Thursday, October 13, 2022

Ten Years of Forest Avenue Press

It seems unimaginable to me that this October is Forest Avenue Press' tenth anniversary. Ten years ago this month we published our first book, Brave on the Page, very DIY style, printing it on the Espresso Book Machine that used to be housed in the Purple Room at Powell's City of Books. We hosted reading events, one of which took place one floor up from the Espresso Book Machine, in Powells' Pearl Room, a coveted spot for writers of all types to present their books.

I say "we" because I'm of a handful of folks who are involved with the press, including readers, copy-editors, proofers, and our editor-at-large Liz Prato—but really Forest Avenue Press is mainly all Laura Stanfill.

Star Laura Stanfill—a star the way stars are just before they become black holes: compact and more stellar than you can imagine. That's a weird metaphor and I don't mean to say Laura is compact, or about to turn into a lethal sucking vortex of some kind. I just watched a show about black holes before starting to work on this. Anyway, I'm trying to say there's no one who contains so much energy and so much shine.

And because it's our tenth anniversary, I just wanted to take a moment to honor her and the press she built and the community she helped grow and the books she brought into the world.

But here's the thing about Laura Stanfill. Above, I was talking about how this press is mainly all her. But for Laura, it's all about all of us. She never thinks about Forest Avenue Press as her press. Her aim is helping writers get their stories into the world, helping readers find each other, helping people find community. She's constantly using her very limited free time to give advice to new writers. She's always looking for opportunities to bring people together.

For my part, I don't think I can adequately express how much better my life is because of her and Forest Avenue Press. I wouldn't have loads of lovely friends I have, and so many amazing experiences, I wouldn't have the wonder that is City of Weird, I wouldn't be a book designer today, if not for the moment she and I stood on the sidewalk after our writing group ten years ago and I said, are you really thinking of publishing a book, and she said yes, and she said, were you serious in there when you said you'd make me a cover, and I said yes. What a ten years it's been. It's made my life infinitely more rich. I say that for myself, but I know it's true for so many other folks too. Happy anniversary*, Forest Avenue Press, and happy anniversary, Laura. Here's to the years to come.

*OK, I'm not sure which day in October to call the actual anniversary. But I think we should celebrate all month long.