Hello, denizens of Sick Lit!
I have a green folder in a box in my closet. The folder, the kind that can be bought every August for a dime in the Back-To-School sales, has seen better days. The worn, ripped construction paper holds something very important to me: the poems and stories I wrote when I was a kid.
Every so often, I’ll pull the folder out and read through my scribbles, often cringing at what Nicole, age 10, thought to be a literary masterpiece. They’re bad, certainly, but I still treasure that folder full of yellowed notebook paper because it’s an important part of my history. That’s where my love of writing started.
I wonder how many frayed folders I would have filled over the years if I had been encouraged to write more. My family didn’t discourage my artistic side, but fear and a need to protect my creations kept me from ever putting my work forward. The preteen years seem to be when we all wake up to how cruel the world can be and I wasn’t prepared to subject my clandestine writing pursuits to scrutiny. So, I wrote quietly, in private.
I put in the cover letter of my very first submission “I am using up my entire ration of courage today in submitting this piece to you. You have the prestigious honor of being either my first publication or my first rejection. Either way, I will never forget you.” Half an hour later, Kelly emailed back an emphatic yes, Sick Lit Magazine would publish my flash fiction. She was willing to take a chance on me, even though I had no publishing experience, no credentials, and nothing more than a green folder full of hope.
Since being on the inside, I’ve understood this willingness to break new writers onto the scene is an integral part of Sick Lit Magazine’s vision. Not only was it created with the intention of giving literary convention the middle finger, but to comfort those who are nervous, intimidated, and just plain terrified. We strive to encourage even those whose submissions we reject to keep at it, to keep putting one word after another because, as experience has told us, the only way to become a better writer is to continue writing.
Sick Lit’s vision also included one of camaraderie. Not only do we showcase the writing, but we aim to create a network and a support system to help writers connect and encourage each other. We urge our contributors to engage with one another, to leave comments when someone’s work provides enjoyment, or to just give a heartfelt “Good job!” It only takes a few minutes to give back the encouragement that was once given to you.
Do you remember what it was like when you first started out as a writer? Do you remember the nervousness in your stomach as you awaited “judgment” for your creation? If you’ve also got an old, beat up folder in your closet, look around you at the new writers timidly extending their stiff, new folders towards us. In the coming weeks, Sick Lit Magazine will feature stories and poetry from new writers who are holding their breath, waiting to hear what other writers think about their creations. Let’s help them break those folders in.
It’s National Poetry Month! In celebration, April 24-28 will be Poetry Week, kicked off by a short story about a prose-hatin’ biker who learns the hard way that poetry can be brutal. We’ll be posting long poems and larger poetry collections all week to get us all in the fighting, er, celebratory spirit.
When I came on board in February, I said “Time will tell if Sick Lit can bounce back from such a disastrous ending to 2016.” Turns out, graphs will also tell, so how about this one?
BOOM, BABY! March was the highest month for views in SLM history. I think it’s safe to say we came back with a vengeance. Keep those submissions coming in. We only have a handful of spots left on May’s schedule before we move on to June.
We want to hear from you! Loving the new template? Hating the ads? Wish we gave out free kittens with every submissions rejection? Send us your comments or questions via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You’ve got opinions about Sick Lit Magazine, so let’s hear them!
Okay guys, go enjoy this beautiful spring/fall weekend. Take a walk. Pick some flowers. Eat something delicious. But come back on Monday ready to dive into more Sick Lit!
Nicole Ford Thomas, Senior Editor