When I was a child I wanted to be a Tyrannosaurus rex when I grew up. Apparently I had big aspirations. In the interest of full disclosure, I also wanted to be a mailbox, so it’s not like I was any cooler as a child than I am as an adult. While neither of those wishes came true they continue to be a source of humor for my family to this day. I think of those choices often when my son declares that he wants to be a ninja or an elephant.
I think most of us fail at achieving our preschool growing-up ambitions with potentially the exception being people who become professional athletes since many athletes start honing their craft at a young age. Even those of us who want to be a fireman or a doctor or a teacher as a child often have the complexity of life throw different curves in our path which lead us somewhere else.
On the same token, I think the reality of my adulthood profession is potentially more fanciful and inconceivable to my preschool brain than the idea of becoming a dinosaur. And I don’t even mean the specificity of what I do on a day-to-day basis—which is something I couldn’t have conceived of three years ago much less at three. No, I mean generically being a librarian/working in a library is not something the three-year-old John would have ever expressed interest in becoming.
And that’s OK. I would hate to be stuck with the thoughts of my childhood as the be-all end-all of my career (although it would be pretty kick ass to be a T. rex, but still…). Heck, I’d hate to be stuck with my career choice at any point in my life. While I loved working in a bakery in college making amazing cakes and pies, it’s more fun these days to bake for friends and family than if I was doing it all the time.
I like change almost to a fault. This means I need to take care and make effort to finish projects I start. I can’t just take things and flush them down the toilet like poor Ramon in the 1980 monster movie Alligator and have those unfinished projects transform into neglected monsters that bite me in the ass.
It also means that I need to constantly assess what I’m working on to make sure I haven’t transformed it into something unrecognizable. This is particularly true when it comes to Electric Velocipede. Whether it’s the editorials I write or the fiction I’m selecting for the reader, I need to make sure that it’s consistent with the quality and style of what’s come before.
Nowhere is that more evident than our cover images. If you look at the first eight issues, you’ll see the quality of cover that I can make. Once Thom Davidsohn created his first cover for us, it was an easy decision to continue to work with him. With only a few variances, Thom has been our cover artist since issue #9. Now obviously this issue has a cover using work from Carlos Araujo, a talented artist from Brazil and last issue featured work from Jeremy Zerfoss who if you don’t know who he is now, you will when Jeff VanderMeer’s Wonderbook comes out later this year. No matter what, the plan is to have Thom return to covers with the next issue.
We’ve been lucky to have someone with Thom’s talent setting the tone for what the reader will find inside each issue. We’ve been lucky that on the rare occasion that we don’t have a cover for Thom that we’ve found some great art that conveys what it’s like to read an issue of Electric Velocipede: a little whimsical, a little odd, a little scary, and hopefully a lot of fun.
We don’t want to change the formula completely each issue, but we also don’t want to drive the reader into the ground with our unwavering style. Part of the fun is finding new writers and new ideas to make our readers think. To steal a line from myself and the submission guidelines:
That’s what I try to do with the stories I select for each issue. I also hope that they’re similar enough that you know you’re reading Electric Velocipede and not Popular Mechanics. Even these editorials try to be different enough so that I’m not espousing the same ideas every issue.
I think I’ve gone on long enough. You need to head on to our first story this month. Let me know what you think.