July 29, 2004
Through his enthusiasm for the written word, author Christopher Klim has launched a new literary magazine.
Being a writer/editor was probably the last thing Christopher Klimand his teachers imagined he would do for a living.
Grappling with dyslexia in the lower grades, he was full of imagination and ideas, but had difficulty with the finer points of the language.
"Until about the 5th grade, I couldn't really read or write very well, but I was always dreaming up little stories," says Mr. Klim, speaking from his home in Titusville. "Telling people I wanted to be a writerthat probably should have been my last choice. Everyone was always discouraging me."
Perhaps that is what motivated him to become an author, a detail-oriented editor and a coach for other struggling writers.
In June, Mr. Klim and Hopewell Publications launched Writers Notes Magazine. As senior editor, he gathered and edited works from across the country, culling hundreds of manuscripts down to about 130 pages of poetry, fiction, interviews, essays, humor and how-to tips by a variety of folks in the field. More recently, he released Everything Burns (Hopewell Publications, $15.95), the sequel to his 2002 novel Jesus Lives in Trenton (Hopewell Publications, $15.95), featuring the itinerant journalist and sleuth Boots Means.
Mr. Klim's latest literary creation has earned critical praise, including plaudits from The Circle (literary) Magazine which likened the speed and readability of his prose to a bullet train.
Writers Notes Magazinewhich will rest on the shelves near such nationally known literary magazines as Glimmer Train and The Antioch Reviewalso is an absorbing read. Mr. Klim and a handful of the magazine's contributors will present and discuss the periodical at Barnes & Noble in Howell, Monmouth County, Aug. 2. He is already looking over submissions for the next edition.
Through his enthusiasm for the written word, as well as some noteworthy contacts, Mr. Klim gathered more than a dozen writers and interviewers for the first edition, ranging from seasoned authors to first-timers. It's important, Mr. Klim notes, to give budding writers a chance for their work to be seen since the publishing industry seems to be off limits to all but the anointed.
"The state of literature has become very narrowly defined as to what's good, and it's very closed," Mr. Klim says. "I find so many emerging writers who can't penetrate the literary market at all, they can't even get a look. This is an opportunity for new writers. I was trying to find the best stories and writing I could for the first issue. I wanted it to be about ideas."
"We searched for contemporary writing that paid homage to story and enlightenment," Mr. Klim writes in the foreword to the magazine. "There were no other guidelines. The essays fight for conclusions with intriguing perspectives, and the interviews reveal human drama while shedding light on interior portions of the literary world."
Between the pages, you'll find a wry observation by Mark Miller of all the things writers do to avoid writing, a dark, humorous look behind the scenes at a "sexaholics anonymous" meeting by Stephen Donaldson, an excerpt of a memoir by veteran author Robert Gover as well as new fiction by Mr. Klim.
He also interviews Linda Swanson-Davies, founder and editor of Glimmer Train, and Debbie Neckel of the Internet book-talk station BookCrazy Radio. Another interview, conducted by New York-based journalist Behlor Santi, is with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, internationally acclaimed author of Purple Hibiscus.
With advanced degrees in physics and computer science, Mr. Klim worked for the space program on long- and short-range observation satellites, then left the high-tech industry to work more in communications and journalism. Along the way he also moonlighted as a bartender, a freelance photographer and an assistant to a master chef.
He still wears quite a few hatswriting, editing, conducting workshops and salons while raising two small children who offer daily critiques of his work.
"I no longer stare at the heavens for answers," he writes. "I grapple with runny noses, strange meals and conversations that make no sense whatsoever." Such is life with a 7-year-old.
Mr. Klim is currently working on the fall/winter edition of Writers Notes Magazine, looking over submissions for the upcoming book, which will probably come out in late October. In addition, since January 2004, Mr. Klim has been holding a writers group once a month at the Barnes & Noble in Howell. The group, which resumes Sept. 1 (it will run on the first Wednesday of the month), draws about a dozen aspiring littérateurs from as far away as Bridgewater and Newtown, Pa.
He also is the primary architect of the online writers' resource tool, www.writersnotes.com, which boasts about 3,000 registered members. In fact, the site is where Mr. Klim got the idea for the magazine, which also exists as an e-book.
"I was hearing complaints from a lot of people saying that they couldn't get their stuff read," he says. "I know nobody reads the 'slush piles' at major publishing housesI've heard peoples' submissions just get put back in the envelope and returned unread.
"So I thought I'd start up an electronic magazine and in about a year I had collected stories, including a few from some notable contributors," Mr. Klim continues. "My publisher got word of it and suggested I print it up and see what happened. It's been kind of a cooperative thing with Hopewell Publications."
"With Writers Notes Magazine, Mr. Klim hopes to stimulate writers to be creative, but also to invite potential readers to "pay attention," ask questions and never stop thinking."
"So many things exist to detract us from paying attention," he says. "I know from doing book tours that readers are guaranteed to be the most intelligent segment in society. I can tell by the questions they ask. It's because they read."
Christopher Klim and a handful of contributors will present and discuss Writers Notes Magazine at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 4831 Route 9, Howell, Aug 2, 7 p.m. For information, call (732) 730-2819. Mr. Klim has also recently released Everything Burns (Hopewell Publications, $15.95). Writers Notes Magazine on the Web: www.writersnotes.com. Christopher Klim on the Web: www.christopherklim.com. Hopewell Publications on the Web: www.hopepubs.com
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