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Writerly Inspirations: July Nineteenth

This week on the blog we have another collaborative piece–this time written by our fiction and poetry editors. It’s not an exquisite corpse, per se, but was written in a similar style.

To concoct this poem, Amber and Addey texted lines back and forth. It’s a fun way to get some inspiration if you’re feeling a little bit stuck–you never know where a poem or story is going to go when using this method, and usually it’s not where you would expect!

Try collaborating with a writer friend and see how your separate inspirations combine into one creative work, and check out Amber and Addey’s poem below!

Night Rider

by Amber Porter and Addey Vaters

A glimmer, a splash of steel in the night.

Stars twinkle in shimmering red metallic pigment,

copper stringlets woven between fingers.

Frustration escaped her lips in a loud sigh.

Ignorance is bliss they say,

but his ignoring her was far from blissful.

Clouds moved across the sky, shrouding the moon—

the stars now ignoring her, too.

Fate seemed determined to make her feel less than.

No—enough.  It was her turn to do the ignoring.

Turning her back on the moon,

she yanked the car door open.  Plucking keys

from their hiding place, she revved the car and sped away—

leaving him to his Apple illuminated face.

An Update on Corruption!

Take a peek inside the next edition to hear about to the selections and finalists from the editors…

Nonfiction — guest editor Nicole McConnell:

I am filling in for an editor and reading, selecting, and editing nonfiction pieces. I have read selections for previous editions to help with the volume of fiction and poetry. I also worked for a journal in college for a semester and I helped with the nonfiction section, so I have some experience. But, like all corruption in general, with some of the stories submitted, I couldn’t tell if they were real or fake, or how much was real and how much was creative license at work. Nonetheless, the stories that I selected are probably different from the style picked by Nicole Taylor, which will make for an interesting edition. I hope you pray, laugh, cry, understand, and are amazed by the wonderful stories of those whose lives have been corrupted by something. Read about one girl who believes in God once, how elements in a man’s life can be broken down into moments, how a girl lied, how a girl will always be the outlier of her family, and how an angel in red will always be there…

Fiction — Amber Porter:

This journal’s selection ranges from shady business practices, to the corrosion of the human self, and many things in between. While some stories may not appear to be slathered in corruption, there are corrupt hints and inklings spread throughout each piece. I hope you enjoy these seven pieces and the corruption that lies deep beneath their written words.

Poetry — Addey Vaters:

I am so excited for our readers to see what’s in store for issue 2.2!  Even though our themed editions are sometimes hard to edit due to the overarching theme that must be included in each accepted piece, I thought we had some amazing submissions this time around.  The poetry section will have some wonderful takes on corruption — corruption of the soul, of natural beauty, of perceptions — and as always includes some frivolous plays on language.  Readers will get to see work from new writers who have never appeared in the journal before, as well as poems written by memorable poets who have graced the pages of borrowed solace in the past.  Corruption is a conflicted issue with such beautiful language talking about such dark things, but I’m eager for issue 2.2 to get out into the world!

Art – Karen and Nicole McConnell:

Art has been a surprise. In the past, there has been great art, but for this journal there has been amazing art! The artists who submitted really took off with the theme of corruption. This journal, there is unique art that we never published before like interesting collages, different views of people, landscapes, the environment, and the corrupted world surrounding us. My mom and I aren’t going to say too much as we want this journal to be a bit of a surprise like it was for us!

Please stay tuned for the list of stories, poems, and artists who will be featured in issue 2.2 and even more to come as this corrupted edition is being pieced together…

What If I Told You That the Only Way to Be Accepted Is to Be Rejected?

I think that if there is something in my life that has rung true over the years it is exactly that.  The way to acceptance is through rejection.  It seems counter intuitive, doesn’t it?  But I have found this to be the case time and time again.

You can look at it from many different angles.  Unfortunately for us all, in life, there are many forms of rejection.  There are job rejections, love rejections, school rejections, friendship rejections, apartment application rejections, driver’s permit rejections, you name it.  As writers and creatives, we are uniquely suited to being rejected even more than the average human.  It’s an encouraging thing, right?

You might be thinking that the answer to that is “wrong,” but I beg to differ.  Rejections are hard.  They are so, so hard, and when rejections keep stomping on you one after another, after another, it’s easy to let each stomp push you down further and further, but I’ve finally come to a point in my life where I can re-frame how I view rejection when it inevitably comes around.  It’s still painful being rejected, and that re-framing process is painstaking and brings up all sorts of old buried thoughts and emotions, but it’s worth it.

Each rejection – each blaring no that seems to outweigh even the most resounding of yeses, is a turn in your path that will ultimately lead you to the person you are meant to become.  With writing in particular, each no from a literary journal means that your piece is one step closer to finding the yes that the writing deserves.  You don’t want your piece to show up in a journal that won’t tout it to the ends of the Earth because it wasn’t quite the right fit, but it got a yes to meet a page count.  Similarly, you do yourself a disservice by publishing a piece that still needs work – the fine tuning and re-assessing that happens during the final stages of the writing process are where words on the page really start to come to life.

I have experienced an exorbitant amount of rejection in my own life (you can read more about that here) involving everything from grad school applications, to jobs, to freelance work, to a story that is still one of my absolute favorites that I’ve ever written but has been rejected by close to thirty literary magazines at this point.  Rejection is part of life, and to take a leap of faith by clicking “submit” or showing up for that interview means that you could hear a yes or you could hear a no, but either way you are hearing something great (trust me, I don’t even believe it half the time) because whatever the answer, it helps illuminate your next step.

One of the hardest rejections I ever got was for my current job (yes, I, and all of the other borrowed solace editors all have day jobs – this journal doesn’t pay the bills but it feeds our collective creative spirits).  I didn’t get my job the first time around.  I had two rounds of in person interviews (which are incredibly nerve-wracking for even the most seasoned interviewer) plus a phone interview and then got a call where all I got to hear was a big fat no.  I was devastated having already played out a scenario in my mind of future me in my fancy new job, but that initial no gave me some time to evaluate what it was that I really wanted.  So when that yes finally came through – out of the blue, and more than a month after that first no – I knew that this was where I was supposed to be.

So maybe you are getting a lot of no’s right now – putting yourself out there only to be rejected time and time again – but don’t give up.  It takes a lot of no’s to get to that one yes that really matters, and it’s only after learning who we really are through the process of being rejected that we are actually ready for the yes.  And when it comes, it will be a big, resounding yes – even if it seemingly drops right out of the bright blue sky.

Episode 1: Are Your Pants on Fire?

In this episode of borrowed solace: the podcast, you’ll get to hear from all of us editors and learn some fun personal tidbits from each of us — about both writing and non-writing topics — and you’ll also get to hear a little bit more about the idea behind the podcast.

This episode will be live wherever you listen to podcasts shortly. Thanks for listening!

An Interview with the Art Editor

Since we have a special guest art editor for issue 2.2, this week we are featuring an interview with Karen so you can learn more about her. Remember, we are still accepting art (and all other submissions) until July 1st!

NM: Do you think talent for art is a talent born with, or learned?

KM: I believe imagination and creativity is something that you’re born with. Some people are just way more creative than others. I also do believe talent for certain kinds of art is also something someone is born with. Take our family for example — my mother and father are both great artists. As kid I drew a lot and was great at landscapes. I did try creating portraits but they were never my thing, I just didn’t have a knack for them, but my father did. He can draw a face out of thin air, or replicate a photo of a person in no time and it will be perfect. I like to draw nature and broad areas from a sweeping view — where can the eye take me in my artwork? Where is the focus of the lens zooming in and out of focus in my eye? Answering these questions are the things I had talents for.

Now, I am not saying that art can’t be learned. Many people who want to draw, paint, craft, and sculpt can learn those skills. But to create art takes imagination that some people naturally have more of.

NM: What type of art do you like best?

KM: I used to as a kid draw and paint landscapes. In my young adult years, I liked to use acrylic paint and sculpt. Now, in my older adult years, l like to craft. I like to make mesh wreaths out of a few items and let the contrast of colors and this other form of sculpting take me to a new creative place. I also like to make centerpieces, basically any custom floral craft you can find at Michaels or Hobby Lobby, I love doing those myself. I display them around my home, give some to you, Nicole, and help my mother make them for churches or nursing homes and for people to proudly display on their doors, tables, and in their homes. Watching people be amazed with what I can create from wire, flowers, decorative wood, mason jars, lights, and floral picks is what makes me the most happy!

NM: So for this journal so far, what do you think of our art submissions?

KM: I am truly amazed by some of the artwork that was submitted. I wasn’t really sure what it would be like when you asked me to help as the art editor, but now that I have seen the artwork myself, I can say wow. Some of the collages are so interesting, it takes a few moments to see all that is going on. The artwork for the theme of corruption has truly made some lasting impressions on me and it’s amazing to see what people can do with art, pictures, and photography, so please, keep up the good work!

A Writing Prompt

This week I have a writing prompt for you. It’s nothing too outlandish and should, hopefully, be a fun challenge.

Write a short story—or flash fiction piece—that has seamlessly integrated the first ten titles of your current song playlist or watch list.

Remember that you shouldn’t be afraid of wherever your writing takes you!

I hope you all have a good week, and I wouldn’t mind seeing some results of this prompt in our spring journal submissions!

An Exciting Announcement

Drumroll, please…! 

We are thrilled to announce that borrowed solace: the podcast will be coming to a listening platform near you this summer!  This is something that has been, and still is, in the works over here at borrowed solace.  We believe in creating a writing community and immersing ourselves in writing in any way that we can, so what better way to do that than through a podcast?

borrowed solace was founded on the idea of cultivating a moment of time out of our reader’s day-to-day lives to discover solace in writing and literature.  Most of us live hectic non-writing-focused lives and try to squeeze writing in here and there as we have space to do so.  We thought of starting a podcast as a way to make even more space for writing in your life.  With this podcast, our hope is that you are able to dwell in ideas, conversations, and stories centered on creativity while you go through the motions of the day-to-day.  This podcast will allow for moments of borrowed solace while you get ready in the morning, while you’re in the pickup line waiting for your kids to get out of school, or while you scurry about in the kitchen cooking dinner.  It will allow your mind to wander to writing during moments where you might otherwise be focusing on the day’s schedule, or while you work on your non-writing career, day in and day out.

Ultimately, we want this podcast to be for you!  We want you to have a role in this thing, too, because borrowed solace is all about creating a creative community.  From you, dear readers, submitters, writers, dreamers, we ask for your thoughts and questions.  Our goal is to come out with podcasts twice a month and to devote a few moments of each episode to answering your questions or focusing on topics that you care about while also sharing interviews with writers, artists, poets, and other editors.

To submit your thoughts to us, or let us know if you are interested in being featured on the podcast, we have added a brand new page to the journal’s website all about borrowed solace: the podcast. On it, there is information on how you can submit ideas to us.  No submission is off limits, but be forewarned that we may not answer everything that comes through to us on the podcast if it is something very narrow in scope or that we really aren’t knowledgeable about enough to answer. Please also submit your stories, poems, and nonfiction works to us if you are interested in having it read, or reading it yourself, on air!

We have already planted the seeds of a wonderful writing community here amongst our readers, editors, and contributors, and can’t wait to further water the borrowed solace garden with the addition of this podcast!

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to email us. All podcast-related questions can be sent to podcast@borrowedsolace.com.

Weekly Round Up: June Seventh

What has been inspiring me this week? Well, the main thing is making some progress on an upcoming project for borrowed solace that is in the works (it’s a secret for now, but look for an exciting announcement coming your way next week!), but there have been some other tidbits of life that are inspiring me that I actually can talk about, too.

I go through phases where I read a lot, and phases where I don’t. Similarly, I go through phases with watching certain TV shows, and other phases where I haven’t watched anything in weeks. This seems to be how I roll for most things in my life — podcasts, crocheting, barre classes — you name it.

There’s only really one thing that I consistently come back to, and that’s music.

So this week I have some songs that are inspiring me (which probably isn’t surprising given that in my last weekly round up post I focused on music, too) as well as a few random one-offs from the list above.

The first thing that’s been feeding my creativity is a particular song by Ryn Weaver. I loved her first album when it came out, but since The Fool was released, Weaver has been on a bit of a hiatus. This song came out last year but I didn’t discover it until I watched the movie Someone Great on Netflix (which is worth a watch — not my favorite, but had a killer soundtrack and a good message if you can get through the sometimes clunky delivery) and it’s quickly become the newest song I play on repeat.

The song is called “Reasons Not to Die,” and I think the reason I love it so much is because it does something that I think all good art does to some extent — acknowledge that we’re all a little messed up, but that despite that, life is still worth living. It’s a good one — give it a listen and I can virtually promise you won’t be disappointed.

Another song that’s been on repeat for me this week is “scared” by Jeremy Zucker. I was introduced to this song via an Instagram story from one of my cousins and it is a song that hit me right in feels with how much it reinforces an idea that keeps showing up in my life lately (for more on that, you can read this blog post). It has a wonderful message, and also sounds really pretty, so that’s a win-win if you ask me!

Another thing that has inspired me (and shocked me) is something I binge-listened to this past week. I guess you could say that “The Dream” got me squarely back on the podcast train, although who knows if I’ll find another one that will capture my interest in quite the same way (spoiler alert — I did and have been listening to another podcast non stop for the past few days). I don’t want to give too much away, but this podcast is all about multi-level marketing companies (MLMs) and tells a lot of different stories about the people who ‘work’ for them as well as the history of these types of organizations. I found it sparking ideas in me about topics I might want to write about — whether creatively or to purely investigate whatever I find intriguing — and inspiring me with the way it kept everything so human focused and wove emotion and care into sometimes difficult topics and conversations. I think that’s something we all can take inspiration from in both writing and life.

So these are some of the things that have been inspiring me lately. I find that even when I don’t feel like writing or creating, life has a way of leading me towards inspiration that spurs me to do so anyway, and I think that is a beautiful thing — something worth writing about in and of itself!

Hone in on Your Creativity!

Experience art once a month to gain creativity!

Some places to go:

Museum

Concert

To see a film

Theater

Local monuments

National parks

State parks

Go for a hike

A festival

Some place magical

Don’t just go and look at paintings or try to find art—feel art, it will find you. Embrace the emotions. Study the craft. 

Any artist knows it takes hard work, patience, silence, a flood of emotions, or a lack of emotions, and sooo much time to create—and it helps if you have natural talent. And if you don’t, the great thing about art is everyone can do it at any level. I learned how to paint like I learned how to ride a bike (both of which, I learned from my father).

So, think about the passion—where does the artist’s love of art come from, the technique—are they self-taught or professionally taught, the sacrifice art takes—working a full-time job could mean art is clocking in during personal time (unless you get to create art for your job, in which case I envy you).

Artists learn from other artists, in my opinion, just as writers learn from other writers. So, how can experiencing art once a month help you?

Writers can learn to walk into a painting. A character from a play can inspire a creation of your own. Music expresses more ways to say things in beautiful ways like poetry, since writing song lyrics is a form of poetry. Every writer can learn something from art. I am a painter, and what I feel and what I want to say I can conveying through a painting.

So when I go to an art festival, I carry around a small pocket book. I jot down what I see—colors, shapes, animals, animated people, clothes people are wearing, face paint on children, the Ferris wheel turning high in the sky, and the type of art I would like to recreate but differently and in my own style. I take these creative notes home and I can write by using them as prompts, or start a painting by trying to imitate the Ferris wheel as a clock with the people in the little buckets as the numbers.

While sitting at an art museum, I sit in front of a painting and use it as my muse to write a story. What kind of world would that painting be, what characters would exist there, and I attempt to give the story the tone the painting gives in the form of emotion.

Or while hiking, sit down to sketch the chipmunks chasing each other. Or write a story about how the leaves of trees whisper to each other.

The greatest inspiration for me is when I am connected to mother nature because she teaches us what beauty in art is after all.

Submissions Update

We have barely a month left of open submissions, so we thought we would check-in to see how it is going with each editor.

From our poetry editor:

Submissions for borrowed solace issue 2.2 are intriguing, as always!  I love our themed editions because it adds another layer to whatever I am reading — corruption seems to be a theme that everyone found inspirational, but I would love to see even more poems that adhere to this theme.

From our fiction editor:

Submissions are going, reading through lots of interesting stories, but one thing is lacking; the theme. No one quite hits the theme for me, but I still have hope as I continue to work my way through submissions.

From our art editor:

There has been some awesome art this time around, the only problem is there isn’t enough art to go around. So, please submit more art that you find unique and corrupt at it’s being. 

From our nonfiction editor:

I am finding the same thing as Amber to be true, a lot of good stories, but hardly any that relate to the theme of Corruption. With almost a month left until submissions close, there are still so many possibilities that could come my way.

What is important to remember is we love publishing both unpublished writers as well as well-seasoned writers who are always working to develop their craft, and it is wonderful to see the ideas and stories people come up with. We enjoy reading the interesting lives of other people and experiencing the beauty that inspires them to create art or take a photo.

We want to enforce the theme a little more, corruption is with us every day through people around us, the news, the media, and even crime happening outside your window at this very moment. We want to read more of these things and we appreciate every submission we get. We are still, honestly, shocked by who submits to our journal and how many submissions we get. So even if you are turned away, please try again, because in this corrupt world you never know.

-editors, borrowed solace