Lit Mag Crush

A writing friend introduced me to Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction. The other night I clicked through back issues, choosing pieces at random. I also read a couple of the craft essays. The promise of short pieces means we can read a few different voices at one sitting.

If I want to publish, I need to know what’s being published and where. I am sorely under-informed about literary magazines I might submit to; online publication is a wide world. I remember standing in a Barnes & Noble one Saturday. I was in my early twenties and often drove to Madison on the weekends, to buy books, get a coffee and write. I remember standing in the middle of the store and looking at all the shelves packed with books I would never read. I started to cry. I was so sad at all the reading I’d miss, all the ideas and voices I wouldn’t hear.

I know. Really. I used to weep on solo nature walks too. I got caught once, startled by an environmental ed major on his own nature walk. “Are you okay?” he asked. I sniffed and pointed at a shrub. I said, “It’s just – it’s just so beautiful.”

Publication looks overwhelming right now, and just so beautiful. I have talent enough to land in a few lit mags and I should go for it. But I can be smart about the process. I need to read more online lit mags. Brevity is a great start. But only a start. I can also look for sites or blogs that take guest writers and see if any of my finished work might fit.

But I can’t just stand in the middle and cry.