RS: Guernica Magazine celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. What does the magazine have in store for 2015?
HB: Yes! The little magazine that could is ten years old. We hit a lot of milestones this year—we put out a handful of special issues focused on the American experience (the fourth, on religion in the US, goes live on Dec. 15th) and paid the writers in their pages; we held a hell of an anniversary gala at the Museum of the Moving Image; we released a print anthology of our favorite recent pieces, which I copy-edited so many times that I started dreaming of discovering typos. The magazine’s growing at an incredible rate, and 2015 is going to be a big one. We’re masochists, so I imagine another gala will happen, and another anthology. We’re right now picking themes for the new year’s special issues. More events, more stellar content, more art, more politics, more money for writers, more dreams about dangling modifiers.
You've written for such publications as Time and The Daily Beast. Now that you're a managing editor yourself, do you treat the process differently when you're sending in your own work?
Guernica doesn’t accept pitches, only finished pieces, and somehow that’s entered my psyche, so that I only send around completed work now. I haven’t composed a pitch in ages. There is something liberating about that—you write the thing you want to write, without someone else’s parameters in mind—but it’s also quite risky. And I’m much more forgiving when it takes an editor a long while to answer me, because I know now how much email one gets when one is managing a magazine. Too much. I have a very elaborate Gmail star system in place. But mostly, though, editing work of this caliber has taught me a ton about what makes good writing and as a result I’ve set the bar higher for myself.
What's your favorite holiday movie/song/food item?
I’m Canadian and a Jew, so I can’t really have anything nice. No big American Thanksgiving. (Canadian Thanksgiving is a sham.) No Christmas. No carols. I will say that this past weekend, on a drive upstate, a friend popped in a Barbara Streisand Christmas album, and that brought me a lot of joy. Yentl, singing Ave Maria. I like it so much. I am a big latke fan, and will typically turn a couple dozen potatoes into pancakes for Hanukah. But last year I was tired and made my latkes from a box mix. I didn’t tell anyone and nobody noticed, but I still feel deeply ashamed.