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Say “Hello” to Issue 4.2, Tamed!

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to let you know that issue 4.2, Tamed, has arrived! This is our ninth edition of the journal (can you believe it?) and is full of wonderful poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. We’re excited to share this edition with you, so please snag yourself a copy by clicking on the cover below.

As always, thanks so much for your support over the years. We wouldn’t be here without you!

Important Announcements

The Fall 2021 theme journal tamed will be released this coming Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. We thank the authors and poets for their stunning works. The editors are excited to release the tenth edition of borrowed solace! It has been a lot of work and a lot of fun.


We are working on a collection of the best works published by borrowed solace, it will be an ebook and in print. So please look out for those announcements as you may be featured in this book! Special essays and interviews with the authors/poets/artists are a part of our goal for this book.


We will be coming back with the podcast soon. Stay tuned for new episodes currently in the works of being made by our host and editor Addey. If you want your story or poem read on the podcast, email me us and we will make it happen! Also, if you have an interesting topic or work in publishing, we would like to hear from you as well, you could be featured in an interview on the podcast.


Don’t forget our first edition of borrowed solace is available in print and can be bought from our store.


Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and social media Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up with the latest news!

Your Attention, Please

If you are considering submitting to the fall edition of borrowed solace, now is your chance! We are closing submissions this weekend–your last day to submit is July 31st.

Remember to keep the fall journal’s theme in mind if you are submitting. The theme for the fall is tamed. You can find a bit more about the theme here.

That’s all I’ve got for today’s post–short and sweet so you have time to go write! See you next time.

If Emily Dickinson Can Do It—So, Can We!

I’ve used “ephemera,” the fancy word for pieces of trash, for years to dash off a note, line, or poem. What I did not know was that it wasn’t my clever idea. Or my generation’s…or the generation’s before them. I write on napkins and receipts when in a hurry. Emily Dickinson appears to have used envelopes and scraps from notes. Imagine though…Emily Dickinson, the queen, the reason I use the dash—and she writes like me. *dramatic sigh*

Now, this matters because of shape and form. Dickinson’s “Letter Poems” as scholars call them, must have been thought out beforehand and/or the shape must have influenced the brevity and form of the verse. Below, is the picture of “In this short life.” It is a triangular shape that seems to be the flap of an envelope. So—if you do not have a bill from which you can spare the envelope flap—I will provide a form that you can fit in your poem.

Manuscript View for Amherst – Amherst Manuscript # 252 – In this short life – asc:612 – p. 1 (edickinson.org)

J1287 – In this short Life

In this short Life
That  only lasts an hour
How much — how little — is
Within our power

  

Now, what does this form cause? It brings a funnel effect and for a killer poem, the poem must end with a killer word. Think of the most pressing image or question on your mind. Mine is trying to fit everything in a day—sunrise to sunset—how do I do it? That right there will not fit the space. And let’s not even count if I get all “poetic.” 

So, take your first thoughts, write them down, and then cut unnecessary words. This is an excellent lesson in revision in one of the most visual ways possible. When your poem/question fits, what word does it land on? Is it vibrant and echoing? That is precisely what you want. One long line funneling into a powerful word.

The Second Example is “One note from one Bird.”

Manuscript View for Amherst – F1478A (edickinson.org)

One note from
One Bird
Is better than
a Million Word –
A scabbard
holds need has –
but one
sword

Another triangle, but at a different angle. What does this version hold for form? It seems in Dickinson’s there is still a very powerful end word and one that resounds with history. This shape allows for a longer line almost directly in the middle. Arguably, this is the turn, so it was most likely partially planned. For our purposes, let’s devise our longest line first and our last word and build backward.

What word did you end on and what was your middle line? Was it a turn in the poem, flipping back what came before? The comments are burning for you to type in!

You’re Not As Far Behind as You Think You Are

Sometimes it feels like becoming a successful writer is a race to the finish line, but remember: you are the tortoise, not the hare.

Some days I feel like it takes all I can do to not fall behind on everything. It’s hard enough to go through the day to day — work, food, pets, bills, exercise, grocery shopping, errand running, sleeping, paying side hustle, non-paying side hustle (is it still a side-hustle, then?), editing, reading — you know, the usual list of a million things, give or take, that we all have rattling around in our brains.

I find when I have one of those days — days where I am working non-stop on x, y, or z and feel uber-productive before I turn to look at the clock and see how behind I am — I get caught up in feeling like I’m never going to get to where I want to be. I still have a,b,c,d, and the rest of the alphabet to get through. Why is getting to the end of the list taking so dang long?

Days like this make it particularly hard to not to get too far into my head. I can easily start to feel bad that I am so busy surviving that there is no room for creating. Sometimes I look at writers and creatives I admire and the astonishing number of things they have coming up — events, workshops, signings, releases, publications — and think to myself how on earth do they do it all? This goes for both agented full-time writers and unagented little writers like me who are trying to publish while stumbling now and then trying to build their list of writing credits.

Writing is hard. Life is hard. And we all have to deal with at least one of those things, even if you’re not a writer. So, there’s that.

Sometimes I have to remind myself of this. Writing is hard. That’s why so many people don’t do it. That’s why so many people give up and move on to something else. Yes, I have my day job which is one of the most un-writerly things I do day to day where I do math and create spreadsheets and update websites and maintain databases of complicated information and deal with state regulations. It’s hard, too, but in a different way. Yet a lot more people have jobs like mine than write, and I’m not giving up on the writing side of my life. At least not any time soon.

When you’re feeling as if you’ve fallen behind, remember that you’re actually ahead. You’re ahead of a lot of people who will never even try writing, and ahead of people who gave it a fair shot and still thought it was too hard. You’re right where you should be, not behind. Not for your personal writing journey and your ultimate destination.

So don’t get overwhelmed, tackle one thing at a time on that mile-long to-do list. And remember that writing is hard — if it was easy everyone would be doing it.

Previously published on Medium

Elysian

Keep a journal of words—just for words—you are either inspired by, learned recently, how an author used a word within a sentence that made the word stand out, prompts you want to someday write about, or words that have an interesting meaning, like elysian. 

You can use this journal for inspiration and writing prompts when you need it. If I am stuck, I will flip through mine and an idea usually sparks from the pages to my fingertips and from my fingertips to the keyboard and from the keyboard to the creation of a story being unfolded. And this is what I call magic. Letters are the pixie and words are the dust, and together they create the story built from its magical pixie dust.

As a writer we are thieves of words, don’t be shy, those beautiful words are meant from someone to take, so have fun filling your journal with words simply made from 26 letters. If you already have one of these journals, share a few words from it in the comments below! 

Image from Pintrest.

Last Week to Pre-Order and Giveaway Winners

Have you pre-ordered your print copy of issue 1.1, borrowed solace: Hinterlands? If not, there’s still time! Head on over to the store, or click this link to pre-order your own hard copy of our very first issue. Pre-ordering comes with a few perks, including a discount on the sale price of the journal, a free sticker, and a digital download of an exclusive submissions tracker that we made just for you!

In other news, as promised, we are giving away three copies of Hinterlands to those who liked and followed us on social media. The giveaway closed on July 1st, and the winners have been selected (see our executive editor Nicole’s sophisticated way of choosing winners at random in the picture below.)

The winners are Devin, Ken Wetherington, and Rachel Hetrick! Check your social media messages so we can contact you to get the books shipped.

Thanks to everyone who entered to giveaway and those who have pre-ordered so far. Don’t forget to snag a copy of Hinterlands yourself if you haven’t already!

Season 3 Update

Season three of borrowed solace: the podcast has officially come to a close! Thanks for sticking with us through three whole seasons of the podcast–we’ve loved building the borrowed solace community through audio. We are going to come back with season four of the podcast in the fall, and it’s going to be better than ever, so stay tuned!

Writing With “Personally Hot” Topics

Writing with “hot” topics, and those that I say are “personal” encompass everything from grief to extreme joy. When I say something is “personal,” I define it as something that resonates deeply within us. So deeply, that it is hard to talk about and certainly hard to write about—maybe even to think about! 

For example, I have been writing about loss lately. Sometimes, this brings back unwanted memories, repressed memories, little details I did not know would stick with me. And I will give the opposite scenario, joy, I feel an overwhelming connection seeing old friends again—my heart feels near bursting, but my pen is not. And that is perfectly normal. 

If you are struggling with a “hot” topic. If it makes you ill, hurts too much, brings back flashbacks, put it away. Now. Just file it away in a physical drawer or in a file in your memory. You can even promise to get back to it out loud if you need to. I am not saying forget about it. I am saying be good to yourself. You will know in your gut, in your heart, when you are ready to reveal your truth and your emotion. That is both a brave and scary thing to do.

If you are in the new stages of that hot, fierce, topic, you might want to journal. Catalogue your feeling and the events as you perceived them. What you remember, how you felt while holding the chipped cup while you got news of… But journal—do not craft. Ease your mind. The only way to write authentically and to be able to tell your story is to process it. That means talking to a therapist, a grief counselor, a friend, a favorite teddy bear. I am not poking fun—you have to do what you have to do stay whole. Writers in the past have failed to keep up with their mental and emotional health to disastrous results. We are not them. Process those emotions in a healthy manner. Breathe, yoga, journal, paint…do what you need to do. Then, you are ready for the next step.

The next step, after days, weeks, months, years, will be to un-file those emotions and situations and look at them fresh. If they overwhelm you. Chances are it is still too soon. Put them back in the drawer.

If you feel like, yes, they hurt, but I NEED to get this down on paper, be gentle. Do not pick a form or a length. This will be more than freewriting, but it will form itself as to how you can emotionally deal with the subject matter. That means YOU DO NOT JUDGE YOURSELF. That is the hardest part. All of the I should have told him/her/they that I loved them, or I shouldn’t have told him/her/they that I loved them… will bubble up. Ease through it. Do not have a rush of feelings that are uncontrollable. If you do, walk away. Come back in an hour or day. Drink your favorite beverage. This is brave, extremely difficult work.

So, we analyze the facts first, what happened, how do we feel, maybe look at the old journals, maybe not. Then, details, emotional truths, lessons, anything that sort drifts into your mind. This might be where form or genre starts occurring.  

NOW—what if we can’t use “I”—what if that is too close? Then, you might not be creating nonfiction. There is no hate in that. Personas are brilliant tools. I have stand-in characters and narrators that are dealing with MY emotions and situations, but that are certainly not me. I have used Darth Vader and Flick the Fairy. Both sets have been published, so do not worry about the dirty publication fear right now. 

What really resonates with readers, and what will resonate with you as you write and as you hear how you touch others, is authenticity and details. Share that image of the shabby, dirty periwinkle hospital gown—you just do not have to do it as yourself or with the names of others. Share your real, gritty and grimy, feeling. Be messy, that will touch your reader in immeasurable ways.

Always be gentle with yourself. While you are writing and while you are reading the piece after it has been published. Raw emotions will be there. I sometimes cry while I read published work about my losses. That too is normal and okay.

Always remember that your work is important and needed. Your words will help others in similar situations process their ‘hot’ material, their strong emotions that are overwhelming them. Most importantly, your words will give them my favorite word, “balm.” We are writers. Never forget that we change the world one word at a time and one person at a time. Remember, that person can also be you.