We’re pleased to announce that our fall issue (#7) will not only be our first themed issue but also our first issue to be hijacked by a guest editor. Our guest editor is Benjamin Reed (benjamin-reed.com), and he has chosen The Post-Traumatic as the issue’s theme. You might remember Benjamin from #2, in which his story, “King of the Apes,” appeared (which you can check it out here). Reed’s fiction has appeared in [PANK], West Branch, Avery Anthology, and others. He also recently won the the 21st Annual Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest for his story, “Better This Way” (which you can check out here). He holds an MFA from Texas State University and lives in Austin, TX with his wife and son. He also knows where to get a pretty good breakfast taco if you’re ever in ATX. All of the editors here are pretty big fans of Reed, and we’re excited to have him taking over our next issue.
We’ve opened up themed submissions here. As always, we’re open to submissions of all types and themes, but for this issue we’re particularly interested in works on aftermath, recovery, the meaning or absence of resolution, what fills the quiet vacuum left in the wake of The Event. Stories, nonfiction, poems, and other forms harder to categorize should be clear and plot-progressive—they should be about what happens after the violence, sudden up-ending, or disintegration of the whole—and not simply a meditation on the event itself.
Poetry. Fiction. CNF. Art. Surprise us.
Here are a few words from Reed on the post-traumatic:
“I’ve become increasingly preoccupied with the confluence of two ideas: first, that memory is a fiction, and second, that while narrativizing experience can be artful, it is also a necessary form of psychological maintenance. No one who has spent serious time trying to write fiction, poetry, or memoir can be too surprised at the benefits experienced by combat veterans and victims of abuse who take part in writing workshops specialized to address PTSD. These are places where real cognitive work is being done, work not dissimilar from talk therapy with a psychotherapist. Insisting that “memory is a fiction” does not discount the situations these people have faced, nor does it undermine the truths they have to offer. Rather, the confluence of these two big ideas remind us that the healthy compartmentalization of the psyche through the ordering of our personal experience parallels how we organize the structures of our stories, especially when shadows of ourselves appear in our texts as subject, object, or narrator. In both contexts, narrative recompartmentalization is not the issuance of a new self, but the wholesale renewal of self, the generation of a newborn identity, one that is paradoxically both as real and yet more real than its precursor, one that will, like it predecessor, also decay in the absence of self-analysis. This is why the space between trauma and recovery is so interesting to me. These times in our lives are often tortured, ugly and painful, but they are also—if we are not too unfortunate—fertile beds for the germination of our remaking. The story about ‘what happens after’ is really the story of what new and surprising things are yet to come.”
We’re excited about #7 and can’t wait to read your work.