Welcome to our new tri-annual publication of Soundings! To alleviate the staff stress of putting out a September issue immediately on the heels of Residency, Soundings will now be published three times a year: Fall/Winter, Spring and Summer. Our goal will be to continue to provide the same craft-centered essays and happy publication news, announcements, and opportunities to the community.

Another welcome—to Sydney Elliott (2015), our new Assistant Editor for Soundings, who will take over the editorship after my graduation next summer. The amazing serendipity of having an editor named Sidney and an assistant editor named Sydney has not escaped us. Even more extraordinary is the confluence of three so-named individuals in the current RWW participant pool—which merits a quick shout-out to our sister in Sydneyhood, Sydney Purdy (2014). We ask that you try your best not to get all of us confused.

After last year’s wide-open lens on place and landscape (both external and internal), this year’s Soundings essays will focus on the theme of microcosm, symbolized by our colorful cover illustration of a human nerve cell. Our essayists will be looking at the smaller units of the writing craft. Suzanne Berne kicks off our series with her tribute to the minute artistry of sentence structure in “The Life of a Sentence.” Taki Yamamoto (2013) finds that you can go home again in his essay “Going Home” where he discusses the inspiration derived from returning to the small hometowns from which so many of us hail. That master of brevity, Jim Heynen, throws down the gauntlet to RWW participants to tell story in 200 words or less in “Explorations in the Short-Short”. Those who rise to meet Jim’s challenge will see their short-shorts appended to the next few issues (as long as they’re within the bounds of good taste). Jim’s hope is to generate ongoing conversation about the form over the next year.

Many of you have asked for us to publish Mary Clearman Blew’s “Advice for Writers” from her 2012 graduation ceremony remarks. We thought that was a fine idea, and include it in this issue with great pleasure. (What percentage do you tip the whippers, exactly?)

Finally, don’t forget to check out the achievements of our faculty, alumni, and participants, and let these be an incentive to…

Write on, people!

Sidney Brammer