Home > Journaling the Apocalypse > Call for Submissions: Journaling the Apocalypse

Call for Submissions: Journaling the Apocalypse

September 8, 2008

But we have speech, to chill the angry day,
And speech, to dull the roses’ cruel scent,
We spell away the overhanging night,
We spell away the soldiers and the fright.

—Robert Graves, “The Cool Web”

Autumn is upon us here in Quebec and central Pennsylvania. With it comes the third anniversary of qarrtsiluni, launched in late August 2005 originally as a place for literary and other bloggers to slow down and together try to create something of lasting value. We hesitated to call this bloggish, continuously published collection of themed anthologies a magazine at first, since it didn’t much resemble the established online literary magazines. Three years later, some of the early contributors have moved on, but many more have joined us — poets, writers, photographers, videographers, and artists of every description — to the point where our guest editors struggle to keep up with the influx of astonishingly high-quality submissions every two months. Things have changed a lot since the last time either one of us has been part of an editorial team, so we decided we’d better reacquaint ourselves with the process. What better way to mark the anniversary than for Beth and Dave to step out from behind the curtain and handle all the editing ourselves for the space of an issue?

The theme this time is Journaling the Apocalypse. Submissions are open now through the 6th of October, and we expect to begin posting around the beginning of October, after the present issue has concluded. (We are slowly adjusting to the idea that issues may need two and a half or three months to unfold, instead of just two.)

Our theme choice is a bit of a nod to qarrtsiluni’s roots in the literary/personal blog world, where journaling and journalism often merge. We’re used to thinking of apocalypse in terms of an indefinitely delayed doom, a Ragnarok. But in its original Christian milieu, it may have meant something far more immediate: Yeshua ben Yosef was apparently fond of saying that “the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,” and the New Testament Greek word apokalypsis meant simply the uncovering of a pre-existent truth or state of being. Francis Ford Copolla canonized this notion for a secular age in his reimagining of Heart of Darkness: Apocalypse Now. Especially in the last hundred years, apocalypses of one sort or another — war, genocide, ecocide, nuclear armageddon — have been woven into the fabric of our common nightmares, and now, faced with the evidence of accelerating global climate change, we sense that even our gloomiest prophecies may have been too optimistic.

If humanity — and the earth — survive the next hundred years, people will wonder: how could we have lived like this? How could we have borne the knowledge that we were bringing disaster upon ourselves and still continued to consume? What was it like to live through a slow-motion cataclysm? For this issue, we’re soliciting original writing, video, music, art and photography created in response to this self-destructive prophetic fire at the heart of our civilization — or any civilization (and there are many) with end-of-time myths. We’re not looking for grand syntheses, but concrete and intimate portraits of the earth’s inhabitants and landscapes as they approach ground zero. We hasten to add that light-hearted submissions are welcome too: sometimes humor is the quickest way to unveil unpleasant truths, and it can be a good survival mechanism, too.

Please limit submissions of poetry to five poems, and keep prose below 3000 words per essay or story. We encourage artists and photographers to send submissions of a half-dozen or more still images, since those don’t take nearly as long for us to evaluate.

Presuming the CERN supercollider doesn’t create a black hole that swallows the earth when it starts up the day after tomorrow, we’re planning to branch out into some exciting new ventures over the next year. We hope you’ll stick around.

—Dave Bonta and Beth Adams

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  1. vicki
    September 8, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    but i can’t help myself from correcting you:
    autumn has not begun
    not according to the moon, the sun.
    School year, yes
    but the harvest will continue for some time yet
    and while temps are cooler and kids are back in school
    it is not officially autumn until some time on Sept 22
    (the farmer’s almanac is not handy)

  2. September 8, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Cool theme, I like it. Should make for great reading.

  3. September 8, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Sorry, Vicki – I beg to differ. Acccording to the weather experts at Penn State’s School of Meteorology, here where I live in Western Pennsylvania the beginnings of the seasons fall right around the first of the month in which a solstice or equinox occurs. This is based on average temperatures, length of daylight, and other measures, and it jibes with my own observations based on 35 years of residence in the area. Please remember that seasons are cultural constructs greatly influenced by local and regional geographical realities, and vary in timing, in name, and in number as one travels the planet. I grant you that this notion that they have “official” beginnings on the sosltices and equinoxes is widespread among inhabitants of the northern temperate zone, but I still think it’s wrong.

  4. vicki
    September 9, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    OK Dave…”to each his own,” as they say.
    i live in an environment and altitude very similar to yours and my observations over the last 30+ years dictate that my personal change from summer to autumn begins much later than September 1st…if I am to base it on my own psyche and my own biological response…all having to do with everything you mention: daylight hours, temperature changes, and the placement of the stars and moon and sun in the sky.

    And 35-45 years ago, when i lived high up in the Rocky Mountains, i had the same experience: autumn came late in the month…when it was very, very unlikely that the thermometer would get anywhere near 90 or above and the morning glories got all confused and began flowering at all weird times of day.

    As you say: it is my own personal cultural construct.

  5. william
    September 30, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    Hey guys
    And in NZ it’s a different story again, weather-wise. Travelled through Japan a few years ago. There was an official opening day for the beach season, and no one dared go for a swim before that date, no matter how hot it got. Didn’t stop this Kiwi ;-) Oh, and I have 50 years experience . . .

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