After 15 Years, the Virtual Becomes Physical

It must count as an unusual experience in the annals of literature: putting out a publication for fifteen years that has never taken a physical form. In fact, before the advent of the internet it would have been impossible. And yet, that is exactly what we at The Cafe Irreal have done. Or, we should say, had done until a UPS shipment arrived Friday evening and, for the first time, we could actually hold The Cafe Irreal (in anthology form as The Irreal Reader) in our hands. Of course, as its editors our first concern was that everything had turned out okay: that the cover came out okay (it looks great), that something didn’t go wrong at the printers (the text portion is all in order, and also looks great), etc. But then, as we state in the title of this blog post, the virtual became the physical and we could actually hold it in our hands, leaf through its pages, show it to friends and family. Now we don’t claim this experience to be unique to us, as anybody involved in publishing an internet journal shares it. But among the established internet journals it seems that we have waited longer than most to come out with an anthology (and without gentle prodding from the good folks at Guide Dog Books, it would have been even longer). We can then, perhaps, appreciate even more the power of having our publication in physical form at long last, even though we would be the last to diminish its value in virtual form.