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. 

Submissions Update

The final selections for the journal have been chosen. We thank all who have submitted and hope you will continue to lend us your patience as we embark on the final stages of production.

Please watch out for emails coming your way from us very soon, as we editors have already jumped into editing.

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

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…

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.

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

An Editor Update

Please help me welcome someone new to the team of editors: Karen McConnell, who will now serve as our guest art editor. I interviewed her to dive more into her tastes and preferences, and it has definitely been interesting. Her favorite part about art is the storytelling, what kind of words can be used to describe a single photo, moment, or life on canvas. She admires a piece she can walk into, and take a moment to connect with emotions, thoughts, or memories that come flying at her. She likes art that leaves her with an impression. Photography that makes her feel like she is in the picture. And anything inviting her into the artist’s mind or life.

Why was she cast into our borrowed solace kingdom?  It is directly related to her experience. Having her art work displayed before and published in Fall 2018 borrowed solace, her life is a creative one. Creativity and making art runs in her veins. Karen’s mother also is very creative and in the past owned a ceramic shop for more than 20 years and sold those creations at local festivals and fairs. Karen is also my mother.  I remember as a child she had to help out at the store by making dolls and dinnerware. At the festivals, my cousins and I would play and go on adventures around the parks and downtown while our mothers worked the stalls. Every year when I was younger, aunts, cousins, friends, and anyone who wanted to come could go to the Christmas crafting party. Ornaments to hang on the tree were made. To this day, crafting parties for my grandmother’s church, for local nursing homes, shops, family’s homes, and craft festivals are when my mother’s family gets together to create any and everything.

The new thing in art that my mother and I are both trying is diamond painting art. If you haven’t tried this already, I forewarn you, it is addictive. For those of you who don’t know what it is, you can buy them on amazon for cheap, but it is a canvas with an image you pixel in with tiny rhinestones. My mother’s first adventure into this is one good angel and one dark angel to represent the light and dark of the world. My first adventure is the little mermaid sitting on her famous rock under the moon. It is addicting because you can’t stop at one rhinestone or two or three, you have to do half of the damn thing! Even then, when your eyes need a break, it’s hard to tear yourself away from how the art will turn out and the fact that it is not finished. But nonetheless, art is something that keeps Karen on her toes, since creativity is one thing that the world has lots of left to still explore. She is excited to review all of the art that is submitted to the upcoming journal.