Dear Reader:

We take a special pride in publishing this issue of Writer's Cramp. Every issue has proven to be excellent over our first five years and in every issue we have been lucky enough to discover passionate, talented, dedicated writers who return to our pages again and again.

It is those same writers who tend to grow into their own potential before our eyes as they continue to offer up their newest works of fiction and poetry. This issue we feature four of our best and most consistently evocative writers and one new addition to the pages of Writer's Cramp.

Robert Montesino, Gerald Sheagren, Jan Oscar Hansen and Michelle Tercha have each contributed increasingly deft, creative, artful and truly masterful prose and poetry over the years, however an editor must stand in admiration of the depth and texture of their work in the current issue of Writer's Cramp.

In reading past issues from our Archives and from our collected submissions file, it becomes apparent that these artists are evolving and 'in process organis,' to invent a phrase.

Gerald Sheagren astounds with his work 'Tunnel Vision,' a harkening back, in these turbulent times, to a war the world has relegated to action filmdom and social inconsequence. Gerald Sheagren peels back the grime, pain, guilt and indifference of generations of looking the other way -to absolve a society of a burden it would rather shrug off and forget. But the still visible physical realities of that doomed conflict are constant reminders that the closeted skeleton of the eight-hundred pound gorilla yet overflows its confines. Mr. Sheagren sets the closet door eloquently ajar for us in this issue.

The work of Jan Oscar Hansen is an ever surprising, ever effervescent, always intriguing and forever freshly skewed view of naturally occurring events in a world that should be mundane and terribly tame but never comes to that conclusion in Hansen's subtle grasp. He draws the reader into a realm fraught with images, people and events as stormy, unpredictable and unfathomable as the oceans he's sailed in his long career as a merchant marine. Sea legs are not issued on a Jan O. Hansen voyage. And the calm should never be trusted.

Robert Anthony Montesino has come to the pages of Writer's Cramp with a selection of poetry from his new compendium, 'A Time for Reflection.' Robert is an established and welcome prose writer and has been featured here through his fiction, The Last Wish, Mind Monsters and Double Jeopardy, and now he shows a side of his talent we were sadly unaware existed. This editor must confess to picking over his collection of sweet-song, bitter-life, dashed-dreams poetry with a ghoulish carrion-bird glee and soothing his own soul with Robert's vastly veritous verse. (Another coinage of phrase, as it were.)

And there is the phenomenon of Michelle Tercha. 'In The Country I Built,' is the latest in a growing and intensely focused window into Michelle's poetic vision encompassing a universe only a dedicated poet or a dedicatedly poetic soul can clearly see. One has watched in wonder and growing awe as Ms. Tercha pens ever more intricate and always more delicate tapestries of word pictures, sound sights and sense journeys through her worlds of darkness and near light, contrast and chaos, love and love almost. She is equally adept with the jarring, skull-splitting silver sliver as she is with the balming salve of a soft caress. Be careful what you wish for in her writing - it remains long after you close your eyes to the page.

A new name to Writer's Cramp, and a huge talent, is Robert Flynn. Robert submitted his personal essay, 'Vietnam Notes,' in the spring of this year and there was no question that we would feature it prominently in our pages. This is a piece of history spoken from the heart of a man who tasted the fumes of battle and lived the terror of imminent death from the distance of a breath away.

From reading this personal account, there is no clear way to impress the reader of its impact aside from adjuring him to read for himself. This is an uncovered diamond, a flash of fire in a night of unremembered or overwritten or crudely hidden history. The spark Robert Flynn ignites is absolutely necessary to the continuance of a national dignity, a national debt; most particularly now.

It was serendipity - yes it's a truth that serendipity happens when it's supposed to happen - that Robert Flynn's essay arrived in the same week that Gerald Sheagren's short story did. Taken separately, both were assured inclusion in WC, but coming together as they did, following the declaration that a more recent war had been neatly won, boded that itchy-back feeling that all was not right in Lilliput just yet.

We welcome Robert Flynn and know you will too.

In a very few weeks, we will uncover a fallen marker, overturn a mossy stone, upend an old adage and reveal another Hallowe'en slap of wet leaves and moaning wind against a shingled house, simply to see its effect on those huddled inside around a guttering fire.

A cruel amusement, or a tacit nod to a race memory which lingers and wants feeding at least once in the dull year?