It’s been a little while. Sorry about that. Life got in the way, as it often does.
We’re going to cut to the chase here. We were talking as a team recently, and we came to the conclusion that we simply don’t have the time necessary to devote to this project right now. Out of the co-founders, two have earned (well-deserved) full-time teaching gigs and the third is about to start commuting to Toronto five days a week, along with a weekend job and volunteer commitments. Additionally, many of our editors have their own responsibilities to take care of – they have children and families; they’re working on incredibly important PhD projects; they’re working a number of jobs to make ends meet. And, honestly, we’re tired. We just don’t have it in us anymore.
So, what does this all mean? It means that we’ve decided to take a bit of a break. We’re going to go on an indefinite hiatus until we sort things out and catch our breaths a little bit. We’re not ready to call it quits, though; we feel like we’ve put in way too much work, and have come way too far, to do that. Instead, we’re just putting things on the back burner for a little while to reset and recharge.
But, if you don’t mind us doing so, we’re going to reminisce a little, if only for the briefest of moments. We’ve had a lot of great accomplishments over the last few years. It all started in Eric’s backyard in 2014. We were tired of studying the creative works of other people and wanted to do something for ourselves. Born out of a half-baked writers collective that we attempted to start up a few years earlier, we recruited some of the best artists we knew – people we’re proud to call our friends – and came up with an idea for a website called The Paper Street Journal. It was going to be a place to publish and promote art that we liked and thought other people would like. Early on, we realized we were in way over our heads, so we turned to the incomparable Jenna van Klaveren for help. Jenna got everything started for us, and guided us through all of our growing pains – convincing graphic designers to work for free, since we couldn’t afford to pay them; setting up a website from scratch; generating an incredible following seemingly overnight… the list goes on. After a little while, Jenna brought in the wonderful Rachelle Waterman, who helped us create lasting and meaningful connections in the Hamilton community, despite being new to the community herself. If that doesn’t speak to her expertise, I don’t know what will. Logistically, we were able to publish four issues, two special releases, and throw two wicked Halloween parties (shout out to the Staircase Theatre) in four years, despite (1) being full-time grad students; and (2) never raising or charging a single cent for our content. We reviewed over 500 submissions from over 300 artists, and met some of the most incredibly talented people out there in the process. All of this was done for free by a team of volunteers who just really, really love art.
And that brings us back to today. We love this weird, little project of ours so much. For the past four years, we’ve poured a countless number of hours into this thing. Unfortunately, though, we just don’t have the energy to continue right now.
Before we go, we’d like to say thank you to a few organizations and people. First, we’d like to thank our team of volunteers – Nichole; Julia; Jenna S.; Steph; Greg; Kevin; Eric R.; Jesse W.; Rachel; Miguel; Katie; Zana; Alexis; and Alex. Your work was invaluable to us, and we’re so, so glad that we’re able to call you our friends. Second, we’d like to send a massive thank you to Jenna van Klaveren and Rachelle Waterman. As we mentioned early, we wouldn’t be where we are today without your expertise, your care, and your help. Third, we would like to extend a huge thank you to Jessica Rose, whose support for our project led to wonderful collaborations with gritLIT and the Hamilton Review of Books. Fourth, we’d like to thank each and every artist who contributed to each issue. Whether it was photography or poetry, short fiction or music, your work allowed us to do what we set out to do. And, finally, we’d like to thank the Hamilton community and all of our readers for embracing us and spending a little bit of time with us.
A paper street is a street that appears on a map, but doesn’t actually exist. We’re here, but we’re not here. We’re there, but we’re not there. We simply exist where we’re needed, when we’re needed. I can’t think of a more fitting metaphor to end on.
So long, for now. We’ll be seeing you soon.
Jesse Dorey, James Puntillo, & Eric Tarquinio