On the State of Things

Hello, friends,

It's been a hot minute since we've blogged anything, and a lot has happened since then: we've put out new issues, have new calls for submissions. and are hosting quite a few events in the upcoming months. Write Like You're Alive sign-ups are happening through the end of the month. 

But really, isn't it sort of... hard to care sometimes? 

I have seen on Twitter the lamentations of my writer friends (LitTwit is a great community for the most part, btw): How can I write, or feel comfortable promoting my work, with all the atrocities happening in the country and the world right now? And I feel it, too, in my bones, a deep and dark sense of dread, a burnout that makes it feel as though nothing matters anymore, that we're doomed, and why bother? I find it hard to care about anything now, and have become reckless with things- drinking, money management, health stuff. Writing seems like a ridiculous way to spend any bit of my time.

But, friends, remember: writing is a political act, and writing, promoting oneself, and finding joy in the smallest of places is not only political, but part of the Resistance.

The people in power do not want you to be happy. It is easier for them if you are tired, beaten down, apathetic, unhappy. When you reduce someone to nothing, they're easier to control.

It's hard to fight all the time. It is. And so I hope that you will find ways to not lose yourself in the despair of the world, and find ways to shine. Do things you enjoy doing, and give yourself permission to enjoy them: watch a movie, go to a park, float in a pool for 12 hours (wear sunscreen, though). This past weekend, I indulged: a botanical garden, a barbeque, an amusement park. Time spent resting my head on my husband's shoulder.

Your activism is important, but so is your threshold for all the rage or sadness or whatever it is you're feeling. Don't be afraid to take time for yourself. If you're doing things right, your actions will speak for you.

And I hope you will keep writing. And promoting yourself. Let us know if we can help you in any way. I always want you to be writing like you're alive.


Kolleen Carney Hoepfner

Managing Editor

On Reflection

Hello friends!

I am writing to you from the depths of Facebook jail; I have been banned for disparaging men on a post about being banned for disparaging men. Will wonders ever cease! This, of course, put a damper on my morning, because I had to set up a secondary account in order to post for both Zoetic Press and Drunk Monkeys, the journal I run. Which made me late for my hair appointment. Which made me unable to make a coffee. Suffice to say, things are dire here in California. 

California is on fire. I am not sure if you know this, but it is. There are fires all around where I live, just far enough away that I am not in any danger, but just close enough that my entire family is sick from the smoke and the ash. It seems almost... I won't say fitting, maybe metaphorical?... that this is happening at this time of year, the end of 2017, a year that was in itself a fire. A dumpster fire. My heart grieves for the destruction and hopes for the safety of all that are being affected. It's always a tragedy, but there is something about tragedies happening at this time of year that make them cut a little bit deeper.

I am reflecting on the year, on things that made me happy, things I enjoyed. That's what this post was going to be about, like a Best Of round up, or a Gift Guide. But I started thinking about how difficult things can be, and how I took comfort in the smallest of things to get me through. 

I will admit that I have not been reading as much as I should be lately, but I will tell you that  the best book I read this year was The Art of Misdiagnosis: Surviving My Mother's Suicide by Gayle Brandeis. It's a tender and heartbreaking book, and the range of emotion Brandeis feels as she processes her mother's death and her life before and after it are familiar and devastating. I highly recommend it. 

The second best book I read this year was, well, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, which I admit I only read to spoil the end of the series. I just couldn't wait the 8 weeks or whatever.  

I lose a lot of my reading attention to the television, and with the dawn of streaming I have managed to avoid most holiday- themed commercials, which usually bring me to tears because I am an over-emotional silly goose. Losing myself in Twin Peaks: The Return and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (and, of course, the very heavy newest season of Bojack Horseman) helped me deal with the exhaustion of real life: family drama, the news cycle, big changes. 

As for a gift guide: I have nothing this year. I suggest giving the gift of yourself to others: your time, your attention, your empathy. We need each other to get through this life, and we need to extend, as much as we healthily can, our love and friendship. You, reader, are a gift, and the world needs you. And, as that Fruity Pebbles commerical once said: 'Tis the season for sharing. 

Have a lovely holiday, whatever you may celebrate. 

And one last word of advice: don't look at your credit report until, like, March.


P.S. I would be remiss to not mention our newest issue of NonBinary Review, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, which is available  now for only $1.99. I should also mention our Patreon page, where you can help support  us for a monthly donation with several levels of perks, and our one time donation option, where you can... one- time donate. You can even get our newest chapbook series, Viable, via those two options. 

On Being Thankful

Hello, friends!

Thanksgiving season has come and gone, as it does every year, and amidst the grogginess of too many carbs, a bit too much alcohol, and a real lack of responsibilities for four days, I can't help but feel a sense of extreme gratitude, far more encompassing than years past. 

Thanksgiving has always been difficult for me; I spent most of my adolescence and early adulthood with a serious eating disorder, making holidays centered around food to be a real hard time (I shared a very moving essay by Patrick O'Neil about holidays for people with EDs). Coupled with my familial anxiety and general "eh" feelings about turkey and football, I've always maintained that my best Thanksgiving would be staying in pajamas and eating a frozen pizza. And guess what: I got to do that this year. Due to wedding costs (thankful for the wedding, not thankful for the costs), travel was out of the question, so my husband, son, and I stayed home and ate whatever we wanted. It was glorious. I highly recommend everyone do this at least once in their lives. My stress levels for Thanksgiving were negative 50. 

I guess I am feeling thankful because, despite of all that's happened this year, I find myself surrounded by amazing things. Working on NonBinary Review has allowed me to be a part of a larger literary community, which is all I've ever really wanted. Working with Lise, who has always been gracious and generous and kind (and who is always up for an amazing vent- session) is such a joy to me; I can't really describe how much it means. I guest edited our Snopes issue, which was unreal; seriously, everything we received was incredible, and I was really proud of that issue.

Speaking of proud: thank you for letting us showcase your work this year (and years past!). We love all of our contributors, and with every new issue we are happier with what we receive and what we publish. In this little corner of the literary world, we are content. Today, we announced our Pushcart Prize nominees. I hope you will congratulate them; they deserve it. 



With the holidays continuing, I know things can be tough financially, but I do hope you'll keep our Patreon in mind; we recently revamped it with all new perks, including access to Viable, our new chapbook series, as well as bonus content for our podcast The Literary Whip. I hope you'll check it all out. 

This year has been hard for a lot of us, but I am trying to hold on to what is dear to me. My little family is safe and together at last. My friends are kind and true. And of course, the lit community at large is an exhilarating place to be, and I urge you to explore it and join it.  My world is rocked by journals like Drunk Monkeys, Five 2 One, Glass Poetry, Luna Luna Magazine... really too many to name, I get so overwhelmed with it all. The writing I've read this year was mostly born from fear and chaos, but it has all been so beautiful. Writers are truly heroes. 

I hope this letter finds you well. And I hope you're looking forward to our next NonBinary Review issue, Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle, which is coming at you fast: Friday, to be exact. Stay tuned for that. 

Be well, my friends. 

Kolleen Carney Hoepfner

Managing Editor