What has a chicken got to do with the Ninth Anniversary of the Piker Press?
Well, this chicken was once just a bunch of pastel sticks and a piece of construction paper. The sticks of color and the paper didn't know anything about art, or expressions, or humor ... or chickens, for that matter. They were just inert tools, waiting unsuspectingly for their fate ... or lack of any future at all.
Then one day an artist began to cackle (like a chicken) and sketch, blend and build and cackle some more, add unexpected details, veer from representationalism -- and suddenly there was a chicken, a chicken whose expression undeniably tells you that there is more to this chicken than just feathers, more to this chicken than just pastel pigments and paper. What does it really mean, this chicken? Does what you think this chicken means match up with what the artist intended the chicken to mean? Maybe. Maybe not.
Writing is like the chicken. There are a lot of words in the English language. There are millions upon millions of keyboards. There are myriads of accents, turns of phrase, and thoughts. There are fingers on hands that pick up pencils, or tap keys all over the world.
There is a time when words have no meaning, because they haven't been used yet. There is a time when a keyboard is just a piece of equipment. There is a time when ideas are silent, because the mind in which they appear has not yet begun to reveal them.
Poems, essays, stories are so much more than all those separate components. To write is to embrace the energy and mystery of creative power, to allow oneself to be thrown purposefully, vulnerably, into an existence of letters and sentences. To risk being known, and risk knowing more about one's self. Poems, essays, stories are not The Writer, not The Words, not The Keyboard: indeed, they are something Other, something Apart, something Of Themselves.
Many writers will tell you that they had an idea, began to tap out words, and by and by were carried off from what they originally thought, swept along by some irresistible force that dragged them into something unlikely, something wonderful, or something dangerous. The story had come to life and acted upon the author as surely as the author had acted upon it.
The Piker Press is a celebration of writing. There is no political agenda in these pages; there is no formula that must be followed. The Piker Press exists simply as a venue of publishing writers' works. Our message is simply this: Write! Write! Write!
In the nine years we've been on the Web, we've accrued over 3600 poems, essays, stories, non-fictional pieces, reviews, editorials, photographs, and cartoons in our archives. It has truly been an honor to publish them all, and we sincerely hope that we can continue to be part of presenting new and glorious creations for years to come.
This week, for the Ninth Anniversary, I've chosen twenty of my favorite gems from the treasury to reveal them once again. I hope that our readers find them pleasing to the eye.
Thank you, Readers, for reading.
Thank you, Writers and Artists, for sharing your work with the world.
P.S. Next week our serials Dinner With Henry and The Building will return, as well as our regularly featured book reviews.