In the spring of 1986, I rented the cheapest post office box I could afford, placed some ads calling for submissions, and waited. Within a few days, the first poem arrived from a writer in Stanardsville, Virginia. Nearly every day that followed, writers responded.
It was exciting to visit the Post Office, open my little box and dig out envelopes with postmarks from all across the United States. By fall 1986, I had a good selection for a first edition magazine called NOSTALGIA.
Having spent years fishing for publication of my writing, it was a welcome change casting a net on the other side of the boat. I was hooked and committed to an adventure that has endured for 35 years. What a catch! Every spring, every fall, for 30 editions, NOSTALGIA ran. I did all typing and a local printer duplicated hundreds of pages which I brought home in boxes, spread out on the dining room table, put on ear phones of music, comfortable shoes, and in about 8 hours had 1,000 books assembled, ready for stapling and trimming. Family and friends fled in fear I’d enlist their help. Often, though, my dear children and husband took pity and assisted in the monotonous assembly process. I loved the smell of fresh ink and celebrated each new edition, rushing them off to subscribers, friends, libraries, Bed & Breakfast Inns, leaving them in hotels, business and hospital lobbies.
When NOSTALGIA began, my son was 14, my daughter was 11. I was thirty-something and my husband had dark shiny black hair. By the 30th edition in 2001, I’d turned fifty, was coloring my hair, and my gray-headed husband and I had a grandchild. The cost of my publishing habits had ballooned! I downsized to a newsletter entitled NOSTALGICALLY for 6 editions. After a restful sabbatical, SECONDWIND appeared for 6 editions. Now HEART with 16 editions to date. There were days I wanted to quit, like when my computer crashed or the printer needed a toner, stretching the family budget. But strangely, unexplainably, I cannot. The heart has a logic the head cannot explain.
From 1988 to 2021, Nostalgia Press has paid $15,025 in cash awards to writers and donated to public libraries throughout the United States. Many writers stash pages like hiding money. Others seek to be read, to validate their thoughts, their existence. Writing is a lonely experience, reading is a lonely habit. It is rewarding to link the two, being a connector of people, producing written food for the mind and soul. Providing a place for writers, allows an outlet for my own writing.
If you have comments or suggestions, let me hear from you. Be gentle. Send an Email, a letter, or if you don’t have anything to say, order a copy of any back issue…that’ll work! Whatever you do, follow your heart, for out of it are the issues of life.
And never lose heart!
~Connie Lakey Martin, Editor
Nostalgia Press, 115 Randazzo Court, Elloree, SC 29047