announcing theme: alchemies

So, as some of you may have noticed, we have the submission period listed for our second issue, Alchemies. As mentioned before, we’ll be alternating between unthemed and themed, so you have a bit more time for this one. When sending your submissions, if you intend to submit to a themed issue, please include that in your email! Otherwise, we’ll assume that you’re aiming for the next unthemed one.

We did the plural of alchemy because we figured it opened the door a little wider to interpretation. On its own, the term signifies quite a bit, but it’s still intimately tied to the idea of an arcane proto-scientific process. You could go in lots of directions with the medieval concept alone: the search for eternal life, the drive for wealth, the combination of mysticism, religion, and observations of the natural world, etc. But taken as a metaphor, it becomes a broader signifier of change, transformation, and even growth, in ways that are not necessarily painless or comprehensible. “Transformation” seemed too facile, and “change” seemed too broad; we want to see the pangs and rough edges of change. Think of the melting-down and confusion of substances that the messy diversity of alchemy truly encompasses; consider the motivations and chance discoveries along the way.

You can interpret that as you will: whether you want to go literal, and take some photos of old alembics and crucibles/write a story about the old hunt for the philosophers’ stone, or play out your line a little bit and write a sestina about modern struggles using the language of alchemy (and there is some beautiful such language out there), we’re open to ideas that meet our brief. As always, we want to see work that holds our interest, and particularly in the case of themes, takes the theme in unexpected directions (which still resonate and sing). And the reading period will be running for another two months, so there’s plenty of time for you to mess around with some ideas; at this point, we’re still pretty focused on Issue #1, but soon enough we’ll be thinking about the next.

Speaking of Issue #1: you’ve got sixteen days left! Send us your work!

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