I first met Jeffery Hess (Weight of the Moment) in 2003, in Charlotte, North Carolina at Queens University. It was the year I was teaching my graduate craft class and he was in the audience as a first year MFA student. I noticed him right away, partly because the male-to-female ratio in our MFA program was pretty low, and mostly because he was listening intently, nodding, and taking notes. I don’t think we met formally then, but at some point we shared creative work outside of the program. The story he sent to me for a critique was Weight of the Moment. It was a fantastic story and I told him so.
(It was also the favorite story of our illustrator, Dawn Estrin, and she created a great image to accompany it.)
The idea of exploring weight issues and an eating disorder from a male point-of-view really struck a chord with me, and I have never forgotten that story. When I took over editorship of r.kv.r.y. I knew I wanted to bring it to print and share it with the rest of the world. Lucky me–lucky you!–he agreed to let us publish it and I’m proud to have it appear in my first issue as editor of r.kv.r.y. What better evidence of Jeff’s fine writing than to have an editor remember his story from reading it five years prior and then soliciting it? I think he wins the prize in this issue for the story coveted the longest.
Jeff is also an excellent editor in his own right. He assembled and edited the Press 53 anthology Home of the Brave, a fine collection of military-themed stories including work by Kurt Vonnegut, Tim O’Brien, Tobias Wolff, Chris Offutt, and Benjamin Percy, among others. As the foward says, it’s got “shipbuilders and sailors, pilots, wild dogs, battles–both physical and emotional, misunderstandings, fistfights, and the wounds of unrequited love. There are parades and hurricanes, people getting high and some merely getting by, as well as the human sacrifices made, the losses endured, the hardships faced because of or in spite of some connection to the military.”
Please take a few moments to visit the website of Home of the Brave, read a great review at Get Lit and then listen to Jeff talk about the book in an interview with Dennis Miller on The Dennis Miller Show.
I do hope you will read Jeff’s very fine story and enjoy some of the additional links. We’re proud to have him as a r.kv.r.y. author.