It’s been an incredible three months. I had to learn so much to publish our first issue, from publishing agreements to web design. And I read so many amazing works that inspired me. It was difficult to narrow it down to six writers but there was a reason behind my desire for a small, manageable number of writers per issue. I want to partner with the writers to get visibility for their work.
I also want to support and build the writing community. Stories and poems build empathy and connection. I love what good stories do to my soul and want to share that with readers.
I’m not a big Instagram user (yet) but I have been hearing about the writing community on Instagram so I decided to give it a try. Part of the reason is that I am committed to increasing the visibility of writers on Tangled Locks Journal and part is because I have a deep love for graphic design.
So I took a climate change essay I wrote and made an Instagram deck. I’ve pasted the images from the deck below.
I feel like the images brought that essay to life. This essay was a deeply personal perspective on #climatechange that haunts me. It was a finalist in this years 350 Madison essay competition and was written so quickly that I didn’t have a copy when it was selected. I wrote it into the submission form. But really, I had been a writing in my head on every walk and every storm.
I took most of the photos myself over the course of a couple of years. When designing the piece, I cropped the photos to make the water take up at least two thirds of the images to add tension to the images.
We have a few weeks left for submissions for our first issue. The response has exceeded my expectations. I am honored.
I would love to hear if you are on Instagram. If you are, I would love to follow you!
Why does the written word trick us into thinking our work is finished before it is? A sculptor would not mistake a rough for her sculpture. Perhaps it’s because words can be polished before the piece is.
Rewrites are the writer’s chisels and pumice.
I have been enjoying Brick Literary Journal’s YouTube Series, The Craft of Editing. The videos are beautifully produced discussions between writers and editors. The videos often include a close reading of the work before and after editing. The work being read has already been revised and yet, the final edits are sometimes quite small and always quite powerful. The videos have me thinking about my own writing process. I often create polished sounding first drafts that have gaps in the story. Polished words come easier than the cohesive story. I think that’s because sometimes what ends up on the page is prose shorthand for the deeper, more complex story in my mind. Reader’s questions help me see what is missing or confusing. But the hardest thing for me to do is let go of language that I love (even when it pulls the reader from the story).
The videos also have me thinking about the role I play when critiquing the work of other writers. I am an active member of critiquing circles and enjoy giving and receiving feedback. There’s an art to both. When giving feedback, I try and ask questions and share my experience as a reader so the writer can see if their work is having the intended impact. When my work is being read, I listen carefully for places of confusion or boredom. I also try to get multiple perspectives on a piece and look for patterns. That stops me from trying to rewrite for a single reader. Such is the curse of a writer with people pleasing tendencies!
I love the wordpress community! Such great writing and encouraging words. I’ve also been working in building community in other platforms.
There’s a growing community of writers on Twitter. Common hashtags include #Writing, #WritingCommunity #WritersLift #AmWriting. If you are on twitter, I would love to connect! My twitter handle is @teresaberkowitz
Because I am also looking for writers for TangledLocksJournal.com I also spend a lot of time reading short stories and poetry. Each night, I highlight one author, story and publication that I have come across in my daily travels. I post that under the #BedTimeReading.
Tangled Locks Journal is seeking submissions for our June publication. We are looking for short stories, poetry, memoir essays and creative nonfiction. For more information, check out our submission page.
I have a routine. I rise before the sun. I sit and sip my coffee slowly until it’s lukewarm while I tell time by listening to the traffic change on our street. A quiet time in a family of night owls. Gracie the cat stares at me until I set her breakfast down and then she pretends she didn’t even want it. I catch up on Twitter and Facebook.
Then I let my mind wander. Small blessings come into focus like annoyed-joy I felt when my husband and son woke me up with loud laughter last night. Or the gratitude I feel that I have taught my son to reflect on challenges and find the gift within. Or how much I am enjoying reorganizing my home and getting rid of what I no longer want or need.
My organization is more than striving towards a clutter-free life. It’s about unlocking my soul.
I am building spaces for creativity. My drawing and painting supplies are all together now. Gorgeous beads and fabrics are reminding me that I once made a living beautifying the world. I have moved the binder of first draft of a novel and handwritten notes out of a bin in the basement and placed it by my computer.
I think about my life.
Once I was a chemist who ran away to be an artist.
I sit with those words and know that is not quite the truth.
Once an artist became a chemist. Her parents insisted that she needed to do something practical to pay the bills. She could alway have her hobbies, they said.
She was a dutiful daughter. She locked the magic of her soul in a beautiful box. She forgot about it. Then one day, she found it and opened it. The thought of closing it up was unbearable and so she ran away to a beautiful crystal city 3000 miles away.
They were wrong. Words and beads and pencil lines turned into rent and food and clothes.
I’m not sure how it happened but as time passed, I reframed life in San Francisco as prolonged youthful escapades. I told myself that I was grown up and ready to settle down. Slowly, I fell into an old pattern. Art last. Writing last.
Once an artist became an executive.
Then she rediscovered herself and the cycle begins again.
I have reached the last air-chilled drop of my morning coffee. It’s colder than usual and the traffic is louder. More time has passed than I planned. I must go. I have a short story to revise.
I just had a new work accepted in an anthology. My heart skipped a beat when I found out. This is my second piece that will be published.
I am a long way from being jaded or bored with people reading my work. I can barely contain my eagerness when I ask family, friends and other writers to give me their feedback.
“Have you read it yet?” I text with the persistence of a child on a long ride who wants to know are we there yet.
I hope two things: that I keep publishing and that I feel a thrill every time. I will write more about the new piece as more information on the anthology becomes available but this has me thinking about the first story I ever published.
In April of 2018, my short story, The Closing, was published by The Esthetic Apostle. It’s a lovely publication featuring poetry, prose, artwork and photography. They were a new publication when I sent them my work.
Last night, I spent some quiet hours surfing around past issue reading poetry and prose and loving the artwork and photographs.