted, and after a few years it became a chore.

I recently made it out to my storage space (an essential component for the urbanite with limited living quarters who holds onto as much material as I do), and among the items I was seeking were back issues of dm. I found two, and just published them on Scribd. Check out issues #2 and #3 for a glimpse into my nascent editorial tastes, as well as some very fine poetry, fiction, interviews and art by names familiar and unknown that I think largely holds up well today.

So when I started this blog, thinking it would mostly focus on my writing and teaching, the name returned to me as the right choice. I like how it owes something to my editorial past, and carries on into the present. I hope that makes sense, or enough anyway.

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