Ten Years & Still Rolling

January-February 1987By Dale Vree

Amazingly, with this issue, the NEW OXFORD REVIEW marks its 10th Anniversary. I say "amazingly" for two basic reasons: First, small, undercapitalized magazines of the serious sort don’t usually last this long. Secondly — to let you in on a secret — those most responsible for putting out the NOR have had absolutely no qualification or training to do so. The NOR is a religious magazine, and neither my wife, Elena (the Managing Editor), nor I have ever had a course in theology or religion or journalism or editing or accounting or magazine production. I know, some of you are muttering, "It shows." But be that as it may, we are still rolling along — and no one could possibly be more astounded by this fact than Elena and I. It makes one believe — in grace, that is.

If any human being deserves credit for this fact, it is not I, but Elena. If I sing her praises here, it is not just some pro-forma courtesy, for I have been told to do so by the Board of Directors of New Oxford Review Inc. You see, when the NOR was being born, I was doing other things and Elena had the gargantuan task of putting out the magazine singlehandedly and virtually from scratch. And, without an ounce of experience, she did it! Putting out those first issues involved so much emotional strain and "labor" that it could only be compared to serial childbirth. If you want to know what sort of person this Elena Vree is, read Proverbs 31:10-20, 25-31.

I entered the thick of things because Elena, a wife and mother, needed time for more important pursuits. She couldn’t work 12 hours a day forever. But there was another problem: She just didn’t have the heart to reject manuscripts. When she read a manuscript she couldn’t publish, it went into the file case and sat there for three months, six months, nine months…. She knew how hard authors work on their writings, and she just couldn’t bring herself to "hurt" them by saying “no.” And there was a related problem: When a manuscript required major rewriting, she couldn’t stomach the tension involved in working with authors of the more fussy sort. In one case, it got so bad she literally threw up. Well, this could not continue.

So, now I handle the people problems, and she handles the bills, the circulation, the typesetting, and a dozen other things. She even finds time to complain about some of the manuscripts I accept!

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