The Rejection Quilt

Being quiet around here means I’ve been dealing with a lot of rejection and getting angrier than I should:

rejection1

rejection2

There is really no reason for this seething because: 1) This is nothing new to me, 2) I know it isn’t personal, 3) there are tons of submissions, and of course, 4) publication is largely a luck of the draw, depending on who is reading, what that person likes, the mood they’re in, the point they are in their life, and all these other variables that are well beyond my control. See? I’m being levelheaded. And yet.

Melissa and I were talking recently about how we should make quilts out of our rejections. To keep us warm at night. I sometimes think about making an Excel spreadsheet of all my rejections and acceptances, but realize that may only exacerbate my problem. This is the literary rabbit hole: We’re all mad here, Alice.

Here are some good things that actually haven’t made me feel crazy:

I’ve missed reading submissions. I like to see what people are trying to write, what kind of vibes are out there in the literary zeitgeist. You can distinguish patterns after a while. I’ve thought again and again about starting my own literary journal, but I always decide against it. It’s a huge commitment and I think I’d just rather spend more time working on my own writing instead.

I’ve been using Ello as more of an unfiltered brain collage. Like Twitter but with less people scrolling through. I told Facebook how I was enjoying it because no one is there. This was something I posted:

I don’t know how I feel about social media anymore. I used to love it (genuinely and unironically) back in the days of MySpace and Livejournal, but I have a much more bittersweet relationship to it all now. I think this is mostly because: 1. There is so much content and noise to filter through that it hardly seems worth the time, and 2. there’s not very much dialogue, despite there being plenty of words. I used to have a much better sense of community too, which is something I thought was not very important to me. How things change.

I guess I don’t really know where to put the words anymore. What goes where? Does it matter? Won’t it achieve the same result if I just scribble to myself in a notebook? I’ve never been the writer who thinks about audience or even thinks about having an audience at all. I just do it to do it. Social media isn’t about promotion for me, it’s about productive discussion and connecting to people who might make good friends someday. Not even readers, necessarily.

It’s October already. The year is disappearing. I made a new mix tape on 8tracks that’s all about witches and witchcraft:

The Smell of Cinders and Rain

I don’t know much about road trips. What little I do know about them comes from memories of anticipation in the backseat on our way to the Magic Kingdom and the dreams of my own city of multicolored monorails. Who ever cared about the rides? Or Mickey Mouse? Only the monorails ever mattered.

This Fourth of July was the first time I ever took to the road by myself. I drove until I was nearly in Georgia. A new friend let me stay at his place. Friends are now only ever found online, or else, in books. The cicadas were very loud, a full-on orchestra of insect legs. There were Southern accents and Sonic’s to drive up to. I’d assumed that Sonic was just a drive-thru you saw in commercials, a television myth. At night, there were explosions from fireworks and burning barrels the neighbors were using to get rid of old things. Watching movies inside, we inhaled all the smoke from the fires. Heading home, the rain soon returned with a familiar earthy musk. A breath out. I wonder about wanderlust and why that was never a rhythm I could rest my temple on.

I’ve been overwhelmed by the extremely positive response to my list of journals. It somehow caught fire via social media and ended up with a mention in the Review Review newsletter. I received emails from editors asking to be included (which I was more than happy to oblige) and teachers thanking me for taking the time to put it together, that it would be useful for their classes. I hope it will continue to prove useful for some weary internet travelers.

tartaruspersona3

About a week ago, Cartridge Lit published a poem of mine. They’re a newer journal interested in publishing videogame literature and interviewing writers who play games. My poem was partially inspired by my experience playing through the videogame Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3. I am very interested in the intersections between these forms of media, especially in how they shape and influence identity. Recently, I read this post by Merritt Kopas about hypertext and the exploration of sexuality, gender, and body issues. Why shouldn’t videogames tackle these subjects? I’m happy to see how the medium is rapidly expanding to include these spaces and provide a new means of personal expression. We can’t have enough of those.

List of Literary Journals for LGBTQ Writers, Women, and Writers of Color

In a previous post, I mentioned my desire to compile a list of journals and presses that exclusively focus on publishing underrepresented voices, such as women, LGBTQ writers, and writers of color. I’ve finally managed to pull something together that hopefully may prove to be a good starting point and resource for those writers who may wish to find a good home for their writing. Or maybe readers who wish to read more widely or diversely. Or editors who strive to be more inclusive. Quite a few of these are intersectional magazines too (women of color, Latino/a queer writers, etc.).

If you know of any that are not mentioned here, don’t be afraid to send me a message! I’ll try to update it whenever I make a new discovery.

(Note: I tried to focus only on those journals and presses that seem to be still open to submissions and aren’t yet defunct. Last updated: 11/4/2017)

LGBTQ:

Arktoi Books
Assaracus
Chelsea Station
Foglifter
The Gay & Lesbian Review
Gertrude Press
Headmistress Press
Impossible Archetype
Jonathan
Lambda Literary
Lavender Review
Lethe Press
Nepantla
Plenitude Magazine
Raspa Magazine
Seal Press
Sibling Rivalry Press
Sinister Wisdom
Topside Press
Vetch

Women:

Bone Bouquet
Broad! Magazine
CALYX Journal
Cordella Magazine
Damselfly Press
dancing girl press
The Dorothy Project
Halo Lit Magazine
Hyacinth Girl Press
Lumen Magazine
Luna Luna Magazine
Minerva Rising
Minola Review
NELLE
Nightwood Journal
Quaint Magazine
ROAR Magazine
Room Magazine
The Riveter
So to Speak
Two Serious Ladies
Vela
WomenArts Quarterly

Writers of color:

Acentos Review
Asian American Literary Review
CHA: An Asian Literary Journal
Huizache
Kartika Review
Manoa Journal
Mascara Literary Review
The Missing Slate
Mosaic Magazine
Palabra Literary Magazine
Redbone Press

Etc. (diversity, underrepresented voices):

Arkana
Arsenal Pulp Press
Apogee Journal

Calamus Journal
Duende Literary
Ghost Ocean Magazine
MIEL Books
Muzzle Magazine
Nat. Brut
The New Engagement
The Offing
Polychrome Ink
Solstice Literary Magazine
Tarpaulin Sky
Waxwing Journal
Yes, Poetry

Your Surreal Adolescence

Do you have any rain rituals? I think about the patterns of forgetting the garden and remembering the sound of wind chimes coming from our neighbors’ patio. I think about all the times I played a farming simulation video game with my sister, since rain is always so important for the crops and knowing when to put the animals inside. I think about the times I had problems with sleep as a child because of my brain buzzing too loud when it was time to be quiet. I listened to those cassettes of rain falling in all types of geographies. Now, I can sleep through hurricanes. I’m a boulder in a pool. I fall deep and quickly, dreamless. Plunk.

My story, Angels vs. Salamanders, was published in the debut issue of Wyvern Lit. The editor, Mr. Brent Rydin, is a treasure. He sent me very helpful edits and somehow managed to publish the finished issue on the day of his wedding. You simply can’t be more dedicated to the literary arts than that. The story itself is another surreal tale of adolescence in the vein of The Electric Level. There’s slang, identity confusion. There’s a club with cliques. You have to pick a side. But of course, you find yourself where it all splits down the middle.

I’ve been working on poems and getting rejections. I’ve gotten bolder. Some have been from fairly big journals. Some were more personalized, which always hurts more than you anticipate. Maybe hurts more than form rejections sometimes. I feel confident enough that they’ll find a good home, however. I’m revising and reading more journals to maybe have acceptance rub off on me.

There’s a piece that started off as a half-story of less than 300 words and transformed into a slice of a character sketch. Or a vignette. I’m not sure. Metazen published it and you can read it online. I feel like I’m in very good company here too because they’ve published a few of my friends, who are all fantastic writers themselves. You should read them too. I also feel like I want to do more with this character? Regardless, I know I’m destined to someday write a story of siblings because there just aren’t enough of them.

I want to help with diversity in the publishing landscape. We’ve gotten to the point, I think, where this is a huge topic that is finally being addressed in the media as it should be. Not just in publishing, but in the film and video games industry as well. In order to do my part, in any little way I can, I’m trying to compile a list of literary journals and presses that exclusively publish women, LGBTQ writers, and writers of color. If you have any suggestions, please don’t hesitate to shoot me a message, especially if you’re an editor of any of these journals or presses yourself. I’ll publish the list here on my blog once I’ve collected a decent amount. My goal is to keep updating it as I discover more and to provide writers seeking out these places to have a good starting point.

Let’s Play

It has been far too long. I promise that will be the last time I write that on here. Fortunately, I do have things to say.

Mostly, I’ve been writing for myself. When are you not, you might ask. Well, let’s be more specific: I have been writing in my notebook and none of it has been fiction or poetry. It has been purely for cathartic purposes. Not a shooting up, but a shooting out. If I don’t get a euphoric sparkle or some kind of cleansing, I don’t bother with my scribbling. I throw my pen like a dart at the window.

Book food has been taking up most of my time. Look here for a sample. There is music and movies too. My body wants to consume rather than create. The hunger will pass, and I’ll be back to throwing things up instead. Eat desperately, regurgitate. Repeat.

I got my contributor’s copy of the newest issue of Pear Noir!:

Pear Noir!, Issue 9

Pear Noir!, Issue 9 Contributors

I had a poem in it that I’m still fond of. I always wonder how long that feeling will last. It’s also a poem that my family appreciated. This is a momentous occasion. I’m no longer a teenager, but I always feel like an enigma to them. My mom reminded me of how I’ve taken to using more personal writing as fiction. It’s not real, but she knows where it comes from.

I also received these postcards from some of the writers:

Pear Noir!, Issue 9 Postcards

Over at ReadLearnWrite, I wrote about newer ways we are telling stories. It got me thinking again about how publishing is changing, how our storytelling media are changing, how we are all responding. It can be both exciting and confusing; perhaps the best time to get messy and experiment. Want to make a video game? Go for it! The tools are right there. Want to create a fictional diary through Youtube videos? What’s keeping you?

More experimentation: In just a week, I’ll be flying out of Florida to see my significant other. I’ll be vanishing off the map even more cleanly than usual. Perhaps you don’t know this already, perhaps you do, but I am somewhat of a recluse. I feel like a baby who doesn’t know anything outside the nest. This is new and exciting, but I’m not nervous. I don’t plan on turning my relationship into a character for you to read. This is not my notebook, and I don’t want it to be. My wings are still wet and lack the muscle.