A few weeks ago i announced the end of 63 Channels. For those of you that don’t know what 63 Channels is, here’s a recap. Nine years ago i started a personal website called 63 Channels as a place to showcase my poetry. Nine years later 63 Channels had blown up into an internationally known arts website that featured the poetry, fiction and art of people from virtually every country, nationality, political affiliation and race. Along the way we spent 5 years doing a calendar that combined poetry and art together to make something new entirely. We spent another 5 years doing semi-annual print issues, once again featuring some of the best poetry, fiction, art & articles from around the world. at some points we were receiving dozens of submissions per week and making what would become lifelong friendships with some amazing people.
But with every great achievement there are failures and casualties. In this case, i was the casualty. Because what started as a hobby became a part-time job, and for every extra minute i spent on this amazing labor of love, i was spending less and less time on my own projects. My poetry dried up, novels went unfinished and art became non-existent. At first i pushed it aside, i truly love(d) 63 Channels and wanted very much to put out an arts magazine that made a difference and made an impact in the lives and careers of writers and artists. But about a year ago i noticed something. The issues were missing deadlines, columnists were flaking, the quality of submissions started to decline and it became more of a labor than a labor of love. Add to this the fact that i’d just published a new novel that i was doing virtually no promotion for. A friend had convinced me to do a book reading with him, something i’d never done before. I actually enjoyed the experience and realized that i needed to care about my personal projects again, mentally 63 channels was starting to kill me.
Yet, despite the writing on the wall, I dragged 63 Channels out for another year, and it was a disaster. While i was still very honored to be able to publish the work of some great writers, the magazine was falling apart and i couldn’t even bring myself to fix it. One day, about three weeks ago, i was laying on the couch, attempting to take the rarest of all things, a nap. Instead, a thought entered into my head and i walked to my desk, logged into my mailing list, and informed over 1700 subscribers that 63 Channels would be shutting down. I spent an hour trying to compose the perfect email, and i think i failed. Because no email (or Blog) will ever convey how much i love 63 Channels and how much it meant to me that complete strangers would trust me enough to put their creations in my hands. You can never imagine how honored i will always be by that. When i finished that email, i re-read it about a dozens times, then hit the “send” button. And i instantly wished i hadn’t. Part of me still wasn’t ready to let go. But over the next few days i grew to accept it, even though that regret still lingered.
And over the next few days, something else happened. Emails began flooding in. They were from people who had submitted last week, and people who had submitted 9 years ago. And as i read (and made a point to respond to) every singe one, i realized something. I’d actually made a difference. It was a small one, buried in the world of the written word, but it was there, and i knew that i had made the right choice; i’d gone out on top, while i was still proud of 63 Channels. So now, as a final tribute, not to me, but to the featured writers, the poets, the artists, the columnists, the guest editors and my amazing fiction editor, Jen Dubin, here a few of the emails i received telling me what 63 channels meant to them.
“…63 channels is one of the very first mags who published me and I will always be grateful!…” R.S.
“Thanks so much not only what you did for authors but for your promotion of visual artists. I am still very proud of working with 63 Channels…” D.M.
“I understand how time-consuming it must have been but I may speak for many, many writers in saying that your good work has been appreciated. 63 Channels will be missed…” C.M.
“…You have been a very important part of my writing career and I want to thank you for accepting my work over the last few years. It was, will remain, an important part of the literary world…” G.S.
“…I enjoyed this site very much and it is hard to believe 9 years have gone already…Thank you for all your efforts and publishing a few of my works. It meant so much to me to see my writings amongst great artists…” R.J.
“Dude thank you so much for doing what you did with 63 channels, I was honored to be a part of it…” M.E.
“I’m really sorry to hear that 63Channels is coming to an end. You are one of the few places so far to publish my work, for which I will always be very grateful…” D.B.
“I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for all that you have done for me. You featured five of my poems many years ago, and all of those poems are in my first book that came out in 2010. And you were the first person to publish one of my short stories, and now a second one has already been picked up by another journal. “Through the Nose” is also up for reprint in an anthology. Let’s hope they take it. All this by way of saying thanks for all the work you have done, and that you have played an integral part in my writing life and career…” C.M.
I Could post a dozen more, but at this point i’m sure you get it. To all of the people who were kind enough to reach out ad say goodbye, it’s not you who should be thanking me, it is I that you should be thanking you, because any and all of 63 Channels’ success is all because of you.
immediately following this blog i’ll be officially shutting down 63 Channels. The magazine will go offline and the submission email account will be closed. And i can only hope that the next phase of my life in the arts is half as satisfying as the first half was.
Thanks for reading