It’s an impossible thing to carry two thousand copies of Quotidian. I know only because I tried. The weight of four hundred was enough to almost throw out my back, and in the end I had to take five loads of just that. Five loads of four hundred copies, bundled and packed into the improbable space of two cardboard boxes. It’s only a few blocks from my flat to the printers, but after the first I was gasping for breath, arms locked up and sweat dripping into a sticky pool on my back.
I spread the labour across several days (almost two weeks) and when I came for the third trip, Tommy, the owner of Glasgow Cross Press, asked if I wanted him to deliver the rest. It seemed excessive to go through the process of loading up a van just to drive three blocks. But at the same time there was something about the act of it, something about feeling the weight of all those words in my arms. I’d been carrying them home with me for six months now, ever since the first submission dinged our inbox to life, but now we had something to show for it: something material. I was proud of that weight. And the act of lugging it—the labour and sweat and panting—was a commemoration.
Those two thousand copies have since been distributed across Scotland, bundled and wrapped for postage. Quotidian has found a home in universities and colleges, libraries, cafes and bookstores, from mainland Europe to Iceland and all of the way to the United States. Our stories are being taught in college courses, our authors have gone on to publish collections of poems and short stories—novels, even—and our readers are sharing at a volume we’ve never seen before.
Three years ago, Melissa and I set out to create an aesthetic and engaging publication that simultaneously connected emerging, undiscovered authors with a widespread audience. Now, with our PhDs coming to a close and the future of Quotidian undefined, I’m proud to say that we have not only accomplished what we set out to, but that our mission has expanded beyond what we ever thought possible.
Issue Three carries that mantle into perhaps our best issue yet. After receiving more submissions than ever before—and struggling desperately to settle on twenty-four—we as a team are proud to project the diverse and fascinating voices of our newest authors. Their stories cover everything from the tragi-comedic stranding of a hearse to how, picking blackberries in an open field, we can briefly remember what it means ‘to just be.’ They spiral us into our youth and hurtle us across generations, covering a range of dialects from Shetland to expatriate blend and leading us, in the end, back to our beds at home—to our seats on the train or in the office—through a living medium that grounds and connects us all.
Written by Stephen O'Shea