Welcome to Issue 6 of Empty Sink Publishing.

About two years ago, I started working out for the first time in my adult life. I’d gotten so fat that getting out of the car was a chore. Going up one flight of stairs left me out of breath. So, I decided to do something about it.

Today, fitness is a part of my daily life, and it’s taught me a great many lessons that I can apply elsewhere. Case in point: running. When I started working out, I couldn’t run more than fifty yards or so without getting so winded I had to stop and catch my breath. So I didn’t focus on running too much. It felt like failure, and I don’t like failure.

Fast-forward a year. I was reaping the benefits of daily exercise, and for the first time in over fifteen years, I ran a mile without stopping. More of a jog, really, but let’s not get bogged down in semantics here. And it felt good. So I started incorporating running into my exercise routine.

I found that no matter how often I ran I couldn’t go more than a mile without having to stop and catch my breath. I’d go running three times a week and never saw any improvement over that damn mile. So I talked to my trainer about it. He watched me run for a minute or so and then said two words that changed it all: “Slow down.”

I was going too fast. You can’t sprint in a marathon. You’ve got to take it slow. And when I took his advice, within a week, I’d jumped up to a mile and a half without stopping. Then two miles. And about three weeks ago, I managed a 5K without stopping: the longest distance I’d ever run in my life.

I know now that with a little practice and work, I can go much farther than a 5K. And all it took was slowing down a little bit and realizing that sprinting may feel good, but if you’re in it for the long haul—if you want to get that 26.2—you have to slow down.

The point? Here at Empty Sink Publishing, we’ve been sprinting for six months straight. And it has been awesome. We’ve seen some of the best writing, art and photography that emerging artists and authors have to offer, and we’ve been honored to publish it.

But the pace is grueling, and it isn’t sustainable. And we’re in this for the long haul. We’re going to hit that 26.2 come hell or high water. Empty Sink Publishing ain’t no flash in the pan.

So as of this month, we are making a formatting change. Empty Sink Publishing will no longer be a monthly magazine. Instead, we’re moving to a bi-monthly format. The next issue of Empty Sink Publishing will come out the first week in June. The issue after that will be out in August, with the next following in October.

This new publishing schedule will give us more time to connect with readers, promote our authors, and read all of the wonderful submissions that have been coming our way over the past six months. For you “Strange Fish” addicts, not to worry. We still intend to publish a new issue every month. Two months is too long to be away from Kevin and Sophie.

We’re excited about the new format, as it will allow us to push the boundaries of what we’re trying to do. We have a pretty good idea where the finish line is for us, and we’ve got a very long road ahead. So it’s time for us to slow down a little bit to make sure we get there in one piece.

Now: on to Issue 6.

In Fiction, Ian Brooks explores the life of the seventeen-year cicada in, “Dawn of Cicada Time.” Jason Graff opens the old wounds of a war vet in “Next Homecoming.” Susan Beale’s “Poker” will make you question the similarities between life and a game of chance. And James Hanna brings us the second installment in the tale of Ol’ Pomeroy, “Pomeroy and the Rights of Man.”

Moneta Goldsmith returns to our poetry section with, “Interrobang,” a poem that will make you wonder just who that mountain really thinks he is. Reese Scott examines the strange memory of beauty in “Leslie’s Teeth,” and Richard Fein’s poems, “A Change of Subway Seats” and “Maiden Voyage” highlight the complicated nature of things both mundane and fantastic. Finally, Drew Pisarra returns with “Inappropriate Interview,” a hilarious look at a hiring manager’s worst nightmare.

The artists appearing in our visual section this month are, in a word, outstanding. Clinton Van Inman’s beautiful paintings cast a new perspective on familiar scenery, and Italian artist Fabio Sassi’s “Scraps” turn trash into treasure. And of course we have the new issue of N. Piatkoski’s graphic novel, “Strange Fish,” in which Kevin makes the startling accusation that the crew is more normal than they think they are.

For the first time, we have two Editor’s Choices this month, and for the first time, one of them is a visual submission. Lance Copeland’s paintings breathtakingly blend the modern collective subconscious with the techniques of the old masters. Trust me: you will want one of these paintings on your wall. And Ewa Bronowicz’s short story, “Luminita,” is a heartbreaking tale of old-school racism and new-world redemption.

We hope you’ll enjoy this issue of Empty Sink Publishing. Whether you read it all at once or over the course of the next two months, just remember one thing: take it slow. You’ll get more mileage out of it if you do.

—E. Branden Hart, Executive Editor, 4/7/2014