Home > Water > Call for Submissions: Water

Call for Submissions: Water

May 1, 2008

Happy May Day! We’re excited to announce a new bimonthly theme of both timeless and topical interest: Water. Here’s how the guest editors describe it:

Water is the moving skin of our planet, the most part by far of our bodies; we drink it, we bathe in it, we waste it and taint it, we may yet again wage wars for it. In all its forms — saved in vessels, falling as rain, fountains from rock, wells and springs, woodland pools, rivers, streams and oceans — we invite you to explore water’s depths, and to lose yourselves in the looking-glass world of its reflecting surfaces, to acquaint yourselves with the natural creatures and supernatural beings that are born from and live in it: mysterious ladies, merpeople, nixes and naiads, undines and kelpies…

Ponder the preciousness of water, the rituals and sacred places that attach to it, its properties and prohibitions (can witches cross water?), its power to calm and to cleanse, to refresh and to destroy. The first separation from it is central to many creation myths; we cross over it, under it or, when parted, through it to reach the next life, new lands, new worlds.

Stirred up, left to settle, filtered, channelled — we await some deep, sparkling, refreshing responses.

Though the Nature in the Cracks issue will continue through May 7, submissions to the new issue are now open. The deadline is May 31. The editors suggest a 1000-word limit for essays or stories and a two-poem limit for submissions of poetry this time. As always, we welcome submissions of prose, poetry, images, video and audio; see the How to Contribute page for more details on how and where to send them.

Photo by Arturo Lomas Garza

The editors are both regular contributors to qarrtsiluni, and each has had some work rejected (as have almost all our regulars), so they’re well acquainted with our editorial style. They are also each proficient photographers as well as writers, and combine a wide-ranging knowledge of the arts with a strong interest in the natural world.

Lucy Kempton is British, living in Brittany with husband and dog, and sometimes teaching English. She blogs at box elder — subtitled “meanderings of a displaced dilettante” — and the microblog Out with Mol. She also supplied the photographs for an online project called Compasses, in a call-and-response pattern with the travel sonnets of British blogger Joe Hyam.

Katherine Durham Oldmixon is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Writing Program at Huston-Tillotson, an historically Black university on Austin’s East Side. A poet active in the community, she also serves on the board of Texas Folklife, is the current president of Austin Poetry Society and is a Research Associate of the Humanities Institute of the University of Texas at Austin. She and Arturo Lomas Garza blog about their artistic projects, many of which are collaborations, at Katudi Artists Collaboration.

As always, we look forward to hearing from past contributors and newcomers alike. We’re still a little surprised, and greatly honored, that so many gifted artists and writers have chosen to share their work with us. We’re especially grateful to everyone who has made qarrtsiluni a regular part of their daily or weekly reading. Thanks, and have a great spring!

—Dave Bonta and Beth Adams

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  1. Christina Pacosz
    May 8, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Glad to have a poem accepted. Haven’t heard about my short story, but that’s OK. I have other short stories I would submit but they are more than 1000 words – 1300, 1500. The one I did submit, “The Battery”, was the only short story I have with a water theme that was just under the limit you’ve set. Maybe more fiction would be sent if you would consider expanding the limit? Maybe there are space restrictions I am not aware of, but I thought to suggest this to you.

  2. Darcy
    May 8, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    In response to Christina- I would assume that part of the challenge of the theme for the site is that you are creating work inspired by the theme. When you submit to online magazines you might find that more often than not they are looking for work that has been created with their preferences in mind, rather that previously written material that happens to fit into their guidelines. While this might not be true in all cases, (for instance if you have read most of the work they’ve published and have a good understanding of what they are looking for, and just so happen to have a piece that fits, than you might want to try it,) it often shows that you’ve put the effort into reading what they’ve put together, and taken that into consideration. 1000 words or less typically falls into the ‘flash’ fiction category. It’s a lot of fun to write, you might want to give it a try :-)

  3. May 8, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    Christina and Darcy, thanks for starting this discussion. You both bring up good points for Dave and me to think about, and the guest editors as well. You’re right that we ideally want people to think about the theme and create new work for it — but one reason we get so many poetry submissions, as opposed to prose, may be that a) people have already written poems that they hope will fit the theme and b) writing new short prose is a challenge for people who aren’t used to writing that way– for blogs for example. However, that’s exactly what we’re trying to encourage. For people like Dave and me, who’ve been blogging creative writing for five years now, a theme or a question is like a big gift – you get pretty tired coming up with stuff yourself!

    The short blog form lends itself to creative short prose, but to polish it into very good work is the exception. Qarrtsiluni has always aimed at publishing and celebrating excellent writing from experienced online and traditional writers alike, and to show that online writing and publishing is every bit as good as writing in traditional journals. Rather than submitting already-completed work the traditional way – to a number of journals who might take it – we hope authors will write specifically for the themes here, being inspired by both by the theme and by the work of other contributors.

  4. May 11, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Beth and Darcy have touched on and touched off my thoughts on this question, which I also thank Christina for raising. One of the things I like most about qarrtsiluni–and there are many–is the unique emphasis on generation. We are waiting in [our own individual and collective] dark for something to happen. Gathering beautiful work that the theme we chose nets is certainly part of that, but inspiring creation, composition of good work is also important. In that aspect, constraints (though ours aren’t terribly constraining) are like nets–we will miss some beautiful catches, but we will get what fits, and the limitations might nudge some new work to fit the vessel (to stretch the metaphor.) So, for now, let’s see if those limits will be like mandalas. We do hope for a variety of genres and media, as a broad–one might say, a fluid–theme could allow.

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