A few words to keep the dream of New York alive, via an Oral History of what brought me to create this journal, and what keeps me going.
Will upload these audios as often as I can. The link to the first one appears in our profile.
All of my best,
Isaac Myers III
March 31st, 2020
In October of 2016 I first had the idea for a literary magazine, Curlew Quarterly.
I had started working as a real estate broker in September of 2014, and was attracted to the profession because of its freedom, as well as its limitlessness.
I had never pursued a career in sales before, but honestly, when I obtained my broker's license I wasn’t thinking about what it would be like to "have a career in sales," or to "be a salesman."
No. I was thinking about something quite different: how could I afford to stay in New York?
I've always had a lot of ideas. And one of the side-effects is trying to bring too many ideas to life at the same time. At times I overextend myself. And not all of the ideas are good ideas.
But Curlew Quarterly was always different. Curlew Quarterly was always a good idea, the best idea I've ever had ––– and in many ways, the only idea I've ever had. It's who I am, and a reflection of what I know is possible for this city, and a test of what's true of the human heart.
On the Island of Manhattan I have a thinking spot. A place to collect my thoughts.
It's along Spring Street; and just west of Thompson Street, there's a park bench that sits in front of the basketball courts of Vesuvio Playground.
The first time I went there was almost ten years ago, although went there is not quite right. Really, I found myself there. Not in the esoteric and self-discovery-laden sense of finding oneself, but more literally: I was visiting New York for a long weekend in October, 2010, and walking around Soho with my uncle, and we took a pause there, having slices of pizza, laughing, and people-watching. This was long before I knew the city in the way that I know the city today.
At that time I was living in Des Moines, Iowa and halfway through my third year of law school at Drake.
A few months before, in May of 2010 I had traveled to South Africa (Johannesburg, Pietermaritzburg, Cape Town), and spent two and a half weeks experiencing the world as a place much larger and grander and expansive and beautiful and mysterious than I had ever felt before.
When I returned to the United States in the middle of June my mom picked me up from O'Hare in Chicago. It was a hot and bright and sweltering summer afternoon and I drove her diesel Volkswagen Jetta fast and south along I-65 toward my hometown of Indianapolis.
With the windows down we listened to ––– or I should say ––– I listened to and my mom tolerated the Jimi Hendrix Experience, his best of compilation. I had just heard the album for the first time a month before, and was mesmerized each time I heard Hendrix's take on "All Along the Watchtower." I was twenty-three, and everything and anything felt possible.
Having seen another corner of the world for the very first time, I was back in the States. The Fourth of July was approaching, fast. And U.S. Men's Soccer was playing England in their 2010 World Cup opener in a few days, and the match was in South Africa.
We may have listened to Hendrix's live performance at Woodstock, from 1969, of the "Star Spangled Banner" twice, if not three or four times. I couldn't have known it at the time, but already it was true: Curlew Quarterly was seven summers away.