For the last few weeks, I have been immersed in viewing and evaluating all the work published in Issue 4. It’s a weird process that is lovely and challenging and it requires a disciplined approach. And it is work. The last few days in particular have been exhausting as I prepared the PDF and website. I finished last night at 6:40 pm while watching the Oscars. I was tired but excited. Poured me a glass of wine and closed my laptop. I felt relieved and satisfied.
This morning I awoke feeling rested and ready to catch up on some work that has been neglected. Know what I did instead? I usually read news with my morning coffee but today I opened the PDF and began reading everything again. This is the single best reward for publishing a lit journal. The work. No, not the work of publishing. The work, as in the art. I feel privileged and honored by being this close to such great work.
Without getting too sappy, it’s a Sally Fields Oscar moment. (No, you didn’t miss something last night, it was years ago.) These talented and varied artists chose Exist Otherwise as a potential home for their art. I then chose these artists and their creations as representative of my vision for this issue. It’s a wonderful thing. We worked together to make this happen.
I also want you to know this: rejecting work is the hardest part of publishing. I hope we can change the language, maybe even the paradigm of submissions. It is absolutely not failing in any way to have work not be accepted. It is not a rejection of you or your work. This is simply the nature of the beast. I had to say no to a lot of excellent work. Everything has limits. We have more issues to create, which means more opportunities for choosing.
cc bovarysme is a pseudonym. My name is Eric Jennings (he/him) – I am a writer and visual artist with a background in theatre and performance. My experiences as a survivor of childhood sexual victimization inform my work.