My Table of Contents mock-up for Writ in Water with fictional authors and titles. I’m excited to report my Editorial Board has reached the point where I can fill these slots with actual submissions, but I’m sad I have to lose these placeholders.
Defenestration published my short story “Flexible Groups” in its December 2016 issue (for context, they release an issue every April, August, and December). I was influenced by Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron” and my experiences in professional education. One of the members of my writer’s critique called this style “snarky with a soul.” I’m keeping that.
Defenestration is an online publication devoted to humor in all its varieties, and its About page boasts such accomplishments as selling its life story to Christopher Nolan (you might have heard of a little something called The Dark Knight) and successfully defending the Earth from Martians.
In the interest of clearing out my Rejects Page (which is in the menu above) to leave space for a new slew of letters, I’m posting my prose and poetry rejections before 2017. Consider it much needed spring cleaning.
Read if you’re in need of emotional support— the kind that only a little schadenfreude can provide.
This past week I opened the submission period for Houston Baptist University’s debut literary journal Writ in Water. The submission period started on the 8th of November (i.e. on the same day as the US Presidential Election), will conclude on the 8th of February, 2017, and the journal will be published digitally on May 1st. Writ will be accepting short stories and poetry, and although the publication is affiliated with a Christian college, the submissions will not have to be religious in nature. Instead, Writ’s editorial board is seeking literature that combines good writing and the human experience.
Writ is the result of months of deliberate planning and meetings, but I have wanted to start a literary journal for a long time – since childhood, in fact, when I first read an issue of The New Yorker and wondered about the lives of editors-in-chief. When I began working as the Writing Coordinator of HBU’s Academic Success Center, I realized that my life goal could also benefit the college community, especially its emerging writers and artists. The Success Center, after all, doesn’t only serve struggling students with their grades – success comes in a variety of forms, including publication.
The Academic Success Center and HBU Administration were very supportive of the journal. My conflict was naming the thing. Trouvaille, which is French for a lucky find or discovery by chance, was considered, along with Numinous, a word that means a strong spiritual moment or the presence of divinity. But Writ in Water had three aspects which won out in the end:
Aspect One) On Mount Sinai, as recounted in the book of Exodus, Moses received two tablets of covenant law. These Laws were God-writ and therefore eternal. From this we have derived the idiom “nothing is written in stone” to signify that nothing else is permanent, perpetual, or predictable.
Aspect Two) The phrase “writ in water” comes from John Keats’ deathbed request to not include his name on his gravestone. Instead, the young feverish poet who “foresaw his death with brutal clarity” wanted only the mysterious line: “Here lies One Whose Name was Writ in Water.”
Aspect Three) The Bible, too, has a context for water, as God’s Word, as God’s Intervention, as the Holy Spirit. Isaiah 44:3 says that God will “pour out water on the thirsty lands and streams;” Corinthians 12:13 that “we were all baptized into one body… we were all made to drink of one Spirit;” and Jesus says in John 3:5 that “no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.” Appropriate metaphors for a Baptist institution.
From these wells I draw my inspiration.
Stacey, Michelle. “Writ in Water: The enduring mystery of Keats’s last words.” The Paris Review, 23 February 2016.
Rat Ass Review’s “Love and Madness” section published my poem “Snippets.” The online publication is devoted to poetry about “our varied attractions to one another” and isn’t “intended for children, nor for those adults whose views of individual liberty and freedom of expression would best suit them for life in 1630 Massachusetts or modern-day Syria.” Get reading because it’s an amazing, ever-growing page of stories of love and madness, if there’s even a difference. You can also find my poem (after clicking the link) by hitting CTRL-F and searching for “Desmond White.”
365 Tomorrow has published my speculative flash fiction “Pink Pastures.” The story was based on a dream, and since I can’t afford a therapist on a teacher’s salary, I resorted to a poor substitute (something I also know about, being a teacher). Ursula Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” influenced the setting, plus I really wanted to write about eldritch genitalia without using the word “vagina.” You’ll notice the comments aren’t forgiving; in my defense, my “purple prose” could have been intentional on a meta-level. (It’s not). 365 Tomorrows is an online journal that produces a new speculative fiction every single flipping day. The site would be a great complement to your morning bagel and cup of raktajino.