Claps and Cheers: Latinxs in Media Res

by Ramona Pilar

Claps and Cheers is a column dedicated to honoring pioneers and visionary storytellers who have forged their own path in their creative careers. This month we focus on honoring one’s own reality as seen through the work of Soraya Membreno, Vickie Vértiz, and Vanessa Angélica Villarreal.

I gotta be honest. At the risk of sounding snarky, I don’t like a lot of stuff right now. I mentioned this to a friend of mine the other day and he said, “But… you don’t like most things.” And yeah, it’s true. There isn’t a lot of stuff out there that I can say that I like, much less love and feel passionate about. The older I’ve gotten, the less connected I feel to the culture in which I live because I still don’t see myself reflected in it.

I used to be inspired by the concept of “paint[ing] my own reality,” this idea that if I don’t see myself reflected in the art and culture around me, it’s my job to produce it, to fill that niche. Keeping inspired, keeping focused, keeping in touch with what I now see as an idealistic philosophy has proven to be challenging, to say the least.  There’s the reality I want to create, and the one in which I have to live and work and try to earn money and sustain myself. More often than not, I find they are at odds with each other which makes it difficult to have faith in my ability to communicate a reality that I know exists, even if I don’t see it in the world around me.

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Annoucement: WWS Selected for CCI Grant

Women Who Submit is excited to announce that our WWS Los Angeles headquarters was selected out of 106 applicants to receive one of 14 Investing in Tomorrow Organizational Grants from Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI), a nonprofit organization awarding grants to individuals, organizations, and projects throughout California for the arts.

From the CCI press release:

The 2017 Investing in Tomorrow Organizational Grants program granted $105,000 to fourteen projects taking place throughout California. Each grant of $7,500 supports catalytic individual and institutional leadership at this time of tremendous social, economic, generational, demographic, and technological change. Continue reading

A WWS PUBLICATION ROUND UP FOR SEPTEMBER

Another month, another impressive line-up of WWS publications. Congratulations to all!

From Noriko Nakada‘s “Camp Stories” at Kartika Review:

Glass marbles in
pants pockets and
a forever
train ride rumbling
toward a mountain

Also from Noriko, “Howl” at Kartika Review:

The wind tonight
presses us all
away from the
ocean

From Hazel Kight Witham‘s “Done” at lady/liberty/lit:

Becoming an artist of faces—
of eyes
sultry, smoky, kohl-lined,
all the different looks I’d try
seductress, sunkissed, smoldering
painting myself
from a palette of shimmering promises
Continue reading

Behind the Editor’s Desk: Rachael Warecki

The Nervous Breakdown just got a new fiction editor: writer, photographer and Women Who Submit organizer Rachael Warecki! If you are looking for a place to submit your fiction, consider The Nervous Breakdown, a fun and irreverent blog of essays, stories, poetry, podcasts, and interviews.

While Rachael was spending two weeks at a writing residency at the Wellstone Center in the Redwoods, she took a few minutes to step away from the beautiful view of Santa Cruz to answer some of my questions.

As the new fiction editor at The Nervous Breakdown, tell us what you’re looking for in pieces. How do you hope to make TNB’s fiction section stand out?

For our original fiction section, I’m looking for short literary fiction from authors of many different backgrounds, featuring characters who have traditionally been underrepresented in literature. I’m new to TNB and our fiction section has only been open to original fiction for a short time, but I previously served as a fiction editor at another literary magazine, and I can say that in my year and a half at that journal, we never had a shortage of submissions from men. And I’m starting to see that a little bit here at TNB: men don’t need to be encouraged to submit their work, because they’re already doing so. Continue reading

A Letter to your Future Agent

Dear Him/Her/Them/You:

Before we knew each other, I shaped you into a complex character because that’s how we writers deal with agent querying. Even memoirists create a kind of life to live in when faced with the business side of writing. Dream sequences. Reliable narrators. End on an up note.

I imagined your office was in a pre-war, West Village brownstone off Hudson, even though most of the publishing world speed walks in the 20s crosstown between 5th and 6th Avenue. Manuscript pages whirled in the air as you released each loose leaf from your hands after reading them. Authors stopped by after midnight for advice and fell asleep on your Perla tufted sofa, intoxicated from the scent of cherry red markups and pink eraser dust. You dragged a landline phone cord over stacks of books that measured up to your waist while talking me out from underneath five thousand line notes crowding my brain. You waved your pen like a conductor and my book was submission ready. I was enchanted by the notion of you as a romantic bibliophile, a protective lion or lioness, a guardian angel. Continue reading

It’s Blitzing Time!

by Ramona Pilar

With August gone and September already begun, we’ve reached the time of year for Women Who Submit’s annual SUBMISSION BLITZ (*pewpew*)! For the fourth year in a row, women across the country – nay, all over the world – are encouraged to flood top-tier journals with their fiction and nonfiction prose and poems.

The annual Submission Blitz is one of a plethora of actions Women Who Submit takes to work towards equity in the publishing world. These in-person gatherings give us a chance to celebrate each other and our commitment to our work, and ourselves because writing is hard. And discipline is hard. Staying the course against outer and inner obstacles is hard. So what better way to honor making it another whole trip around the sun as a writer, than to get together around food and drink, and WOO-HOO each other as we send out best work out to the mero-meros, the crème de la crème, the top-tier journals and shake up their slush pile! Continue reading

A WWS PUBLICATION ROUND UP FOR AUGUST

August was one of the busiest months on record for WWS publications. Settle in, the list is long. Congratulations to all the WWS members who had work published in August:

From Antonia Crane‘s “Stripped Bare: How I Told My Mom I Was a Stripper” at Lenny Letter:

My mom knew I’d quit doing the drugs that made me paranoid and skinny because I’d started returning her phone calls again. She also knew about my bisexuality because I’d brought my girlfriend, Austin, home one Christmas. The two of them sat close, sipped whiskey-Cokes, and giggled while Mom’s cheeks turned rosy. “I always thought being bisexual would be the best of both worlds,” she said. She knew I struggled financially and that I was in AA, too, but she didn’t know I’d slinked away from our small town to be a sex worker. Would she be ashamed of me if I told her? Would she stop loving me? Continue reading