Ephemera New Beginnings



Welcome to the Ephemera Newsletter sponsored by C&R Press. In this edition, we are focusing on the importance of new beginnings, starting new projects, while making note of major and some minor prizes. And, too, a few big ticket news items not to have been missed.

When you lack inspiration, use this newsletter to aid you when you want to create but are unsure what to create. Read below to learn about how to start creative projects and when to. Take note of our emerging author, Douglas Stuart, who published his first book after spending the last twenty years as a fashion designer. Learn from Nate Lewis, a self-taught artist who’s previous occupation intersects with his art.

Use this newsletter as your base, your starting point, and please share your newfound inspiration (and even this letter!) with the people around you.

We are so happy you are here!

**Music: “A Long Way Past the Past” by Fleet Foxes.

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for the mind.

For the writers, the readers, the dreamers, and the creators. Here are Ephemera’s monthly picks for literary work that should not go unnoticed.

in case you missed it.

Below are the 2020 Pulitzer Prize Winners.

fresh voices.

The 2020 Booker Prize was awarded to Douglas Stuart for his debut novel, Shuggie Bain, published by Grove Press. The Scottish-born author took ten years to complete this piece of autobiographical fiction and spent the last twenty years as a fashion designer in New York City. His short stories have been published by The New Yorker, and you can read his essay, Poverty, Anxiety, and Gender in Scottish Working-Class Literature”, on LitHub.

memorable magazines.

In the last fortnight of 2020, on a Sunday, The New York Times featured The Best of Brevity — a collection of flash nonfiction essays that were originally published by the virtual magazine, Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction. Founded by American essayist Dinty W. Moore, Brevity has published both well-known and emerging writers for the last twenty years.

for the eyes.

For the drawers, painters, sculptors, and valiant viewers. Here are Ephemera’s monthly picks for visual artists to admire, to watch, and to learn from.

crowned creations.

The contemporary visual art platform, Foundwork, which was highlighted in our previous letter, awarded their Annual Artist Prize to Tracey Snelling, a cross media artist based in Berlin, Germany.

Snelling, T. 2020. Lost Year Motel. Wood, plaster, paint, metal, lights, fabric, lcd screens, media players, electroluminescent wire, water, speakers, transformer. 24 x 50 x 24 in.

The above piece, Lost Year Motel, won Snelling the award. Alina Cohen, a visiting editor for Foundwork, states that, “Snelling works across media—sculpture, installation, video, sound, and performance—to create meticulous environments that capture the essence and specificity of time and place.”

Click on the image below to learn more about the artist’s work.

an artist to watch.

Three years ago, Nate Lewis left his job as an ICU nurse. Now, he is the recipient of the 2020 Colene Brown Art Prize. The self-taught artist is significantly influenced by his previous career as a health care worker, and in an interview with Chenée Daley, Lewis said, “Repetition, patterns and textures comprise the poetry that threads the language of my work throughout the various mediums. This language is informed by my experience with the application of medical diagnostics and its visual and sonic dialect.”

Click on the image below to view more of Nate Lewis’s art.

for the ears.

For the singers, the string-players, musicians, and the lucky listeners. Each month, we feature one song at the beginning of our newsletter. This is why we picked it.

significant sounds.

Fleet Foxes, an American Folk band, released their fourth studio album in September of this past year. In Shore, Fleet Foxes have exemplified a controlled crisp folk-rock sound, advancing their idiosyncratic style that they have been cultivating since 2008. Pitchfork identified this album as some of this year’s best new music, and gave it a rating of 8.3.

The lyrics for this album were written by Robin Pecknold, which he finished in the first few months during quarantine. In an interview with Mary Lucia, Pecknold said, “I was grateful to be kind of building songs around ideas that felt triggered by the times, but not explicitly tied to [them].”

The artistry that Pecknold exhibited while completing this album is something that all artists can learn from: we can (and should) contextualize our art around the times, yet our creative pieces will only make a profound impact if we push ourselves, push our art, so that it can outlast the times.

news bites.

*** Launched this year: Creatively — a job platform for creatives made by creatives. Mission: “help creatives spotlight their incredible portfolios, connect … and find jobs.”

***Much concern over the Penguin Random House purchase of Simon & Schuster. Estimate:  PRH will now control > 25% of the book business, publishing about a third of all books in the US.
—Pros: Think about Amazon, who now sells 49% percent of books online.
  —Cons: Literary Diversity?

***More competition for Amazon: The rise of Bookshop.org. Fact: Bookshop launched in March 2020 with the mission to financially support local bookstores. Check: Buy or peruse Bookshop.  
—Mantra: Support a robust publishing ecosystem. Buy direct from
publishers/authors when you can!

ephemeral tips for creation.

Even if you didn’t start a journal back in 2020, now is the time to start a fresh project, to explore new ideas, or to maybe even start over. Despite the pressure to begin the new year right away with new habits, January First might not have been the best day to actually form those habits or to stick with those projects.

Laura Vanderkam recommends starting a new project on Thursdays. Why? “The work week tends to be slowing down by then... Fewer things are starting up, so you can concentrate your energy and focus on your new routine. You take your lunchtime walk with fewer competing priorities. Friday lets you repeat the routine, reinforcing it, again with few distractions. Then over the weekend, you can evaluate (or keep going if you intend to).” We like this advice particularly for it’s understanding that so many of us have a primary career or job.

motivational meditation.

We are definitely not the first to recommend mindfulness and meditation as a valuable tool for any person to use. However, when it comes to creativity, there are certain styles of meditation that have been known to facilitate and induce inspiration. Open-monitoring meditation, for example, has been proven to stimulate divergent thinking, which is a crucial component for creativity (Delehanty).

incentivizing scents.

It is a common practice to burn incense while sitting in meditative state of internal stillness. For the new year, it is common to use rosemary and lavender — to cleanse, to purify, to relax — but those scents can also be used to provoke inspiration. In a study conducted by researchers at Northumbria University, rosemary was proven to stimulate the mind and the memory, while the lavender aroma incites a sense of solace and happiness. Both of these herbs are beneficial for meditation and will surely aid you in your creative endeavors.

share your art.

Brevity. See if you have what it takes to create a publishable work of non fiction in 750 words or less. Rolling submissions.

After Happy Hour. This journal of literature and art is now accepting submissions for their 14th issue, which will be published in the spring of 2021. Deadline: February 28th, 2021.

Poetry Magazine. Calling for video and audio poems that reflect the full landscape of people creating vital poetry—that means poems that are formal, informal, audio-based poems that exist in voice before page, multi-discipline poems or collaborative work that exists in body before page, poems written in languages that are not English, poems that stem from academia and poems that don’t. Rolling Submissions.

C&R Press. The sponsor for this newsletter is now accepting submissions for their 2021 Book Prize in every genre. Full length manuscripts. Selected books receive $1k, a marketing campaign, and publication in the fall of 2022. Deadline: September 15th.

or find work.

Ghostwriter. SWAG MASHA, an international mobile game device studio, has created a highly successful interactive novel app — Love Sick. They are seeking talented romance authors to write interactive novels based on detailed outlines provided.

Teach. Malcom X College in Chicago is in need of a Full-Time Faculty member to teach English beginning in the Fall of 2021. Deadline: February 28, 2021.

coming up.

This past year, many of us lost jobs or made bold decisions about our futures. Fortunately, there have never been more options for artists and writers who want to have a go at an independent lifestyle. We’ll feature some of the top DIY platforms supporting creators in next month’s Ephemera.

Artist: Sophie Dale.

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