Life, The Magazine, and a Job Opportunity – Editor-in-Chief, Kelly Fitzharris Faulk

Hey, guys!

I’m checking in to let you know that today my mother is undergoing extensive back surgery and that I’m going to be sort of in and out as much as I can be.

The themes are still running, I’ll post your pieces as soon as I am able to, but if I’m not back with you right away, it’s because I’m indisposed. I’m hoping to be able to schedule some more work tonight – but if I can’t, I don’t want you to worry. It will happen.

Unrelated side note: I am actively looking for an employee whose sole purpose at SLM will be to establish, create, and accurately procure some sort of running, longstanding site monetization. Monetizing this thing will not only help with staff momentum and motivation, but also eventually get us to a place where we might be able to pay our writers. For the past two years, this has been my passion project – it will continue to be a passion project – I’ll just have more time to devote to it if I’m able to somehow make the money I’ve invested in it back.

Now: I’m accessible and communicate freely with my writers because that’s who I am, first, and because I truly enjoy it. That being said, I dislike being blind copied on a submission that’s going out to about 40 other publications. Now, this isn’t to say that we don’t accept simultaneous submissions, because of course we do. But if you have scoured Duotrope and Poets & Writers and picked us because we seem like an easy place to be published, then we are not for you.

I LIVE for the emails I receive where a writer talks to me person-to-person. My regular contributors / artists / writers all talk to me that way, referencing different editorials I’ve posted, checking in with me, as I check in with them as well – this isn’t some fly by night publication. I’m building SLM in a way that brings back the writer – editor connection, not the other way around. We are NOT every other journal / lit mag / whatever hipster term is popular for this – what Editor Z loves, possibly an attached cover letter (WTF?! Is this a job interview?!), strict margins, strict professionalism in the body of the email, and basically a carbon copy of every other submission that they accept, IS NOT what I expect, nor is it what I want. Would you like to know why? Because that’s not what a true talent for writing is all about. The vast majority of us are NOT type A personalities who organize everything to death and drool over formatting.

If an editor is rejecting work solely based on that criteria, then I’m HAPPY to receive all the great work that they’re missing out on. I don’t know when writing became such a standardized, marginalized game of favorites; and who deemed what type of writing is supposed to be “right” and what’s supposed to be “wrong.” That very line of thinking goes against everything that we writers stand for; because writing is an art. Art doesn’t live within the margins, literally and figuratively.

Our tagline, Bringing the real. Keeping the weird. isn’t what you might think it is. It means that we’re ALL WEIRD. Who is normal? What is normal? (I’ll give you a clue: there is no normal.) I want you to be yourself (hence the real) and I want you to write what you love to write (hence the weird).

I want to (and try to) stress this in as many of my editorial notes as I possibly can, because we have enough site traffic and wonderful pieces of writing and art that a lot of my mission statements (or whatever you want to call it) sort of get lost in the mix.

Nicole summed it up pretty well in the Submissions FAQ when she said: What we’re NOT: Easy Access. That is true, definitely. It’s true because I may see greatness in something that every other editor has passed on; and I can also see through a piece of writing that lacks spirit and passion. And I’ll tell you another thing: after being published here, for some strange, magical reason, suddenly, other editors begin to publish the writers that I feature here.

Editors need to take their jobs a little more seriously – because, like it or not, we are a gateway to exposure; and that sometimes means you’re a writer’s last and/or only hope.

I can’t promise you guys that I’m going to singlehandedly change the entire literary landscape. But I can promise you this: as long as I’m here, I will work as hard as I can to be that change that we writers all need so desperately (while I’m working here at SLM). This doesn’t always mean that I’m going to respond to your submission vomiting sunshine and rainbows. A lot of times, I’ll send you back a page of your work with markups and tell you to get to work. Writing is a process. It’s a lot of trial and error and without personal growth, your writing becomes stagnant.

On “Career Day” at Bluewater Elementary in Niceville Florida, I was in second grade, eight years old, and a regular visitor at the school’s library. As an avid reader and consumer of content, content, content, I knew where I wanted to be in this world.

My entire class had to give their answer to the question of, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” After listening to answers like ballerina, football player, fireman, police officer, actor, model, and many, many others, I was the last to answer.

“Well, Kelly Marie, what is it that you want to do when you grow up?”

I cleared my throat. “I’d like to be a part of the media.”

My teacher chuckled. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, I want to be part of the media. I want to write. I want to be a part of it in my own way.”

And, well, here I am.

Keep submitting.

Keep writing.

Be patient with me.

zzzyy

Cheers,

Kelly

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Important Updates, Announcements, and More About Submissions! – Editor-in-Chief, Kelly Fitzharris Faulk

MAN, you guys are KILLING IT with these submissions – and I’m not exaggerating. The pieces I’ve been accepting are all SO DIFFERENT from one another, but they’re poignant, fresh, and remind me of the reason I started Sick Lit Magazine just about two years ago.

Nicole Ford Thomas has not “left the building” – she and I are still working closely together here at SLM. She’s now the Creative Director, where I let her spread her wings and expand her mind, allowing her ideas and her imagination to grow and flourish. This brings me to my next point: Nicole will be writing a regular column for SLM called Letters From Left Field. 

Along with that, we’re starting our own advice column called Ask The Redheads – When in Doubt? Bitch it out! All questions will be anonymous and will be posted on the site with both mine and Nicole’s input. Any advice questions should be sent to sicklitsubmissions@gmail.com with “Ask The Redheads” in the subject line. You’ll be notified if we pick your question to be featured and also (for a few, select scenarios) enlist a group of your peers help Nicole and myself in our advice to you.

So, now, along with fresh poetry and fiction, we’ll be providing even more fun content for you to delve into!

I’m going to start posting some of your pieces for our “New Beginnings” theme either tomorrow or over the long weekend, so you’ll have something exciting and new to read. I woke up earlier this week with two fairly painful infections (of course, right? Why wouldn’t I? Ha!); I’ve received antibiotics and am hoping to be on the mend by Saturday. If not, I’ll start posting your work on Sunday.  Don’t worry, guys. We’ll get everything up and running soon.

To some of you who haven’t received a response yet: bear with me. I will get to you, I promise.

Who’s excited?

Who’s ready to write again, and actually enjoy it this time? As I’ve said before, throw out that “literary agent jargon” that’s peddled as “Professional advice.”

If I’m being completely candid, I want you to forget EVERYTHING and write me a bold, passionate piece (and then of course, send it to sicklitsubmissions@gmail.com) and if nothing else, your enthusiasm and love for writing will shine through.

Be on the lookout for Nicole’s New Column, Our Advice Column, and some excellent prose and poetry.

Nicole and I sort of have an affinity for all things “fall.” We’re excited for these next few issues and what’s to come for all of us here at SLM!

 

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Cheers, guys! And good luck submitting!

Kelly

(Above: a photo of me ‘at the office’)

 

 

Feel Like Starting Over? Come Explore Our “New Beginnings” Theme – Editor-in-Chief, Kelly Fitzharris Faulk

It’s….September!

And that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. It might mean back-to-school (either as a student yourself, a teacher, parent, or all three), meaning unchecked road rage in the form of crowded, bitchy carpool lanes; it could bring either a markedly busier or slower work pace for you, and September always serves as a lead-in to the holiday season and the harried, frantic conclusion to the year 2017.

*Side note about unchecked road rage- what in the name of Sam Hill is going on?! Not to sound like a disgruntled older woman, but I’m seriously alarmed at the amount of people just absolutely LOSING IT while in their cars. I saw some of the most God awful road rage, of all places, at the drive thru lane at Chik-Fil-A last week. One car cut another one off; sure, they shouldn’t have done that, but the reaction from the woman who was cut off was straight up disturbing. Her blood pressure had to have been close to heart attack level. It is NOT WORTH IT to engage ANYONE like that unless they’ve literally just snatched your newborn baby out of your vehicle. End of rant. *

Whether this year has been one of strife and struggle for you or one of success and triumph, time waits for no one. And the only direction it moves is forward.

Last night, my husband and I watched the movie “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley. Its humor has more of a subdued, subtle dryness to it, giving it the perfect opportunity to be in the background and serve as the perfect backdrop to a realistically funny look at what the world might look like right before it ended. Dean (my husband) kept trying to figure this movie out; he was determined to break it down and find its hidden meaning and intent. He kept guessing that the ending would take a drastic turn and the world wouldn’t end at all – that the asteroid might narrowly miss earth, giving the movie “meaning.”

“No, no, no,” was my rebuttal. “The point is that it doesn’t matter how much time we have here or what we think we’re supposed to be doing. If it takes the end of the world for you to ‘find your purpose’ or if you think you need to go backpacking across Brazil in order to find yourself, then you very well could be missing out on the greatness that’s already in your life. In the end, we’ve all got what we need right in front of us. We’ve had the right tools all along, we just didn’t know how to use them. Changing your scenery won’t change your problems and it won’t change you. Being with those who love you and loving yourself are the keys to fulfillment.” (Now, don’t throw that back at me when I’m super stressed out and complain about the annoyances of day-to-day life. Ha!)

All of that being said, each day is an opportunity for us to begin again, to try harder, to live our lives a little better and be a little kinder to one another. Just because you’ve messed up, fallen down, cried in front of your boss, reacted in situations with cowardice or malice as opposed to bravery and kindness, doesn’t mean that you have to live tomorrow that way. Messing up is part of the journey, guys. You’re supposed to do that. You are supposed to bump your head – a lot – in order to find your way. And you’ll keep messing up until the day you die. That’s just what life is. It’s about realizing who and what you are, knowing your shortcomings and your strengths, and using this knowledge to not only better yourself, but hopefully those around you.

That brings me to the reason why I’ve chosen the themes I have for this fall: All of these themes hit close to home for the vast majority of us. If you don’t have one instance where you have faced adversity, wanted to start over, or actually did start over, or witnessed or experienced a good versus evil battle, then maybe you need to get out of your comfort zone.

I’ve received a lot of wonderful submissions. If I don’t get back with you five minutes after you’ve sent me an email, remember that I’m only one person. And chill out.

Here is the official theme schedule:

September: New Beginnings

October: Good VS Evil

November: Strength in the Face of Adversity

Okay, guys, now do your thing and I’ll do mine. Until next time…..

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Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. Or, hell, go ahead. 

Cheers, 

Kelly Fitzharris Faulk 

 

 

Calling All Writers! Step “Write” up and get yourself some SLM Announcements! – Kelly Fitzharris Faulk, Editor-in-Chief

Here’s to Life, Literature, and bringing the spirit of SLM back!

 

Sometimes, we’re trying so hard to open a figurative closed door in our lives that we fail to look behind us to see a brand-new, shining, glassed-in sun-room. Forget that old window analogy; this time after God has closed the door, he’s opened up the entire back of your house.

The past is done; it’s gone. We cannot change it, nor can we live there. This is why it’s so important to live in the here and the now and to do your best to see that rainbow while you’re stuck in the mud.

I’m sure you’ve noticed my name change up above – I’M MARRIED! And it is a happy time for me and my family. Soon, I’ll be Kelly Faulk.

Onto the magazine!

I will officially be re-opening shop so to speak for submissions starting NOW and staying open until the end of October of 2017 for short prose (just don’t send me 30 pages) and poetry.

I do have a few themes up my sleeve:

Good VS Evil

New Beginnings

Strength in the face of Adversity 

 

You may begin to submit to any or ALL of these themes as soon as you are ready to do so to: sicklitsubmissions@gmail.com

*Now, remember: When submitting your work to the magazine, please, please, PLEASE, write the genre and theme somewhere in or on your email, write to me as yourself, and be as frank or as candid as you’d like.

Reminder: I want YOUR work. Write as YOU; write what you write best and write the hell out of it.

My mission and my intent have never been to conform to the rest of the literary world; on the contrary, I want to serve as a guide, a mentor, a coach, and a voice of reason in a world filled with chaos and closed doors. Unless I suspect you *might* be a serial killer aside from your day job, I usually make every effort to email you back as soon as I can and to provide you with my enthusiastic feedback, critiques, praises, what have you.

I’m starting this fall with a clean slate and a fresh outlook. If you’ve sent in work before and it’s gone unnoticed and you feel that it’s good and fits one of the themes, send it again. This year has scrambled us all up a bit to say the least. So let’s just start over.

Here’s to new beginnings, a brighter tomorrow, and the freedom to express ourselves.

Cheers,

dkweddingggggggg

Kelly

Frequent Flyer Miles – Editor-in-Chief, Kelly Fitzharris

It’s no surprise to most of you that I’m kind of a frequent flyer – slash – frequent traveler.

The experiences I’ve had while traveling alone (sans fiance and/or my two beautiful children) have been some of the most poignant and interesting ones.

Recently when traveling to my hometown of Niceville, Florida, I met a little girl who was about my daughter’s age. She was a bright, bubbly girl who lived at the far east end of Panama City. She talked to me about inter-dimensional travel, creating worlds in Minecraft, galaxies, planets, light years, and everything else under the sun. I told her that she should harness all of her creativity and ideas and draw them in a journal and compile it into a little book.

A few months ago when I was traveling to Florida, I helped a woman work the Benefit vending machine during my layover in Houston; by the end of our interaction, she hugged me and told me what a bright light I had inside me.

Now, while all of these moments and happenstance meetings are without a doubt fleeting, they’re also special. They’re real. They’re genuine.

I always want to bottle up the way I feel when I have these small yet meaningful interactions so that I can open it up one day and watch it in my mind’s eye as if it were on a movie reel.

I travel back home a lot because my best girlfriend lives there and we have been close off-and-on since high school. Recently, though, my trip was for a less-than-exciting occasion. Her mother was in the hospital dying. Her mother actually passed away while I was there. To say that the occasion was sad and heavy would be a gross understatement.

Which brings me to my next point: life is fleeting. Our time here is relatively short. Why not live as yourself, as a genuine individual, instead of pretending who society wants you to be? Because there, truly, is no right or wrong way to “be.” Liberal or conservative, Democrat, Republican, independent, or apathetic – what happened to the days when we could all be friends with one another despite our religious or political beliefs? Rob Zombie said on Twitter about a year ago that one of his best friends was a conservative Republican. Rob Zombie is not. He said that that never once got in the way of their friendship or interfered with their relationship, even if they argued politics every now and again. He said this in response to Twitter’s outrage at the revelation that he is a vegan.

What have we become as a society, in America (and elsewhere – you guys do it, too), that someone’s choice to be a Vegan would cause such an uproar and elicit such anger and rage? I mean, honestly, what in the good Lord’s name has happened to all of us? When did we all become such a lynch mob, demanding someone’s blood for choosing to live their life a little differently than we live ours?

Kindness. Empathy. Courtesy. Sympathy. Humility. Forgiveness. Love. Unconditional love.

That’s what all of us need to practice more and more in our daily lives, especially these days when these qualities are so hard to find in others. We live in this social media bubble that demands perfection, assimilation, and for everyone to be a carbon copy of the next person; so much so that I rarely even post on Facebook anymore. If your post is not 100% positive, dripping with sunshine and rainbows, you’ll amass hundreds of awful comments verging on character assassination. How’s that for hypocrisy? The reality is that there is not one of us out there who exhibits or lives a life filled to the brim with perfection. That’s because perfection does not exist; it is not attainable.

Each of us has a myriad of idiosyncrasies, issues, quirks, ups and downs, sadness, happiness, anger, and every other emotion that exists. Letting these things out, rather than bottling them up, are what help keep us sane and grounded. That’s why we have friends; they are supposed to serve as a healthy mirror back of who we are as human beings. We’re supposed to be kind and open when a friend confides in us, without judgment or harshness, and also to be forgiving.

You never know what your neighbor, your customer, your cashier at the store, or the homeless man carrying a sign, have gone through that day. They, too, don’t know what you might have been through on that same day. Everyone goes through their own personal brand of suffering.

The next time you find yourself traveling, just ask the person sitting next to you at the airport how their day has been. You’ll be surprised what you might find out: not just about that person, but about yourself.

Cheers,

Peace, love and all the rest,

 

 

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Kelly Fitzharris

 

 

 

Pop Culture Got You Down? Politics? Let’s Party Like it’s 2005. Also, Your Favorite Editor is Checking in ;) – Kelly Fitzharris, Editor-in-Chief

Here’s to New Beginnings!

 

 

A lot of you have emailed recently, asking me how I’ve been doing and checking in on me. Please know that it hasn’t gone unnoticed and/or unappreciated. 

Switching gears just for a moment (bear with me, I have a point to make):

Ever spend an hour scrolling through your Facebook-Twitter-insert-social-media-app-slash-web-site feed only to feel like an empty, hollow, lifeless loser? And then regretted that hour so much that you vowed never to tell anyone you just actually wasted an hour (or more…) scrolling through Facebook? Have you ever stopped to question the content that you are allowing to play on a loop from your phone, PC, laptop, iPad, other device, etc.?

Well…if you answered no…Question it!

I can tell you: spending all of your time on Facebook reading what everyone else is doing can make you feel depressed. Also, spending time on Facebook playing negative videos over and over and over again will also dampen your spirits. Doing both for a solid day or so is nothing short of insanity-inducing.

As human beings, we aren’t meant to be cooped up with an electronic device for hours on end, hunched over, reading canned and regurgitated garbage that may or may not come from a kernel of truth, letting that fill up all of our free time.

The same can be said for trolling a person on the web as opposed to taking the time to get to know them in person. Reading everything that, let’s say, I’ve written or tweeted or even a few of my published works (including an article I co-authored with Dr. Jeffrey Toney, PhD on The Hill, Congress Blog) is no way to get an idea of my character, my current life situation, nor is it an appropriate way to wrongly judge a person.

Here’s the thing about judgment: it’s a lot like assuming. And you know what they say about assuming.

I was raised by two, good, God-fearing parents who, yes, raised me Catholic, and simultaneously raised me to be open-minded, open-hearted, loving and forgiving. And I was also raised never, ever to judge a book by its cover. My father is a graduate of USAFA (US Air Force Academy), won a Guggenheim fellowship scholarship (with which he used to procure his Master’s in engineering from Columbia University in New York City), before he started out his first assignment as a fighter pilot at Langley Air Force Base when I was only 2 years old. He served as an officer in the US Air Force for 22 years before retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel and Senior National Represent for the United States. My mother has been a licensed LVN (nurse) most of her life, practicing in both Florida and Texas over the years.

While it’s true that I’ve been through my own personal brand of hell this year and last year, I’ve also recently been absent from this site because, SURPRISE, I’ve been happy for the first time in a long time. I’ve met someone who loves me, loves my children, and who supports me endlessly.

After our first date, about a couple of weeks later, my dog got out of my fence. I called him flustered, driving around shouting the dog’s name with my two kiddos in the backseat. He came over that day with tools, wearing a white shirt and jeans, and met my children. My son went out and pretended to help him fix the fence, carrying his own “tool kit.” It was that day that I knew; I knew it in my heart that this was it. He was the real thing. And he has been ever since.

We’re engaged to be married in August of 2017.

Here’s the thing: you can’t schedule falling in love. If you try and micromanage it and interrupt nature’s way of doing things, that’s a surefire way to ruin it. To kill it. Instead of living in the past and waking up daily with hate and anger in your heart, why not celebrate the present and look forward to the future and hold happiness in your heart for your family?

Life is too short not to.

I recently got back from a trip to see my best friend from high school. I went to visit so I could help her while her mother was in the hospital. Unfortunately…sadly…her mom passed away while I was visiting. As devastatingly sorrowful as that visit was, it has given me a different perspective on life; on family; on, well, everything. My friend’s mom was the same age that my mom is going to be in August.

If there’s anything to be learned from this, it’s to shelve the judgments and relish the fleeting happiness that can sometimes bury itself beneath the monotony of our day-to-day grind that most often leaves us feeling empty inside. Acknowledge your own suffering; acknowledge and learn from your own failures before you point outward to project it onto someone else. Someone who might, just might, be a decent person.

***

The future of the magazine is still up in the air. As I’m sure you can probably imagine, my life is filled to the brim with activity, which includes getting married and getting my children registered for school and getting settled back into a routine.

I can promise you that once the dust has settled, I will be in touch.

 

Cheers,

Kelly Fitzharris

Editor-in-Chief

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Changes. – Kelly Fitzharris, Editor-in-Chief, Founder (the creator of this monster ;) )

Readers, contributors, fans, friends, and longtime SLM enthusiasts, this is to all of you: I apologize for my lack of involvement and communication in the magazine as of late. I will explain. 

I know there has been more than a lot of confusion surrounding the magazine’s future and about the fact that we’ve posted a “closed to submissions” notice on the site.

The truth is that I had always told myself that when I no longer enjoyed the work I did here, that I would either walk away or find a way to enjoy it again.

After going through the demise of my 12 year relationship (10 year marriage) where there are two malleable children involved, I’ve found myself broken, shattered, hurt, angry, confused, and on the brink of near insanity at times. Nicole has been on the receiving end of more than her fair share of text messages and phone calls where I broke down. I cried. I told her that I was, in fact, buckling under all the pressure. I couldn’t do it all. I’d failed, in short.

At the moment, I’m feeling rather placid. I want to be hopeful for the future; I want to heal. I want to live my life and be who God meant for me to be. I don’t want to live my life feeling as though I’m letting everyone down anymore (whether it’s in my personal life or in my work life).

SLM (Sick Lit Magazine) will be undergoing a bit of a change over this summer; there will be an overhaul and I will take a few of you with me and Nicole (if you want to come, that is.) We set out to work for ourselves and we intend to do just that. We intend to take the reigns back. Things have gotten a bit out of control in terms of the workload and lack of income.

As I saw my divorce on paper, filed, documented, and subsequently took on the responsibilities of a single mother to two children after my ex moved out, I realized that I could no longer run the magazine as it was going. I realized (with Nicole’s help) that instead of becoming the literary revolution I’d so badly wanted to become, a publication where writers were honored by an acceptance, I was, instead, pandering to everyone else’s whims and wishes. I’ve been the veritable doormat that I swore I’d never become.

As May of 2017 winds down, so will Sick Lit Magazine as all of you know it now. 

Everyone we’ve published will still be on the site, in an archived section. I don’t plan on deleting anything as of yet.

I owe it to myself to find my way back to who the hell I am; I owe it to all of you as well.

Stay tuned to see what Nicole and I are up to on here.

Cheers, 

zzzyy

Kelly Fitzharris

You Want Real? You Want My Feedback? Here it is. – Kelly Fitzharris, Editor-in-Chief

Two of my regular contributors, two writers with whom I *thought* I’d built a solid, beneficial working relationship, have recently sent ME multiple insulting, hurtful, and absolutely unwarranted defamatory messages.

BACK OFF.

*WE* are NOT becoming just like every other publication out there.

*WE* are two women working our ASSES off, entrusting each other with the not-so-simple task of managing and running the very essence that is Sick Lit Magazine.

We’re doing all of this as I traverse my own personal life’s implosion, one day at a time. Nicole AND I personally type EVERY SINGLE response to you guys.

Nicole’s style is slightly different from mine in that she doesn’t gratuitously use swear words, speak primarily in hyperbole, and, in the interest of using her time wisely, is given to brevity where I am definitely not.

This is what makes us a good team. This doesn’t make her some sort of cold-hearted, hard-shelled, reproachable asshole. Quite the opposite. She’s stepped up – and stepped in, mind you—even taking on responsibilities that weren’t necessarily asked of her or required of her for the position, but for the sole purpose of keeping my vision and my magazine alive. Afloat.

Guess what?

She and I are not so different. When I first hired her, we could not hold a phone conversation shorter than two and a half hours, full of excited chatter and puns, and she’s backed me up when no one else would. She’s cared when no one else did.

We are not doormats. Nicole is not your proverbial doormat to take your anger out on if you’ve had a shitty day and neither am I.

Going through the demise of a 12 year relationship while I have custody of my two children, aged 4 and 8, 90% of the time, is not fucking easy. So, I’ll say it again: back the fuck off with your critical, unnecessary, ridiculous assessments about what YOU think the magazine has “become.”

There are TWO women behind the curtain, folks. Nicole hasn’t SWOOPED in and stolen SLM from me. Jesus Christ.

Bottom line: I’m fed up.

Grow up. Act like adults. Don’t send emails attacking both mine and Nicole’s judgment, including how shitty you think the magazine has become, before then personally attacking both myself and Nicole, calling me a lying hypocrite, after Nicole sent you either a polite decline email that she typed out by hand (we wouldn’t know how to do automated if we tried) or another polite email that suggested a few revisions for your work.

Enough. Enough is enough is enough, damn it! The people who are guilty of this depraved behavior are individuals whom I NEVER, EVER, thought in a million years, would talk to me the way they have.

Shame on you.

(You know who you are.)

Good night.

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Kelly Fitzharris (Formerly Kelly Fitzharris Coody, but, seeing as how I’m in the process of changing my name back, I’m trying to ease you all into the drop of the ‘married’ last name Coody.)

Your Editor-in-Chief

Peace.

April Letter From The Editor, Nicole Ford Thomas

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.

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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.

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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?

marstats

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.

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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 sicklitsubmissions@gmail.com. You’ve got opinions about Sick Lit Magazine, so let’s hear them!

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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

SLM News You Won’t Want to Miss! – Nicole Ford Thomas, Senior Editor

Welcome Back, Chief!

Let’s extend a warm welcome to our Editor-in-Chief, Kelly Fitzharris Coody, who is jumping back into the action here at Sick Lit! If you’ve been keeping up with her Letters, you’ll know she’s been through a lot of stress the last few months. How about some kind words of gratitude and encouragement for Kelly in the comments? We wouldn’t be here if she didn’t have the heart to build us this “Island of Misfit Writers” so let her know how happy we are to have her back.

New Submissions Guidelines

While SLM has built a reputation on having a “devil may care” attitude towards convention, the time has come when, in order to steer the magazine in the direction of our goals, we need to set clearer guidelines for our submissions.

With a name like Sick Lit Magazine, we get many submissions that take “sick” to a literal level rather than the slang definition in which it was intended. We are aware of the sick lit genre, how it can apply to physical or mental illnesses, and that is not what we aim to promote. When we present you “sick” lit, we mean it will be exceptionally awesome.

As always, we do not accept submissions with overt or implied racism, misogyny, or gratuitous vulgarity. Our tagline is “Bringing the real, keeping the weird” and are choosing to focus our acceptances on works that do just that. We want to feel the real in your stories, poetry, photography, et cetera, while simultaneously feeling the ground tilt under our feet. Take reality and twist it.

Another way that our laid-back approach to submissions has caused hiccups is that we seem to have gained a reputation for publishing everything that crosses our inbox. We’ve had writers upset because they’ve been published by us before, but a recent submission was rejected for missing the mark. Being open to works that don’t fit traditional roles in the literary world is not the same as saying we have no standards. If you previously considered Sick Lit to be an easy publication, a “last resort” after other magazines rejected a piece, be prepared to reconsider.

Call For Submissions

We’ve changed up our submissions reading process, too. I’ll be handling flash-/creative non-/fiction submissions, and Kelly will be heading up poetry, photography, and miscellaneous submissions. Our inbox is very poetry-heavy, which leads to days of nothing but poetry being published, simply because of the ratios. We’ve heard your concerns about Sick Lit turning into a poetry magazine, and want to keep things proportionate, so…

We are putting out a call for your fiction, creative non-fiction, and flash fiction submissions!

We don’t want you to stop sending poetry, but if you’re sitting on a few flash fiction or short stories collecting dust, we want them! If you’re waiting for the right time, that time is now! Kelly and I have also been working on new themes for 2017, so keep an eye out for an update in the next few weeks to help get your muse in gear.

-Nicole Ford Thomas, Senior Editor-