April Breath & Shadow, Vol.3, No.4, Mortality
- Volume 3, Number 2, the new issue of Breath & Shadow, ROSC's Journal
of Literature and Disability Culture, is now online. This month's
theme is "Mortality."
Did you know that Breath & Shadow chooses its themes based on the
submissions we accept? In other words, while most journals choose
themes for future issues and then seek out pieces on those themes,
we accept work on a continual basis, without regard to topic, as
long as we feel the writing reflects our mission and standards. When
it comes time to create our publishing schedule, we look through
what we have and see what patterns emerge. There are some topics
that come up again and again. Recently, for instance, we had two
editions of the journal that focused on communication because that
is such a concern among people with disabilities.
Another theme that comes up very often is death. Of course, death is
an inescapable reality for everyone, but it is particularly
omnipresent in the disability community: some disabilities are
progressive and/or terminal; some make us more susceptible to death,
due to the disability itself or due to the poor conditions in which
many people with disabilities live; and some make us susceptible to
suicide, sometimes due to the pain or nature of the condition
itself, but more often due to how we are treated. Nonetheless, as
grim as the theme "mortality" might seem, this month's issue
contains a fair amount of humor, love, wit, and straight-from-the-
hip truth-talkin' that offers pure literary enjoyment.
We're thrilled to start off the issue with featured poet, Eric
Gadzinski. His superb triptych of "Amputee," "Sciatica (Genesis
32:24-5)," and "CAT Scan (CT Ab+Pelv)" is by turns tender, caustic,
and philosophical. Next, Kayte Cook Watts's teenage narrator tells
of a summer shadowed by her father's skin cancer -- a family
strikingly "normal" in its oddities -- in "The Color of My Family."
A book review follows; Erin Lewy discusses Heidi Ganz's young adult
novel, Sparrows on Wheels -- about a girl in a hospital school.
Returning poet Natalia Zaretsky asks the ineffable questions with
her usual craft in her three-part poem, "Requiem for My Father."
Then, be prepared for some surprises when you read Chris Kuell's
quirky short story, "Unexpected Guest." Plus, the StaffShots are
back! Breath & Shadow poetry editor Linda Cronin tells Paul Kahn
about her life as a very active reader and writer. Find out what she
means when she says, "Nothing is beyond considering when I'm
desperate"! To read Breath & Shadow, go to
http://www.abilitymaine.org/breath, or use the link at the bottom of
Breath & Shadow News of Note (including New Features!)
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â¢ Thank you to our donors! The following people and organizations
made contributions to Breath & Shadow this month: Ann and Preston
Browning; Stella and Jim Wood, in honor of "stoking the fires of
creativity in our young writers"; Isabelle Maynard; Jean Gran; Doris
Wachsler, in honor of the January issue; and our new sponsor,
Marlena Corcoran of Athena Mentor, www.athena-mentor.com. We really
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â¢ Hit Me with Your Best Shot! (Please?) As you know, each month we
do a "StaffShot" -- a short profile/interview of one of our staff
members. For the June issue, we're doing a StaffShot of me, Sharon.
(Honestly, this is because everyone is too busy to do an interview
for that issue. After June, we'll return to our usual format.) So,
we're asking your help. We thought it might be fun if you, the
readers, "interviewed" me. Send me your questions about anything --
what it's like behind the scenes of Breath & Shadow, how I got into
writing or what I like (or dislike) about it, disability culture, my
favorite hobbies, or anything else you want to know. Don't hold
back! I'll answer the questions for the June StaffShot. So far,
nobody has sent in any questions, and I'm worrying that I'm too
boring to elicit interest <sniff, sniff>. Email questions to
breathandshadow@... and put "Sharon's StaffShot" in the subject
â¢ Upcoming Themes: Disability Culture & Consciousness, Animals, To
Be Determined. (Note: We already have all our material for the
themes we have decided upon. We will accept submissions on any
topic, but please remember our backlog for replies to submissions,
as well as our long lead time once we accept work.)
â¢ Calls for Submission: It is part of Breath & Shadow's mission to
provide a lens through which to examine disability from as many
viewpoints as possible. To this end, we try to involve readers,
staff members, and especially writers, with a wide range of
disabilities. So far, we have published the work of many writers
with mental health disabilities (such as bipolar, depression,
schizophrenia, and PTSD), certain congenital physical disabilities
(such as cerebral palsy), and various disabilities and chronic
illnesses developed in adulthood (such as arthritis, chemical
injury, and cancer). We are delighted to continue to receive
submissions from people in any of the groups above â" or from
people with any type of disability. However, we have noticed some
gaps in representation that we would like to fill. So, we
particularly encourage submissions from people with
cognitive/intellectual disabilities, including those with brain
injury, developmental delays, and learning disabilities; Deaf/deaf
or hard-of-hearing people; people with HIV/AIDS, and people with
spinal cord injuries. We also encourage submissions from youth. To
find out how to write for Breath & Shadow, go to
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â¢ "Please stand by. Your email is important to us. Your email will
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heard back, it's probably because we haven't had a chance to open
the email yet. We receive hundreds of emails and our all staff are
disabled. It's not unusual, especially if several of us are having
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â¢ Archives: Breath & Shadow archives the past three issues. So, if
you want to catch up on back issues, don't let too much time go by!
Read 'em while they're hot. ;-) Go to
www.abilitymaine.org/breath/archive.html or click on "Past Issues of
Breath & Shadow" at our homepage.
â¢ Sharon's Inaugural Essay Now Online Permanently. The first issue
of Breath & Shadow, in January 2004, featured an editorial
called "Beginning Breath & Shadow: Creating a Literary Community, An
Introduction by Sharon Wachsler, Editor." To learn how and why this
unique journal came to be, and to get some insight into what we're
still working our way towards, go to
http://www.abilitymaine.org/breath/intro.html or, from the home
page, click on "What Is Breath & Shadow" and then click on the link
at the bottom of the page.
â¢ Listen to Breath & Shadow Writers Perform Their Work! Driving to
work, chopping vegetables, relaxing before bed, you can hear some of
Breath & Shadow's most popular authors read their stories, poems,
and essays. We are pleased to be able to offer a recording of the
readings that took place this summer in Somerville and Northampton,
Mass. This 2-CD or 2-cassette set contains over two hours of humor
columns, stories, and poetry by eight of Breath & Shadow's writers.
Disc one features Arden reading hir delicate and evocative poems,
Paul Kahn playfully presenting his poetry and prose, and Sharon
Wachsler displaying her trademark wit as she reads three humor
columns and one short story. On disc two you are treated to Debora
Seidman's melodic "silly and sublime" radio script, Cat Brenn-Bear's
moving dramatic monologues, Peggy Munson's award-winning and
heartbreaking poetry, Dorothy Baker's intimate verbal snapshots, and
Chaya Grossberg's powerful and inspired poetry. We are offering the
recordings as a gift to anyone who makes a donation of $10 or more
to Breath & Shadow. (For a contribution of $25 or more, we'll send
you three CD or tape sets.) To receive the CDs or tapes, please
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