The Storm Experience that Wreaked Solace (and Some Submission Updates)

If you would not like to read the experiences, scroll down to the important information at the end about submissions!

My brother (third-shift worker), 8/10/2020

I woke up with the house shaking, swaying, shifting, my fan cut off in mid-spin, and my tired mind raced with what could be making a deafening howling sound. I ripped the covers off and tried to walk unbalanced to the front living room window. There I saw tree branches whipping the truck, leaves and sticks racing through the road on the wind going by, and whole trees being snapped in half and pulled up from the earth to crash with thunder to the ground. I immediately called you freaking out. Seeing where you were and the amount of damage raging outside was so shocking, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

My next-door neighbor, Barb, 8/10/2020

I was so terrified, I took my dog and we hid in the bathroom, cowering in the tub. Wishing all of the rain, thunder, noise, wind, horror to be washed away. I have survived many storms in Iowa, but this storm truly terrified me, never have I felt my house shake with such force.

Neighbor three streets over, Tom, 8/10/2020

I was watching the news, eating a bowl of ice cream for my afternoon snack. I slowly rocked in the recliner, I am a bit deaf, so the TV is loud enough to drown out my neighbors, the busy street, and anything else. I didn’t notice the storm outside until I heard a crack so loud it made me wonder if the TV was broken. I stood up to get the remote when another crack sounded. I muted the TV and then a bang felt by the entire house, I looked over to the left and a tree rushed down onto the house and my kitchen was gone, just wiped from the side of the house. Nothing is left now but a tarp hanging off the house as a silent reminder: I need to turn down the TV.

Me, Nicole, 8/10/2020

I was in no hurry to make my way more east to my parent’s house. I was to spend the week for my birthday up there, taking a motorcycle class, and getting my license, my small but rewarding birthday gift to myself. I was jamming to music when I noticed to the right, a very large wall of clouds and rain and thunder. There was no rain yet, but if the winds switched, it would be raining in no time. Ellie Mae and Thunder Storm were peacefully sleeping in the back seat and I thought nothing of it and kept driving my steady pace. About 30 minutes go by and a large gust of wind hits me from behind, the semi-truck in front of me swerving all over the road and made me swerve to try and gain control back over my own vehicle too. A large crash from the farm on the left and a storage grain steel building crumbles to the ground, signs bend over, and large billboards, are blown through. With two grips firmly on the wheel and the semi-truck now controlled and pulled over on the side, I slowly crept up to a speed I could manage. My dogs fully alert, Ellie in the passenger seat and Thunder’s two front paws leaning on the armrest and the rest of his body on the backseat, were worried. As corn was pushed to the ground, cars and trucks on the side slowed and forced their way through the wind looking odd, as if some invisible force was holding them back, and some force was pushing me forward. I got to Dubuque safely, I talked to my freaking out brother, who had to chainsaw people out from their houses and to their cars on the street. 14 days later, damage to the roof, foundation, truck, and outside décor has the insurance and city engineer threatening to make my house unlivable as many of the houses behind me are. I only got electricity Monday, the 24, and still no internet. The derecho storm of 2020 in Iowa, will be marked in the brains of those who lived through the land hurricane forever.

Everyone who submitted should have received by now a notification from Green Submissions, please check there. Next week an email will be sent with an acceptance note and revisions/edits for the upcoming fall journal. This theme of mysticism fits so well because one thing after another seems to get stranger and weirder about this year. For those who were not accepted, we are very honored you submitted and were glad to read the talents out there. You can resubmit to the non-themed journal with submissions opening in October. Follow us on social media @borrowedsolace for much more information and updates (we’re even on TikTok and posted a video of what my neighborhood looks like now if you’d like to give us a follow!)

Ready for Fall

We here at borrowed solace are ready for fall, how about you? Fall brings lots of things that all of us editors appreciate, but, most importantly, it brings the fall issue of borrowed solace!

We’re working hard to finalize submissions, figure out the fall design, and get the journal out soon. In the meantime, if you are unsure whether your piece(s) have been accepted, be sure to log into the submissions manager for updates.

Are you ready for pumpkin spice, bonfires, changing leaves, crisp mornings, and fall borrowed solace? I hope you are because it’s coming at you soon! Stay tuned for more updates here on the blog and on all of our social media. And, of course, have a very happy Friday.

A Mystical Update

We are excited to read from our submitters about what truly mystifies them in this world. If you missed the workshop where we talked about the upcoming theme, you can email us at editors@borrowedsolace.com to get the workshop handout if you would like one sent to you. Just put “handout” in the SUBJECT field with a quick message, “I would like to be sent the workshop handout.”

You can also listen to the podcast we published this week–an episode with a quick update and recap of the workshop. You will have to watch for upcoming events–we plan to have more workshops in the future! If you have a great topic you would like to see us cover in a workshop, you can always email us or submit a contact form on the website for us to review.

Don’t forget: if you want to submit an article for the blog, you can do so as well in green submissions.

Last little tidbit, next week we will have a print book in our hands for proofing!! Stay tuned on how print is coming along for the very first journal we ever published online, and what recent journal might get published in hard copy.

Submissions Are Open

…and the fall 2020 theme is Mysticism!

This may be a hard noun, word, abstract concept to conquer. But this team of editors believe in you! Look below to see what each editor is looking for. All we ask is that you have fun with writing and submitting these stories, poems, and art.

fiction editor Amber Porter:

I’m not asking for much, just what mysticism means to you. I want to be mystified.

poetry editor Addey Vaters:

For me, the theme of mysticism doesn’t need to be direct. Sure, send me your poems re-imagining ancient myths and telling spooky stories, but also send me your poems about lost loves that still haunt, magical days spent in the sunshine, and everyday life described in fantastical ways. The idea of mysticism may seem like it has to entail a surreal or fairytale experience, but I’m most interested in poems that make the mundane and the mystical collide.

nonfiction editor Nicole McConnell:

Telling the real tale of mysticism might be a struggle, so I am looking for anything that has brought magic to your life, mystery, or even the paranormal. I want to see what kind of magic you have found in life, a turning point of when faith stopped or when you started to believe, a good and real ghost story encounter, a scary and mysterious story. I want to be mystified as well because everything is a little bit more possible with a little bit of magic and this universe is filled with it.

art

What seems magical, abstract, paranormal, strange, concrete, and so much more around you? We want to see art and photos of the strange, yet not strange, world we live and the art we can create from that strangeness.

To submit, visit our submissions manager. Happy submitting!

If you are feeling unsure about what to write, or if your story fits in with our theme, here are some examples of words/feelings/ideas that could be a good mystical fit:

Stay Tuned for Writing Workshops

*We are going to be hosting some free virtual writing workshops in the coming weeks! If you are interested, be sure to follow us on social media for all the details.*

This past weekend Nicole and I attended a virtual poetry workshop with Iowa City Poetry. It was a refreshing change of pace from the hum drum that has become everyday life during the pandemic. Something to look forward to after a week of working in pajamas and watching all of Big Little Lies (I’m speaking for myself here, but Nicole has probably watched her fair share of binge-worthy shows over the past several weeks, too.)

The workshop was unique in that it was dealing with how to write about loss. Specifically the losses that we are all going through right now–the little losses. It can be hard to hold space to grieve the loss of normalcy that we are all grappling with. This is especially hard when so many are dealing with what seems like much more heart-wrenching losses. Some have lost jobs and family members to COVID-19. But that doesn’t mean that the little losses don’t affect us all as we go about our day to day lives.

In this workshop, we focused on those little losses, listing the things that we’ve lost or are missing right now and contrasting them with where we are physically right now–at home at the kitchen table, at our messy desk, staring into a blue-lit computer screen.

I found this workshop to be a wonderful reminder of what it is to create and write. It was amazing to encounter other writers and creatives who were sad about not getting to go work everyday, musing about how the world seemed quieter and louder all at once, and ultimately taking an hour and half out of their Sunday to write and talk about it. I would up with three and a half pages of scribbles about all of this and a poem that somewhat reflects how I am feeling:

I miss knowing I don’t have to be alone.

Since Nicole and I both participated, she wanted to share her thoughts as well:

“What I learned from this writing workshop is two things: what writing can do in a crisis like this for people feeling lots of emotions, and how to write about a sense of where you are. I didn’t write anything like Addey did. I have no motivation to really write now as I am trying to deal with an over-whelming list of things to do. So, what I did learn is that writing can notice and name what you are dealing with, and the page you wrote those thoughts and feelings on is the space that can hold them. I never thought of a piece of paper as a structure to hold a story, it is a tool, a tiny monument. To write something on a page, you are building that tiny monument page by page.

“Second, inventory of where you are: your five senses, your gravity at the moment, the position of your body at the moment you are writing, or how you are sitting in a chair watching people in this workshop write what you cannot at the moment. I definitely lost the daily routine I had when I had to start working from home and had to create a new one.”

It’s Addey again, now. The other thing that this workshop left Nicole and I with is the desire to be involved in more workshops like this one. It was truly such an uplifting time getting together with other writers and talking about writing. It’s something we all might be lacking right now as we are not able to see physical writing partners and groups in person. So, because of this, and due to a small but mightily resounding “yes” to our inquiry on all of our social media pages, we have decided to have our own virtual writing workshop!

More details to come, so be sure to follow us everywhere to stay in the loop. We will be creating an event on Facebook so you can share and invite your friends. We are hoping this will be a time of restorative writing and a needed rest from the chaos of the global pandemic. Plus, if all goes well and there is a good turnout, this may be something we carry on into non-pandemic times, too.

Thanks for reading! We look forward to connecting via virtual workshops in the coming days.

A Quick Update from Your Editors on COVID-19

Addey

I am able to work from home, which has it’s own challenges but means that I am so much better off than many. I am grateful for this time, even though it is confusing and stressful. I’ve been using my time at home to work on my reading list and actually finish a short story I’ve been working on for ages. While the current set up is inconvenient for most of us, I know that we will be able to look back on this one day once we get to the other side, and that’s what keeps me going. This, too, shall pass.

Amber

Well, it hasn’t really changed much for me. I’m an introvert who doesn’t go out all that often anyways. I just hope family and friends are being cautious and taking care of themselves.

Nicole

My family is safe and I am blessed that I am able to work from home. But it is also a double-edged sword as working with customers and having a puppy barking at everything, climbing on top of the coffee table, chewing through blankets at the seams, and having both of your dogs following you around as a second shadow is hard. Though, like Amber, I have no problem staying at home without contact with the outside world in person.

Journal Updates: Do you want to be featured?

1.       Next week: we will give hints leading up to the reveal of our secret theme for the fall journal, which we are excited about! We will also let you know when we are opening back up for submissions.

2.       Podcasts: we are calling anyone who wants to participate in our creative careers series! Do you have a creative career and want to tell people about it? Let us know and you could be interviewed on the podcast! Shoot us an email at podcast@borrowedsolace.com if you are interested in being featured. We are also going to be releasing and episode next week about how to create during this time of chaos with helpful tips about reducing anxiety and stress.

3.       The blog: we are calling all people who want to submit a blog post or article! We are looking for content to help other writers and artists. Do you have any tips on what makes a good short story? A great poem? A way to get published? A unique way to create art? If so, you can click on the link below and submit your article for review:

Submit to the blog!

Update on Issue 3.1

For this week, we are doing an update with the blog.


We are putting the finishing touches on the Spring 2020 journal coming out, drum roll please…. Friday, March 27th!


Please look for this amazing journal coming your way and if you are part of the journal, congratulations and thank you for being a part of this journal.


We are also discussing the next theme for Fall 2020. We haven’t completely decided yet, but we do know the subgenre will be somewhere in the horror category! 


As always with this crazy world, stay safe and well. 

Holiday Updates

This week’s blog is important as we have some updates! We also have some questions we would like to ask you.

So far submissions for the spring 2020 journal have been going great. For fiction, there has been a lot submitted and Amber is excited to read all of them. Her submissions have a great range in long and short, and vary in all sorts of themes. For nonfiction, I have noticed a particular theme of drug abuse, death, or a type of emotional strain. I was joking with the other editors that since I write the police log for the newspaper, I deal a lot with drug abuse and I also edit the obituaries, so I deal a lot with death. Then going to read the stories submitted, it was like reading what I do for my current job as a content editor and writer. So, if you are out there reading this, there is still time to submit an engaging story for nonfiction! For art, we are only doing cover photos, so the submission have been small but mighty. We might have our youngest artist yet to be featured as the front cover for this journal. For poetry, Addey says everything is going well! There are lots of good submissions coming in and she’s excited to piece together the poetry section–it’s looking to be a varied and intriguing section!

The submissions for Spring 2020 will close Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019.

If you would like to submit, art, poetry, nonfiction and/or fiction, please do so before then.

The editors are taking a holiday break next week for Christmas to celebrate the holidays with our families, so please bear with us on email responses and social media posts.

The important questions would like to ask as we are also gearing up to the next year is: what specific blog topics or posts and podcasts would you like hear/read? If you want to read more about how to write, please let us know what topics you would like us to cover. We are always interested in what people want to read or listen to.

If you have a topic you would like us to discuss or write about, please list it in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. You can also email us at editors@borrowedsolace.com

We would also like to note that if you would like to be featured on our podcast, we are always welcome into taking volunteers!

So have some happy holidays! And submit if you haven’t already!

An Update to Our Masthead

As many of you know, Nicole Taylor went on a hiatus for the Fall 2019 journal. Nicole Taylor was our nonfiction editor and a founder of borrowed solace. She recently decided, after many long and tough considerations, to permanently step away from the journal. We loved having her aboard our ship sailing in these mighty waters with us for the past two years. We wish her success finding all the gold hidden in sunken pirate ships and we know she will watch out for us from a distant lighthouse.

Going forward and into our future, I, Nicole McConnell, your executive editor, will be taking on Nicole Taylor’s role. I will be completing all of her duties in reading nonfiction submissions, selecting finalists, and editing final selections. So please bear with me as I learn her role even more. I am excited to fully embrace this role and can’t wait to see what people submit for nonfiction again this time around.
As for art…Addey (poetry) and Amber (fiction) and I are currently deciding how we want to move forward with art. For this journal, we will be using art as our main cover as we always do, and art for the cover pages of each section.

Please stay tuned for the next announcement, as we also are excited to announce we are finally on our way towards print. So watch for those announcements as well!

Sincerely,

Nicole McConnell