Our interest in publishing came through Universal Table and our commitment to using art, particularly narrative, to increase our abilities to Find the We in Them, the Us in You. As writer/publishers we feel very lucky that recent changes in publishing allow us to publish very good books in the way we have always wanted. For us, healthy relationality is core to how we publish and what we publish. It is also why we write – to enter into deeper and truer relationship first with ourselves and our own experiences and then with others and theirs. In other words, we’re interested, at any age, in wising up. Together.
Our approach can be summarized in the same way we describe some of the activities that are natural offshoots of our publishing: Writing for Insight. Reading for Relation. Our interest in developing the Wising Up Anthologies came from our interest in and commitment to fruitful pluralism. We had a desire to encourage a more musing and insightful way of exploring different topics of common social concern by combining many points of view, many voices. Our focus on fiction, poetry and memoir uses the natural richness of narrative as a way to allow us to safely walk in someone else’s shoes, look through their eyes, hold each other more generously in imagination and in life. The topics we have chosen for our anthologies are ones we feel have important implications for living in richer inter-relationship with one another in an increasingly pluralistic world.
This reading for relation takes place for us as editors as we hear resonances and feel new conceptual frames emerging as we read different authors exploring the same themes. Writing for insight comes for us when we weave all these distinctive voices together in collections that try to shape and share that fascinating listening experience with others. It has delighted us that the authors in our anthologies often write us upon receiving their contributor’s copy to say they feel honored to be included – which means to us that they have felt a sense of mutual amplification when their work is put in resonant conversation with that of others. They have found the We in Them, the Us in You to which we personally are so committed. When, at readings, people tell us they want to take our books home and share them with someone they are close to, someone whose own life would be expanded by coming into relation to these stories, we feel the same way. Our writers collective feels like a natural extension of these commitments.
-Heather Tosteson & Charles Brockett