Gather Around, Guys. You Might Want to Read This One Sitting Down. SLM is Closing. – Editor-in-Chief, Kelly Fitzharris Faulk

Loss, Life, and the Aftermath

I’m hopelessly transparent in all of my editor’s letters. I owe it to you guys; the ones who are putting your hearts and souls into your submissions. You’re baring everything to me on the blank page and in the bodies of your emails.

My husband is more of a private person than I am. He doesn’t quite understand the fact that I need to share my pain, my loss, and my grief in order to truly heal.

Back in June I suffered a miscarriage.

I am currently suffering from another miscarriage.

Two losses this close together are two too many. I can’t even begin to explain to you the myriad of emotions and hormonal fluctuations I’m going through – there are times when I flat-out feel like I’m losing my mind. That, coupled with the workload of SLM, the fact that it’s grown into something that’s beyond me is something that I can no longer control.

Honestly, as I combed through submissions and saw that about 90% of them were addressed to Nicole, I slammed my laptop shut and I think I even went so far as to scream into a pillow. Here I was working my tail off, yet again, trying to revive the magazine, working all alone, and I couldn’t even get any submissions that were addressed to me. I make no money doing this, guys. Nicole didn’t make any money. Melissa didn’t make any money. This was absolutely a passion project; and if I don’t even recognize the magazine I worked so hard to create, then it’s no longer fun. It hasn’t been fun for a long time. The accessibility aspect that I strove so hard to uphold; the fact that I wanted that open line of communication between the writer and the editor somehow made me into everyone’s favorite doormat. That’s not who I am. That’s not why I created SLM. I could go on and on and on and on, but the point of this letter is to convey to all of you that I’m officially closing up shop. 

To those of you who have been with me from the beginning: Kate Jones, C. C. O’Hanlon, Gene Farmer, Chris Iacono, Tom Gumbert, Nicole Ford Thomas, Scott Thomas Outlar, Melissa Libbey, Jayne Martin, Steve Carr, Dee Lean, Mickie Bolling-Burke, Katie Lewington, Steve Cooper, Sebnem Sanders, Don Tassone, David Cook, Jamie Andrews, and so many, many more of you that I know I forgot to name because I’m literally thinking off the top of my head at the moment: Thank you. You were my biggest cheerleaders. You all believed in what I did and wanted to be that change on the literary horizon with SLM.

And to those of you whom I wrote an acceptance letter to: I’m truly sorry. This is a ship that is simply not navigable by one person. I thought I could start things back up and it would be just like riding a bike, that everything would click and I’d get back into a groove. But that wasn’t the case. Those acceptances I sent meant that I saw brilliance in your work and I still see brilliance in it and potential in you. I’m just so sorry that I can’t be the one to display your work. 

After a long talk with Nicole, we named all the things that were going on in my life that were out of my control, that were stressing me and pushing me to my boiling point. Having two (almost) back-to-back miscarriages has done a number on my body and my mind and it has been the most god-awful, harrowing experience I’ve ever gone through.

I’m remarried to a wonderful, wonderful man who loves me and my children and would do anything for me.

But it doesn’t erase the horrible year I’ve had. It doesn’t mean that I don’t get a pang deep inside my chest of sadness every time I have to hand my kids over to my ex-husband. NO mother wants to see their own children only 50% of the time. That part will never get easier, I’m afraid.

There are still many aspects from the divorce that I’m bitter about and I’m angry about. I might always be bitter when it comes up. Who knows? A lot of wrong was done to me. I was stepped on a lot. And then there were those of you who either stayed with me during that time or who left as the world as I’d known it crumbled around me. That speaks louder than any words you might muster up as an excuse.

I’m not just a caveat for your limelight and a bullet point for your resume or a passionate letter-writer when you need a recommendation. I’m a real person who has real, devastating, life-altering issues going on at the moment. I’m a writer, too. I had a book published about a year ago.

To those of you who are regular readers and contributors, who know me well, and who care: I’m sorry. I truly am. You are the ones I was doing this for. Even the new contributors who have taken the time to comb through this site and find out what I’m really about and wrote about it in their emails: I was doing this for you, too. And I’m sorry.

I’ve poured my heart, my passion, my creativity into this web site and devoted countless hours to this project. It includes so much work that it’s laughable how simple some people think it is. I created this web site. I bought its domain name. I go through every submission and read it and contact that writer myself. After that, I have to go into the web site, format that writer’s work, ensure (maybe this is the fifth or sixth time) that there are no typos or grammatical or punctuation errors, insert their author photo and bio, put a category with it, choose a cover photo, and then I can schedule it for publishing. I also have to send the writer an email letting them know the date and the time that their work will show up on the web site. It’s work. It’s a lot of damn work. And it’s too much to be doing alone. At the moment there are over a hundred unanswered emails in the submissions inbox and it makes me CRAZY. I can’t do it anymore. And I certainly can’t do it alone.

I need to close this down and do something for myself for a while.

Nicole and I are very good friends. She no longer works for the magazine in an editorial capacity and hasn’t in a long time. So I meant  no disrespect toward her as I told you that when I saw all the submissions were addressed to her, that I sort of lost my shit. We talk frequently – and we also can’t ever seem to get off the phone with one another – because we’re essentially the same person. Our friendship and working relationship mean a great deal to me and whenever I start up something in the future, you might see her there with me.

But as of right now I need to do right by myself and take this albatross off of my shoulders and remove it from the string it’s attached to around my neck.

I need to do some work on myself and stop trying to distract myself away from my feelings.

More than likely, I will keep the same web site, but the URL will change. I’m a writer. I need to get back to my roots and I need to do so in order to stay sane.

Feel free to leave any and all comments, concerns, and questions below. I invite your input. Please. This is the one time you should speak freely.

Again, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that we couldn’t make it work. I’ve failed a lot in 2017 – but that doesn’t mean that I’m a failure. It means that I dared to take a leap of faith. I dared to do what no one else was willing to do and I failed. But if success isn’t a destination, then neither is failure. It doesn’t mean that you won’t see me again in another capacity. It means that this isn’t the creative outlet that I set out for it to be any more.

Thank all of you for your support.

Signing off,

Over and out,

Kelly Fitzharris Faulk

zzzyy

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22 Comments Add yours

  1. Linda Imbler says:

    Kelly:
    I am so sorry for your loss. Wishing you future good health and good writing.

    Like

  2. prernabakshi84 says:

    So sorry to hear about everything, Kelly. Cannot even imagine what you must be going through right now. But just hang in there! I’m sure things will turn around for the better. Your friends and family will always be there for you. And so will I. I consider myself so very lucky to have come in touch with you. You’re easily the best Editor (and best friend) any artist could possibly ever have. Sick Lit Magazine will always be dear to me and will always have a special place in my heart.

    I don’t know what the future holds for us, but I hope that we will always remain friends, and I wish you all the happiness and success in the world.

    With lots of love and lots of hugs,

    Prerna

    Liked by 1 person

  3. C.W. Bigelow says:

    So sorry for your losses. Thanks for putting your heart and soul into making a great publication which many will miss. But your decision seems the correct one. Devote time to yourself and family. Heal. Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. C.W says:

    So sorry for your losses. Thanks for putting your heart and soul into making a great publication which many will miss. But your decision seems the correct one. Devote time to yourself and family. Heal. Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My deep sympathy on the personal losses and heartache to you, your husband and family during this year of many ups and downs. So many times, we as writers, poets, authors, forget that those we deal with everyday; publishers, readers, etc…., are real people, with families, trials and tribulations, happiness and sorrows. Reading your words has brought these back into focus for myself and many, I’m sure. I thank you Kelly for accepting and publishing my poems. I thank Nicole and Melissa as well. Over this past two years the SLM team always treated me with respect and I truly appreciate it. I look forward to reading many good things in the future; perhaps a new book, personal happiness and, one never knows, maybe a SLM II…..or another venture! Please take care, keep the faith. All my thoughts, prayers and blessings to you and yours.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. floweringink says:

    I read this with such sadness and I am profoundly sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine the emotional and physical turmoil you must be in an I hope you will find a place of healing and take the time you need to take care of you. I want to thank you for having confidence in me as a writer – I was ecstatic the day I received your acceptance letter – and for the bravery you have show both artistically and personally. I look forward to reading all of the amazing work of yours I know is yet to come. You are a total kick ass lady and I am grateful to have been a part of SLM.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. rlmcooper says:

    All the best to you, Kelly. I’m sorry my story will have to find a home elsewhere, but your health is the most important thing right now. Take care of yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sara says:

    SLM was one of the first places I was published, so I’ll always be grateful to you for that. You helped boost my confidence and kickstart my writing journey. I hope you take time to heal and grow, and wherever life takes you, I hope it is someplace good. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. katejones73 says:

    Sending hugs and all good thoughts your way, Kelly. I know you’ll come back fighting, because you’re made of strong stuff. But for now, you need to go and administer a lot of self-care. K xx

    Liked by 2 people

  10. David Cook says:

    Hi Kelly – this is sad news, but you need to do what you need to do. Thank you for everything you did – I really appreciated having my work published here. All the very best and good luck for the future.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. mandibelle16 says:

    I’ll be sad to see you shut down the magazine. I was thrilled to have three pieces published with you guys, two short fiction in which I was particularly happy. Thank you very much for those opportunitties to share my writing. I loved your vision and how open your magazine was to was what real and raw. I’m also so sorry for your loss, for both miscarriages. I’m glad you have your husband and glad that you can focus on your personal writing. All the best, I’ll be praying for you both. I have friends who have experienced similar stories with miscarriages before the pregnancy was assured and they were able to have a baby so I believe it is possible for you too.

    Sincerely,
    Amanda

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m very sorry about your losses, dear Kelly. I understand your sorrow and the need to get away from the pressures and heal. But please don’t think you have failed. You have created a wonderful magazine which will always have a special place in my writing experience. I wish you the best. Much love, 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. blake says:

    I’d only recently discovered the magazine. Thanks so much for having done everything that you’ve done. Take care of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Awww, I love you, sunshine! The next chapter is going to be great for you, I just know it.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Nan Wigington says:

    Thinking of you. Hang in there.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Maura Y. says:

    Hang in there, Kelly. Take care of yourself and don’t worry about SLM for now. Magazines go on hiatus and come back, so this doesn’t have to be the end…

    For what it’s worth, I think the main reason submissions are addressed to Nicole is that the submission instructions say something along the lines “Nicole will read every submission so if you want to address the cover letter to someone it can be Nicole.” I know that my recent submission was addressed to Nicole for that reason, before I figured out that she had left. So it’s really, truly not that people don’t appreciate all that you’ve done for SLM — quite the contrary!

    I think I speak for everyone who’s hung around Sick Lit Magazine — thank you for building this vibrant community and thank you for giving unorthodox writers a chance to be read. Take good care of yourself and your lovely family. Best of luck, always!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Maura Y. says:

    Hang in there, Kelly. Take care of yourself and don’t worry about SLM for now. Magazines go on hiatus and come back, so this doesn’t have to be the end…

    For what it’s worth, I think the main reason submissions are addressed to Nicole is that the submission instructions still say something along the lines “Nicole will read every submission so if you want to address the cover letter to someone it can be Nicole.” I know that my recent submission addressed Nicole specifically for that reason, before I figured out that she had left (after reading more on the site). So it’s really, truly not that people don’t appreciate all that you’ve done for SLM — quite the contrary!

    I think I speak for everyone who’s hung around Sick Lit Magazine — thank you for building this vibrant community and thank you for giving unorthodox writers a chance to be read. Take good care of yourself and your lovely family. Best of luck, always!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m so very sorry to hear you’re shouldering these heavy sorrows, those two precious losses. You’ll be missed. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Christine Tabaka says:

    Dearest Kelly,
    My heart goes out to you for all that you are going through. I cannot even imagine what it feels like. I love your publication and am honored that you accepted my work, even if it won’t be put up.
    Just take the time to take care of yourself and heal. God bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Thanks for supporting me, Kelly. Big-hearted people always have a good chance to get through hard times, so have faith. M. Toews

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Ryan says:

    Never stop smiling, Kelly. Long live SLM.
    -Ryan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. sicklitmag says:

      Thanks, Ryan. This post isn’t meant to be the absolute end of SLM. But it is until I have a more solidified plan and chances are that it’ll be completely different when it does return.

      Like

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