Friday, June 22, 2018

What We Want in Submissions

Off with the blogger's hat and on with the editor's!  Today, we're giving you details about the kinds of things we love (and hate) in submissions.

Maybe send us something after you read this (and our guidelines).

What we love:
  1. Lists!  Do you have a list of favorite disabled protagonists?  Do you use apps that help you as a visually-impaired poet?
  2. Book reviews. (Books must be written by a disabled/neurodivergent person or have disabled/neurodivergent characters.)
  3. Interviews with disabled/neurodivergent writers and editors.  Interview subjects don't receive payment, but interviewers do.
  4. Tips for different aspects of writing/submitting/publishing/marketing as a disabled/neurodivergent person.  Do you have strategies for people with anxiety at a conference?  Is there a marketing plan for spoonies?
  5. Destruction of tropes and clichès.
  6. Alternative paths for success,
  7. News and happenings in disabled/neurodivergent literary culture.  Is there a new literary magazine for cripples? A book fair exclusively for autistic people?  
  8. Posts by multiply-marginalized writers.
  9. Anything that falls under the intersection of disability/neurodivergence and books, writing, promotion, etc.
Things we won't accept:  
  1. Bigotry.  Yes, that includes fatphobia.  
  2. Book reviews of your own books/friends' books.
  3. Posts about disability that have nothing to do with literature/writing.  (There are markets out there for those essays, but we aren't one of them.)
  4. Using your own website as a resource in your post without us clearing it.  (Having it in your biography is fine.)
  5. Posts by nondisabled and neurotypical people.
  6. References to heavy trauma without appropriate trigger warnings.
  7. Excessive ableist language (that the author has no claim to).

Friday, June 15, 2018

Updated Tabs (6/15/18)

Links of Interest (Added): 

Quiet Storm
These Pill Don't Come in My Skin Tone

Inclusive Mainstream Publications (Added):

The Journal

If anyone has more markets, please let me know!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Why "Mainstream" is Beneficial

If you were to start a press or a literary magazine, who would be the focus? Would your project cater to disabled/neurodivergent writers only? Would it be just autistic writers? Or, like me, would you consider a publication open to all writers?

While I firmly believe in the necessity of minority groups having spaces specifically for them, and the worth of such spaces, I think we often forget the impact of a "general interest" project started by marginalized people.

The benefits of a "Mainstream" endeavor:
  1. It signals to disabled/neurodivergent writers they're more likely to be read by accepting editors.
  2. It puts disabled/neurodivergent editors at the top immediately. No working for years, hoping ableism doesn't rob someone of their promotion.
  3. There is room for everyone. Exclusive spaces are important, but we also need to be inclusive... encompassing.
  4. The press might have a flavor or slant not often experienced by "normies" who are more likely to read it.
  5. Writers and editors are less likely to be pigeonholed or tied to certain expectations beyond quality.
  6. A wider pool of submissions for editors/publishers to choose from.
  7. People will spread the word (more often) on social media. A press with an open reading period for all writers gets more attention (and free promotion).
  8. An editor can change a literary magazine's mission or feel easier when there are less restrictions/expectations on it. Rebranding is difficult, but it's harder when a publication has a narrow focus.
  9. Built-in diversity. The literary community is inaccessible (and segregated) to so many minorities in so many ways. An inclusive, diverse project has integration at the beginning.
There are more perks, I'm sure, but these are the ones I think about.  
Are there drawbacks? Yes, but I feel the positives overwhelm them. What do you think?

Friday, June 1, 2018

5 Favorite Poems (Wordgathering Vol. 12, Iss. 1)

Wordgathering has another superb issue in their March 2018 release.  While there is a lot to enjoy, I thought I'd list (what I feel are) the best five poems.  Check out all the poems by clicking here.

In random order:

"The Master Mistake" - Yuan Changming
This piece guides the reader through quick, almost cyclical examples of errors to a conclusion that feels natural.  The three stanzas are word-rich but not bogged down.  The poet's decision to indent the final line was a nice touch.

In an older sense, Eva meant to eat an onion instead of 
The apple. Adam was created out of the wrong material
And each unique being is but an exception to the rule

"Big Spirit in Skin" - Mary McGinnis
The first stanza of this poem is a declaration that appears simple at first, but it spirals out as you read.  The line length in the stanza even echoes the statement of the opening, thinning out in the middle.  I took this piece to be about balance and wholeness, though the end stanza left me feeling a little forlorn.

where the membrane between window and rain
opens like a tidy zero: 
its geometry without

"The Skies in Love With You" - Neil Marcus
This surreal poem opens with a question.  The other lines (each line its own stanza) either expound the question or answer it with powerful, somewhat contradictory, imagery.  It feels like a love poem with bits of playfulness.

a tornado in my bowl of broth

with gravity that makes me fly

"Huntress" - René Harrison
A piece of yearning and metamorphosis, this poem has a hint of darkness and caution.  The end echoes the beginning, but the narrator clearly indicates you aren't where you began.  How does wanting change us?

Alone without desire, she turns her ear to hear you,
and whispers you into a stag…

"Our Bodies Cannot Contain Us" - Jeannine Hall Gailey
The hopeful fragility of our bodies is given life in this final selection.  It seems like a spiritual poem, but no afterlife is mentioned beyond what science tells us.  The piece manages to relay beauty amid the tenuousness of life sans sentimentality.

your blood your bone your hair
slip away unfinished, burn away
but leave no mark on the earth

Friday, May 25, 2018

Vague Mentions of an Author's Disability

No one should be forced to discuss their disability or divergence. If that's all we're asked about, it strips us of our individuality. We become caricatures. There more important things to talk about, like our work.

if an author is already "down from the attic", but it's rarely acknowledged, does it matter? A brief mention fans have to luck upon won't help them much. People in the publishing industry are unlikely to see a vague reference (and visibility is important to challenge assumptions).

Do authors owe readers the knowledge of their disability or neurodivergence? No.

If authors are already open, should they be moreso? It depends. Would it impact sales? Would it mean less invitations to events? Fewer interviews? Is the author afraid of becoming "just another crip writer"?

I like knowing other writers are part of my disabled/neurodivergent squad. It makes me feel like I can succeed in what I do. It makes me feel less alone. But, no one owes it to me. It is, however, an incredible gift. I'm not the only one who feels that way.

I still get a frustrated stirring when I read an interview with a writer who I know is disabled and neither the interview or the biography acknowledge it. Even though I realize it's not my business. Even though I understand not wanting to talk about mobility aids and how disability is a metaphor for everything. I still desire to see it, the hint that a rockin' author is "different" and is fine with it. That the interviewer and editor are fine with it. That, for one damn minute, ableism isn't a thing... and one of us is gaining traction with nothing to hide.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Mentors May Choose Two Applicants

This is part of an email I wrote to my mentors yesterday. It should clarify the position of a writer mentoring more than one person. Note: Mentors don't have to take on more than one mentee.
I always thought all of my mentors would just pick one mentee. But, if some of you truly want a second mentee, you should be able to.

A few points if you'd like more than one mentee:

1.  Only pick two people at most. One will be your "definite" and one
will be your "maybe".

2.  If, after all mentors select their "definite" applicants your
"maybe" is without a mentor, you can approach your "maybe" and offer
to mentor them.

3.  Make sure you have the stamina to take on two people for the
duration! I want everyone comfortable and working at their best.

4.  Please let your "definite" applicant know you want to take on a
second applicant before you do so. Your "definite" can't tell you what
to do. It's a courtesy.

If you happen to be excited about a potential mentee's application and
are certain you want them as your "definite", you don't have to wait
until the end of the submission window. I'll just let the other mentor
know the applicant has found a partner.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Potential Submitter (a "Hypothetical" Conversation)

Chris:  Hi, I'd like to submit a blog post! I have diabetes and ADHD.

Me:  Okay!

Chris:  I don't consider myself disabled or neurodivergent.

Me:  Then, what do you refer to yourself as?

Chris:  Normal! Able-bodied and neurotypical.

Me:  Okay... then, why submit to a blog for disabled/neurodivergent writers?

Chris:  Because I have ADHD and am diabetic.

Me:  But, you don't identify with the audience of the blog.

Chris:  I qualify, though!

Me:  Technically... you've been diagnosed. (Not knocking self-diagnosis.)

Chris:  So? How about it?

Me:  I'm sorry. I can't give you a label you don't want. Publication on the blog means you're either disabled or neurodivergent. I'd be forcing you into something.

Chris:  But, you see me as disabled and neurodivergent!

Me:  It's not up to me. If you feel like you aren't disabled or neurodivergent, this probably isn't the place for you.

Chris:  You're policing my identity! You're forcing me to say I'm something I'm not in order to get published. You're bigoted and exclusionist!

Me:  There are plenty of other places to publish your work, though. You don't need this place. Would you submit to a space for asexuals and demand entrance if you weren't ace?

Chris:  That's different. I'm not asexual. I have conditions that allow me to submit here!

Me:  ...

If you don't consider yourself disabled or neurodivergent, if you see yourself as "normal", please don't submit here. This is a space for writers who legitimately consider themselves disabled and/or neurodivergent (or some variant words I wouldn't use for myself but boil down to the same thing).

This is our space... our place to be. We hope our allies will read and support us within it. And that our contributors are always proud to call this home.