West Coast litmag promotes creative community with geographic focus. Cover artwork for Issue 9 of Goldman Review.

West Coast litmag promotes creative community with geographic focus.

Review of Gold Man Review, Issue 9, by Sydney Gonzalez

The 9th Issue of Gold Man Review explores human behavior through analysis, tragedy, and aspiration in a varied collection of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. This annual literary journal accepts submission from writers who reside in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington. The 2019 edition honors Gold Man Review’s mission statement of “Creativity Becomes Community” by presenting unique works that are tonally in conversation.

This issue toes the line between playful and serious in a crafted way. At many times, the journal is able to tug on an emotional chord through both love and loss. The opening piece “The Old Man and the Speedo” focuses on a man that has suffered a terrible loss, yet is still yearning for happiness and comfort. This first fiction story establishes the pathos that continues throughout the journal. The poem “Indian Summer” tells a tale of longing and reflection of an earlier time, with the author conveying the beauty and pain of love lost but not forgotten. “That’s Nick Bottom” is a fiction story about a special education teacher who offers a lesson on the importance of being a role model and advocating for someone. Even the journal’s very last piece, “Aidan and His Therapist” is able to not only break the reader’s heart but also leave them with a sense of peace. It is clear that Gold Man Review wants you to feel something as you read, and many of the stories succeed in that.

Gold Man Review’s 9th Issue offers a variety of stories and perspectives. Based on its cover art and tone, this is meant to be a journal that would be popular amongst young adults on the West Coast. That being said, this journal may not be intriguing to people outside of the regions mentioned. There may be a disconnect between the reader and some of the stories if the reader is unfamiliar with the setting or environment.

While a few pieces are directed to a larger audience, others speak- to a specific demographic. Poems like “The Licensed Freedom of Marital Sex,” “Holiday Cheer,” and “Fault Line” don’t necessarily fit into the journal’s overarching tone and conversation, even though they are fine examples of writing. Several of the stories are even location-specific and might disengage a reader not from the region. “On Orogenies” speaks fondly of the Idaho mountains and dives into the feeling of exploring them. This piece fits with the tone of the journal, but it falls short when attempting evoke a response from a larger audience not familiar with these particular mountains. Along with this point, it does seem that the journal is more concerned with given its writers a home than helping its readers feel at home, which may not be such a bad thing.

Aside from some disconnect, there is a good portion of the journal is dedicated to works that can be considered relatable to any reader. Despite its off-putting title, “Irritable Bowel” makes readers think about the worth, or lack thereof, of a diet. It offers a newer meaning to the word “diet,” which is something that a reader may not know was even necessary. “Bona Fide Hustlin’” offers insight into post-grad life and the financial tribulations that come with the privilege of education. The nonfiction piece provides both thought-provoking and quippy phrases such as “…education offers you two tools – a moral compass and a career compass” and “There is no I in Starbucks.” “Boys Before” is a first-person nonfiction account that cleverly splits into two parts. Part one reads as an unsent love letter while part two conveys the interior monologue that many people have when wondering, what if? These stories prove that the journal cares about the human experience and wants readers to reflect on what that is for them.

Gold Man Review takes pride in being a platform that shares the voices of West Coast writers. In describing who they are, the journal states, “[We are] inspired by our belief that artists are vital and there is an ongoing need to continue and further education in the arts.” While this may not solely serve the readers in the way that other journals do, Gold Man Review fulfills its purpose. Submitters should know that the journal only accepts submissions from writers, and artists residing in the states of California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii.

The 9th Issue of Gold Man Review is a strong addition to the journal’s collection with many thoughtful pieces of writing that explore humanity and the emotions that come with it. It is very well-balanced in the format of the stories being told, which make it a careful and reflective read. Naturally, some pieces are stronger than others, but even the weaker pieces have something to say. The review knows what it is and what it stands for, which make it consistent and dependable. This is a product of advocacy for arts being turned into action.

Sydney Gonzalez is a recent Gonzaga University graduate with Bachelor of Arts degrees in both Broadcast & Electronic Media Studies and Public Relations along with a minor in Writing. She is currently fulfilling her goal of working in the entertainment industry in her hometown of Los Angeles.