When I started Writers & Words last October, it was [briefly] known as Whiskey & Words, it wasn’t a series—just a half-thought through event to get something literary in my life, and it made me quickly realize that I was in over my head.
I subsequently enlisted the help of two friends—one to read and one to be the emcee because I suddenly remembered that I’m an introvert who struggles to speak in front of crowds—and approached two others with held breath and asked if they would read for us.
I am thankful to God that they all said yes! (exclamation point included.)
That first reading was a shot in the dark—quite literally for those who remember—but you showed up and it was clear that it was only the beginning of something bigger.
Since then, Mike and I have spent an immeasurable amount of time over email, gchat, text, and happy hour drinks figuring this thing out. Or at least faking figuring it out. (Because really, and don’t tell anyone this, we mostly say, “Can you believe this is working?”)
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that this started as something small—an experiment—and it’s only grown to be what it is because of the help of so many people, including you, reading this now.
And we’re grateful.
When the idea for an annual zine came up over a series of very serious meetings (photos below), we discussed lots of ideas that included submissions, invitations, a review process, and the like, but we’ve landed on something a bit different:
In commemoration of our first, experimental year, and to say thank you to all our readers, our listeners, our buyers of wine, beer, and zines, and our cheerleaders and supporters, we’re inviting all of you to take part in our experimental Year One Annual.
Here’s the deal:
Because of the way we create, print, and bind our monthly zines (photo below) we have stacks of random folios left over from multiple productions. While there aren’t enough of each to bind complete zines, we can’t bear to just throw them away because we respect the work of our readers as well as the trees.
Instead, we’re going to give them to you. These are yours now, if you want them. (We’ll need them back though, so keep reading.) While they are in your custody, please change them. Alter them. Create something new.
We envision found poetry, artwork, maybe a ransom note or two, or something we can’t even think of because it’s currently in your head. For inspiration, you could check out the websites and examples listed below:
(Or you can just get after it and see what happens!).
What are the constraints?
I’m glad you asked that. Because we intend to bind these into annuals, we do ask a few things of you:
- we’ll bind the loose ends (meaning the fold is the “thumb edge”)
- your creation must be “flat” enough to be bound
- please maintain the 5.25” height, but feel free to play around with the width if so inclined
And general submission guidelines:
- limit five folios per person
- please complete the accompanying information card so we can include your information
- get it in our hands by August 10
How do I sign up/participate?
- Attend our July 14th reading and pick up a packet at the door. We’ll have art supplies for your use during the reading.
- Email Michelle at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try to work out a drop off or pick up situation.
We’ll provide further details about logistics on July 14th, but if you have burning questions before then, email Michelle.
Is this going to work?
We have no idea. But we also had no idea if Writers & Words would work, and now we’re in the midst of celebrating a year of awesome words, writers, and wild cards. So, once again, we’re enlisting your talent, skill, and wonderfulness, Baltimore, and it’s our hope you’ll be a part of this project (which we also think will be pretty great).
Cool, but then what? What happens my beautiful contribution?
You’ll have to wait and see on this one. (But we promise, there is a plan.)
If you have questions before our July event, please email Michelle at email@example.com or tweet us at @writersandwords. (Really, just tweet us anyway to say hi.)
Thank you all for your support, interest, and words. We sincerely could not do any of this without you!