From the Editors

I’ve been on the Goddard campus in Vermont exactly four times: one Disco Day and three residencies. Each trip has been its own trip. For Disco Day, my Julia and I drove up in the Mini we nicknamed “The Blue Stallion,” a fiercely independent spirit of a car loyal to our every urban escapade. The Blue Stallion only broke down in completely convenient locations: our driveway, or the grocery store after we finished shopping (forcing us to snack while waiting for AAA)… a car with a highly developed sense of propriety. Disco Day was her last trip. She bravely carried us to and fro despite the wildly out-of-date inspection sticker, the occasional creak, the discreet puffs of black smoke burped on obscure off-ramps.

For my very first residency, I took Megabus. Still smarting from the loss of dear Bluesy, I watched the world float by the bus window, enthralled with the shift from city to country. Stepping out in Burlington, I was struck by the cold. No really, struck by the C O L D. My spirits warmed at meeting Chenoa and Parker, packing into a car-share, and opening our hearts to all that Goddard had to offer.

I left for the second residency with more confidence. I had made it through a semester, I knew what I was doing! For example, who takes the bus all the way to Burlington when you can hop off in Montpelier, just miles from Goddard? Montpelier’s bus stop is conveniently located right off the highway. It also doubles as a dog-walk park, in case you’re interested. It also has zero cellphone reception and is not near anything with a roof. So yeah, I trudged along a state highway in the rain, reminiscing about my jolly G1 trip, when a car pulled over, the window rolled down, and a very friendly voice offered me a ride. Yes, yes, I know: stranger, country road, plot of a 70s horror movie. Did I mention the pouring rain? I joined a quick trip to the local pharmacy to pick up some Lyme disease meds, then back to my new friend Wendy’s house to switch cars, grab a dog, and then Wendy very kindly drove me Goddard.

I left for my third Residency early because of all the smarts I had acquired. Storm-a-bomb-a-geddon™ was coming, and so Brian drove all the way down from New Hampshire a day early to pick me up in Boston. Yes, it was nighttime; yes, it was cold; yes, I cleaned CVS out of all vegan snacking materials. We were going to get to Goddard ahead of the natural disaster, sleep in, then hit the ground running for an action-packed residency. What more could we possibly need? Just gas. Just an open gas station. Just an actual functioning gas pump. Brian and I are writers, we do not let hours of suspense and anxiety in the deep night of deserted Vermont highways go to waste. You will one day read that book and feel our despair, then you will join in the early a.m. triumph of rolling onto the Goddard campus.

Getting to Goddard is all well and good, but what about finally being there? Magic. It’s the privilege of hearing fellow writers read their own works, talk about their art, their struggles. It’s opening one’s spirit to the sharing and creating, then eating six countries’ RDA for kale in just the first two meals.

The Pitkin Review in your hand is a piece of that Goddard to hold and sustain you, inspire you, encourage you. Look at all you and your peers have accomplished! Once again, I feel privileged to be around you. Sharing this responsibility with Vickie has been the best experience I could have asked for, she is a treasure. One day I will travel to Port Townsend Goddard to meet her in person. That will be a tale to tell.

All my love to you, dear writers,
Cate Gallivan | Editor-In-Chief


On my first day at Goddard, a new friend said something to me that I’ll never forget. He told me that giving your writing to someone else for feedback is akin to saying, “Here’s my baby. Now tell me how ugly it is.”

It stings when someone tells you that the words you lovingly honed to a keen edge are actually duller than a dead duck dodging a dire dilemma.

But that’s the life we all signed on for when we became writers. One of tight deadlines, grave-hastening midnight snacks, and near-constant anxiety.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Cate and I noticed something funny when it came to deciding which submissions to accept for this semester’s Pitkin. When looking at the genre editors’ feedback combined with our own, we were surprised to find that it was quite common for one individual to love a piece of work at the same time another person loathed it with an almost unreasonable amount of rancor.

How was it possible that different people could have such wildly different reactions to the same piece of writing? Which of us were right and which of us were wrong?

As a scientist, it was hard for me to accept that both opinions could be correct. Although there is only ever one correct answer when calculating the specific activity of a metabolic enzyme, there exist a near-infinite number of appropriate responses when deciding whether a piece of art has value or not.

Although there was no official “theme” to the issue this time, the unofficial theme was Two Halves of Whole, as exemplified by Kimi’s image of a pomegranate split in two. For the first time in the history of The Pitkin, the duties of the editor-in-chief were split between two people.

At the time I’m writing this letter, I still haven’t met Cate. But I feel confident in saying that in this world of The Pitkin, she is my better half. This issue you hold in your hands couldn’t have been possible without her. Stepping into the limelight as Editor-In-Chief was something that scared the shit out of me, and I’m so happy to have done it with Cate at my side.

Beyond the two of us, this letter wouldn’t be complete without me thanking all Goddardites from both campuses for their roles in making this semester’s Pitkin a reality.
My Port Townsend darlings whom I see twice a year, and love dearly.
My Vermontians who I know through the magic of the Inter-net, and love dearly.
You are all so, so amazing.
And just the right amount of ugly to make it interesting. Keep on writing,

Vickie Veldhoen | Editor-In-Chief