traitors are not heroes.

State of the Mule Address

The River of Strange

Southern Legitimacy Statement: I’m so southern, I created the southern legitimacy statement in 1996 when we first started publishing this literary journal. The requirement to send a “statement” seemed fun at the time and necessary later. As the submissions grew, so did the need to differentiate between blanket subs and knowing the writer sent to the Mule knowing it was the Mule and not XYZ+. An inordinate need for lots of ice in my sweet tea, a huge front porch with a haint blue ceiling, and a diet of too many hush puppies serve as my southern bona fides.

Let us discuss what’s up. Life is good here. Other places, not so much. I am most grateful for where I live and for all those who surround me with love and affection.

Meanwhile, we have 257 submissions to read and respond to at this time. That’s quite a bit of work and it’s going to take a minute to get to all your hard work.

We’ve published once a month since 1996. The Mule does abide. So hang in there with us as we try to get to your writing. We? All right. The truth must be revealed. It’s just me. No staff of interns, no English majors helping out, no assistant editors. Just little old me.

I enjoy conversing with you all and every bit of your heart and soul that you send to the Dead Mule gets read, considered, and answered to by me. Not asking for applause or recognition. I’m telling y’all this because your submission’s response time obviously lags these days.

We went to Dauphin Island, Georgia a week ago. Visiting the Gulf area after living near Hatteras for over 35 years was interesting to say the least. The windy days there lent to Hatteras-size waves, an unusual occurrence if you know the area. We stopped in Montgomery to visit the Civil Rights Museum. As we drove through downtown, we noticed a group of people on the capitol steps. The Civil Rights Movement is alive and well in Alabama’s capitol. The juxtaposition of large monuments to commemorating Civil War confederate soldiers who laid down their lives in defense of slavery next to poor people asking for access to health care and housing was especially poignant. The south does confound, doesn’t it?

The Dead Mule will carry on its strange legacy of fiction, poetry, essays and creative non-fiction. I’ll continue to fund and publish this important piece of life until they wrest my keyboard from my cold dead fingers. Speaking of cold dead fingers… how long are we going to keep supporting politicians who believe owning semi-automatic rifles is more important than the lives of our children? Thoughts and prayers? Keep them. Dead kids don’t need them. Nor do their families.

As Joyce Vance reminds us in her Substack column, we’re all in this together.