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anthology seeks creative work about being excluded

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  • crwropps@aol.com
    COLD SHOULDERS AND EVIL EYES http://www.universaltable.org/wisingup.html The issue of exclusion and inclusion is fascinating. Inescapable. Troubling. Crucial.
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 31 8:30 AM
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      The issue of exclusion and inclusion is fascinating. Inescapable. Troubling. Crucial. Especially all the parts of it that take place before, beyond, and below words. How do we know, walking into a room of strangers, whether we will be welcomed, actively excluded, or, sometimes even more painfully, completely ignored? What happens inside us when people turn their backs to us, talk over our heads as if we aren’t there, glare at us, or start whispering to the person beside them as we leave? 

      Social beings to the core, negative social behaviors like exclusion, ostracism, or stigma, can get to us faster than thought, making us embarrassed, shamed, angry, depressed, or hopeless. Our own physical responses to these powerful but invisible social forces can be so strong it is difficult to bear them, much less learn from them. It often doesn’t help to talk about these experiences we think—they feel too difficult to define, too intense, too immediate, too hard—or impossible—to put into words. 

      But although we can feel desperately alone in these experiences, they happen to all of us—wherever we are, whatever group we are in. They can feel particularly difficult in schools and work settings, churches, synagogues and mosques—where people can appear to say one thing with their words, things we really want to believe, but their behaviors tell us something different. 

      AThese experiences of exclusion can feel even more intense when we are trying to adjust to a new culture with new social rules—rules that are hard to identify in the first place because they’re never spoken and are often exactly opposite from the ways we were originally taught to behave. These rules may never be spoken, but they have a real force for us and for others, an almost physical pushing and pulling. 

      But these experiences, however isolating and unspeakable they feel, are common—and we can learn much from each other about how to respond to them in ways that affirm us and the world around us. Writing well about these experiences poses a real challenge because all of us—as readers and writers—have an instinct to distance ourselves from the suffering—and the sufferer—involved.

      How do we react to experiences of exclusion—at the time and over time? As perpetrators or recipients? When the behavior is directed at us? When it is directed at those close to us? Directed towards those we don't know or fear? 

      We invite well-crafted, powerful stories, poems, memoirs and creative non-fiction and emotionally evocative artwork that explore the causes and consequences of exclusion, ostracism, or stigma.


      Electronic submissions only.

      PROSE ≥ 5,000 words. 

      POETRY ≥ 5 poems

      Word or RTF format.

      B/W photographs and artwork, jpeg format.

      ayment in copies.

      We consider dual submissions and previously published work only if informed of this at time of submission. We do not pay reprint fees and it is author's responsibility to get needed permissions.

      We make final editorial submissions on all submitted manuscripts only after the submission deadline.

      Send to: coldshoulders(at)universaltable.org (replace (at) with @)

      Deadline: September 15, 2008

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