Broad! Winter 2012 Issue

What’s black and white and read all over? That’s right, the Winter 2012 issue of Broad! It’s hot off the press, and free for download on the website: http://broadzine.com/issues/

BroadWinter2012

In this issue we’re featuring such talented ladies as Joan Colby, Michelle Ornat, Shevaun Brannigan, Ellen Estilai, Shoshana Kertesz, and many others! Read it, get inspired, and then submit your own work by March 1!

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I asked the universe (Google) for images of women’s magazines and the universe offered me this:

[Source]

I asked for images of women’s magazines because I wanted some photographic evidence or cartoon that would be like THIS IS A BLOG POST ABOUT HOW I AM NOW EDITING A MAGAZINE FOR WOMEN WRITERS, and because I outsourced my imagination to Google years ago. This is not the magazine I work for. It is a parody of the kind of magazine I could never work for, and since my grandmother reads my blog, a risky choice. But: “Lose 30 pounds fast! Chop off your leg!”? C’mon; that’s funny. Feminist fun activity: Paste this cover onto a stack of other magazines and secretly place them in the cashier’s aisle of the grocery store. See how long it takes anyone to notice.

I should have known that this was the kind of women’s magazine that Google would present me with. At any rate I was happy to find this sassy little critique of a photo wedged in between real covers of Cosmo and Women’s Health. But the point of this post was supposed to be that I am now on the editorial board of another kind of women’s magazine: the smart kind that celebrates women by supporting their endeavors. The kind that I wish showed up in Google searches for women’s magazines. The kind that might consider publishing found poetry from the words in this fake magazine. Our little literary zine is called Broad!, as in “having an ample distance from side to side; covering a large number or wide scope of subjects or areas; very noticeable and strong; a woman”! We publish gentleladies, otherwise known as female-bodied and female-identified people. We do this because the writing of women is not published nearly as much as the writing of men. If you didn’t know this you can start reading about it here.

This is the very classy cover of our latest issue:

Don’t worry. All of the sex and weight loss tips are on the inside.

The best part is it’s all online in free PDF downloads, so you can read our first two issues now! The other best part is that we’re accepting submissions for our next issue until October 13, 2012!

Starting next week, I will be blogging for Broad! twice a month about issues relevant to feminism and literature, along with editor Heather Lefebvre and my colleagues on the editorial board, T.R. Benedict and Hannah Baker-Siroty. We have things to say. So bookmark the Broad! blog, read the first two issues, and email us submissions, stat, broads. You will not be sorry.

You are not the poem…or even its spouse

Image Credit Ryan North, Dinosaur Comics 195

No, that dinosaur is not married to his crappy poetry…and I’m not married to mine either. As I returned to my writing projects in the new year, I needed to remind myself of a chapter from Natalie Goldberg’s book Writing Down the Bones. It’s called “We are Not the Poem” and in it she speaks about the importance of remembering that although your work is your own, you are not your work. Here are a few sentences from Goldberg, who explains it better than I just did:

“Don’t identify too strongly with your work. Stay fluid behind those black and white words. They are not you. They were a great moment going through you. A moment you were awake enough to write down and capture.” – Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones, 34

For me, this is important to remember as I write, when my inner critic whispers that I shouldn’t say that because (even in fiction, or through a character’s voice), other people might think it’s me. I have to remember that my writing is not me when I submit a story to a workshop, and that other people’s writing is not them when I’m critiquing their work. And when I reread my work to revise it, sometimes it feels so foreign that I need to remember it was only a moment passing through me.

Besides finding a way to ignore our inner critics, the point is that everyone is fluid. Nobody stays the exact same person throughout their lives, even though we have a tendency to remember others by that one thing they’re known best for. We tend to do this with writing, especially, expecting one writer to continuously write the same kinds of stories or the same genre, or looking for telling details of the autobiographical. But as we all know as writers, the truth is that one writer can do many different things, and that writing is rarely “autobiographical” in the way that readers would like to assume.

When we write, the moment or the muse, whatever we want to call it, moves through us. If we try to stop it, it can’t move us, and that surprising voice on the other side will never come out and shock us with its brilliance or its truth. Conversely, we have to be wary of over-congratulating ourselves on our writing, of attaching ourselves to one piece of it. If we do this we are subject to the opposite delusion – that everything we write is gold, or perhaps later, that we will never write anything as good as the last piece. So, whether judgments are good or bad, our own or other people’s, we have to try and stay fluid, to look ahead and not dwell on what we have already written, or allow the ego to identify with it too much.

I hope many a great moment passes through you in 2012. Happy New Year!