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Ephemera Newsletter Iss Sept.1
(Creativity and Motivation Weekly)
Welcome to the Ephemera Newsletter, Amici! (Corsican for “friends”)
September’s first newsletter means the full letter is available to everyone. And firsts of the month are really fun because we get to introduce a new poet! Please give your attention to September’s poet @ Ephemera, Alison Luterman (Link takes you to her dedicated page within Ephemera). We present a stand-alone poem this issue which made us think and stood out amongst a really good field of submissions. Thanks to all who sent in work.
Also, as a note, September has graced us with another lovely backer! Please meet #friend of Ephemera, Amber Petty. In honor of this advertiser, her second time featured in our humble endeavor, we will make the second issue of the month fully available as well (i.e., no pay wall).
Check out last week’s letter if you missed it. And here are some reminders:
This email may get abridged. Please remember to click around any cut-off point and or try reading us on Substack.com or through the app.
Good Contrivance Farm Residency: Next week we open for applications.
Call For Submissions: If you are a paid subscriber to Ephemera, you can submit to poetry @ Ephemera for free as a membership perk! Free subscribers and anyone else can submit, too, with the reading fee and can submit up to 10 poems. Paying the reading fee will grant you 1-month paid access to Ephemera’s full letter each week. Now accepting submissions for the September issue.
In Brief…this week’s features:
Thoughts on Aerosmith’s, “Dream On.”
Thoughts on Surrealism in painting and writing.
September’s poet, Alison Luterman, and her first of four poems, “Biscuits.”
New Feature: Literary Films where we select an interesting movie we’ve seen that dramatizes the life of a writer or writers, biopics, and apropos genre selections.
This week, a short from Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali.
Our weekly lists:
3 magazines with open calls
3 recent job listings for editors and writers.
**Sponsor and #friend of Ephemera, Amber Petty.
More ephemera: check out an Interesante selection on dealing with and embracing rejection and hearing ‘no’; Book Recs, bonus content, and our mini-essays to start!
Support us on Bookshop - See our past book recs and others. A highly curated list.
Merci. Danke. Kiitos. 고마워 Go-ma-wo. Cảm ơn. Xiè xiè.
Darkness seems to open the channels of submerged thought. It’s nighttime, now. We’re writing by eve and releasing well into this inky Friday as a means to access our subconscious, maybe the subliminal, too, the bizarre and symbolic; not to be woo-woo, or to erect a scarecrow in the shrouded field of our conversation, but correlationally, performatively for this week’s art selection, surrealism, the tenets of which call upon the strange artifacts of the deep mind. Some of us write by night! Once upon a time, we did. The creative juices, for some reason, began sluicing through the gates of the waking mind even later than now—midnight through 2 AM was a sweet spot of succulent watering, turgid waves, torrents of non-filtered “juices” perfectly sloshy, deeply immediate and raw currents of ire, desire, despair, lust, trickery, boasting, heart-break, anxiety and pain. Walls go up by the rising. Walls open by the dead of night. We’re supposed to be asleep. The mind gives way to the more ancient regions. Unadulterated us. Unfathomed. Useless thoughts. Oh purge! We remember those silent eves deeply alone and uninhibited, yet stealthy as the owl.
“Completely against the tide in a violent reaction against the impoverishment and sterility of thought processes that resulted from centuries of rationalism, we turned toward the marvelous and advocated it unconditionally.”
—Andre Breton, Putative Founder of Surrealism, on combating modernity
It might be wise to glide like a spectre only by night around, over, and under the limbs of daytime thought. The editor may need the sun, deadlines of sunrise and sunset. But the deeper you, the autonomic, ancient you. The you of guts and glory, of trenchlike interiority commanding the swoon of your pen, the rhythm of your keystrokes. Cavernous you. You riddled with cave art and symbolic figurines, Venuses, idols, signs carved by an emotional razor’s edge. In a pinch, maybe close your eyes and write. Maybe let come what comes. Unfiltered, raw. Could be incomplete sentences, half-thoughts, words randomly splattered. Uncork. Gut your capital S self. See what you’re made of. Juxtapose the precious with the bizarre. Mix the obscene with the sacred. Run-on run-ons. Spliced. Segmented. Or flowing and ornate, but definitely bilious. Everything can be healed by the editor’s stitching, the reading-you and your sense-making. Be the night. The midwife to monstrosity. Scalpel, please. Now don’t be afraid to tip. Goodnight loon.
~We’re so happy you’re here!~
**Free Workshop From Amber Petty
We’ve featured Amber Petty’s course offerings before to strong positive reactions. Petty is very effective and we invite you to investigate her offerings for yourself. Everyone can use some improvement with their pitching process and skills.
From Amber Petty:
Free Workshop: Write Your Magazine Pitch in 30 Minutes with Amber Petty. Go from “I don’t know what to pitch” to "I just sent an idea to my favorite publication” in this 60 minute workshop.
Find out what magazine, newspaper, and online publication editors are looking for, how to come up with non-fiction sellable story ideas, and you’ll finish a pitch during the class.
Usually, pitching is a pain. Not with this workshop. It'll be easy, repeatable, and dare I say…fun! Maybe not fun, but a whole lot easier.
All for the price of: FREE! Sign up now.
Poetry by Alison Luterman
Husband's got a cold, so I make him biscuits--
flour, buttermilk, salt, and he thanks me
over and over. It's so easy
to make him happy. My friends and I used to joke
about men, that they don't need much, just food
and sex, whereas we complicated creatures...
I even had a therapist tell me as much, saying
"Women are always wondering
what men are thinking--it's a waste
of your time! They're not." The onion
when peeled, is just another
dumb white bulb, in other words. But I have known
a little something of a male mind,
its incurable loneliness, its ghosts and fears.
We just can't see into each other's abysses
so it's easier to pretend they're not there. Still,
on this winter afternoon the smell
of risen biscuits fills the house,
and I find myself simply happy
to be animal, mated with another
of my species, living side by side
with this strange creature, the long
flannel-shirted length of him, his fingers
on the piano weaving harmonies
that shouldn't work together but do,
his book splayed open on the coffee table,
lost reading glasses roosting on top of his head.
The Boston-born Aerosmith, formed in 1970 and fronted by the performative and epitomical Steven Tyler, might not need an introduction, with an absurd 150 million albums sold over their lifetime making them the most purchased American rock band of all time, it is said. There was a time when they seemed ubiquitous, large and loud, reminding us of rock and roll in a time when alt, grunge, garage, and punk were becoming more popular. Reading up about the band, it surprised us to learn they were never guaranteed success and dealt with numerous flops and critical tribulations, to say nothing of the personal. Such is the life of a too-big band. We bring them to your attention this week because of their gem of a ballad, “Dream On,” written by Tyler in his teens as a poem of sorts, and which fits in nicely with our art theme for the month, Surrealism. Notably, “Dream On” was the band’s first single, which was relaunched several years after its initial release to way more significant intrigue (hitting 6 on the billboards) and remains today, at least on Spotify, their top track with 900 million+ listens.
The song is not particularly surreal in its sound or execution, voice or instrumentation, but the concept of the dream is important, and while the lyrics deliver a message that is rational and practical, e.g. make sure to carry a practical vision of your future where you achieve the goals you set out toward even against the voices of criticism—your own and that of others—and against adversity and failure in the face of time for one must have a vision, the song relies on the expression of the subconscious, the dreaming mind, the yet to be and so merely and perhaps barely fathomed. (Also, we do like the message for writers, a message of perseverance). We might listen to the end of the song scream-singing, wholly Tyler’s M.O., and dive deep into our selves, our past and or dream selves. We might take this as a call to action. We might pay closer attention to our day fantasies about where we might be in the future, where we could see ourselves, creatively speaking. We might yell, too, trancelike, visionary, focus-state, anything to bring the sublimated more fully to the forefront of what we do daily, to our practice. From internal to external. Onward. Let’s will ourselves. As Aerosmith reminds, “Maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away.”
Soon: Good Contrivance Residency
Applications will open in Mid September and we will select 2 folks (i.e. 2 separate individuals) to receive a residency sponsorship (5 days at Good Contrivance Farm) and travel stipend of $200. Selectees schedule with the farm their preferred dates subject to availability. ~$1100 value. Click to learn more. (Paid subscribers will receive an early-bird submission portal at half price).
Writers Submit: 3 Magazines
The print & online journal is focused on personal well-being. They say, “We are an anti-establishment, anti-racist space for critical conversations and dialogue in public health.” They are reading work in all genres. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 1
The print and online journal is read in all genres. The magazine began as a Bellevue Hospital staff passion project, and has since become a continually notable and interesting magazine with over forty editions. DEADLINE DECEMBER 31
The print and online journal notes itself as one of the medical journals dedicated to creative expression in the massive world of medical journals . They are reading work in all genres and complete editions are available online. DEADLINE ROLLING
Weekly Artist: Notes on Surrealism
For the last few years, we’ve focused on important and culture-changing individual artists, their particular work and individual style and telos, and only lightly considered larger movements and concepts. In August, we took on the burgeoning movement of hyperrealism, focusing on the general tenets and then on several individual artists. This month, we look to do the same thing. Only, this time, we’re going to explore the more robust and widely known art style (still being used today) of Surrealism.
Of course, we’ve all heard of the genre, and some of the most famous practitioners, many of whom countenance or directly sought the influence of dreams, or a dreamlike state as being of primary influence. Surrealists juxtapose realistic subjects against the impossible, the cerebral, and even the utterly fantastic almost always as a means to convey through symbolism and association. We might bring up some of the more prominent names such as, Hieronymus Bosch, Salvador Dali, and Frida Kahlo, and maybe a few have known the work of Man Ray and Meret Oppenheim. Unknown to us, so perhaps equally novel to our readers, is the name André Breton, a Frenchman credited with founding the surrealist movement in no small part due to his publication by the name Manifeste du Surréalisme in 1924, and contributing to the literary space with his autobiographical creative-essay work L'Amour fou (Mad Love). A half hour or so read on Breton will be well worth it for personal edification.
The rules of Surrealism; normal objects, places, or people conveyed in bizarre settings, depicted with intensely unreal characteristics, or juxtaposed against others that might normally be unrelated in a literal sense, but whose relationship might be born out in a symbolic or subconscious sense. Subconsciousness and dreams are key influences and sources of material, ideas, and meaning. Too, however, are near-absurd and completely bizarre elements. In art, we look at the pieces we’ve provided for the letter, applying fur to an ordinary household cup and saucer to form a surreal sculpture, for instance. Take Kahlo’s painting below depicting several subconscious and conscious items linked via umbilical cord that represent various thoughts, feelings, worries, ideations and more from the protagonist’s subconscious. And, finally, the famous Dali painting, The Persistence of Memory.
“I believe in the future resolution of these two states, dream and reality, which are seemingly so contradictory, into a kind of absolute reality, a surreality, if one may so speak.”
― André Breton, Manifestoes of Surrealism
Surrealism in literature is similar to magical realism, but is perhaps most popularly aligned with Kafka’s Metamorphosis, or the more contemporary Murakami and his IQ84. In poetry we might reference Rimbaud’s use of the style, and much of John Ashberry’s work. We’re also thinking about folks like Kelly Link and Aimee Bender. There are many more, naturally, and plenty of texts that employ surrealism in judicious manner as a tool for certain occasions when expression demands it rather than as a practice or end in and of itself. Concerning the latter, the movement at its core was about disrupting so called rational proclivities and substituting those with more autonomic processes, writing or painting without direction or purely by trance or, somehow, random connection and symbolism. We’ll keep thinking on this in an attempt to unravel how we might use surrealism and surrealist technique as a tool in our pursuits rather than as an end unto itself. The angle in learning as a creative, in our minds, is to glean the utility in addition to the physical or technical skill in order to embrace it as the character, the message, the incident, the context, the line or paragraph or plot or emotional truth requires.
Interesante: Rejections and ‘No’
— (5 min read/10 min study)
“If you never get rejected, you are likely deep in your comfort zone and personal growth rarely happens. If you hear "yes" at every single career stage, you probably did not reach high enough. If you never hear "no," chances are you did not take many risks”
It’s important for all writers and artists to hear this: rejections and no’s are a part of the process of creating and submitting work into the world. We know this, but it doesn’t hurt to hear it from a psychological perspective. Actually, from the article, rejection can physically hurt, particularly if it begins to feel like you’re being ostracized. It’s a quick read to galvanize us, provide a way to think about rejections in life, and spur us on with a few very well known cases (writer’s will recognize them instantly). —Read the article.
Prizes/Awards/Stipends Spring ‘23
Room Magazine Poetry Contest awards $1,000 & other prizes & publication to an original work of poetry. Judged by John Elizabeth Stintzi, there’s a 2nd place and honorable mention. $1k + Pub. $45 fee, $7/sub after. DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 30
Kurt Vonnegut Prize in Speculative Fiction awards $1,000 & publication at the North American Review to an unpublished short story in the genre. Flash and longer accepted. Judged by Allegra Hyde. $1k + Pub. $23 fee. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 1
Washington Writers’ Publishing House Prizes award 3 prizes of $1,500 & publication for a full-length book of fiction, Non-fiction, and poetry. Open to all residents of DC, Maryland, and Virginia. $1.5k + Pub. $28 fee. DEADLINE NOVEMBER 1
#Friend of Ephemera:
C&R Press Prizes award $1,000 & Publication in 3 categories, Fiction, NF, & poetry. C&R has been publishing literature, 10 books a year since 2015, operating since 2005. $1k + Pub + Media Campaign. $30 fee. DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 15.
Bookstore: Guides, Gifts & Classics
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Coffee Table Surrealism by Taschen:
Last Week: The utility of boredom - Propelled:
»»»Remember last week’s letter has urgent deadlines!«««
Thank you for subscribing to Ephemera. We appreciate your support very much! It means a lot to have you as a reader and paid subscriber. We look forward to growing the letter and bringing you new content and conversation along side our staples. At present, we’re considering creating a book volume containing a large part of our content, including artwork and essays. We’re also considering other projects, such as a monthly podcast, mini-videos, and a Q&A with our editors. Let us know if you have any ideas on how we can improve.
**Select Job Postings**
L.I.F.T.: Grant Writer. FT. 3+ yrs exp. BA. ~$60k. Worcester, MA.
Yale Library: Services Asst. FT. 1+ yr exp BA/or exp. ~$23/hr. New Haven, CT.
Poets & Writers: Asst. Ed PT. 1+ yrs Exp. BA/or exp. ~$23k. Remote
Writing and Cinema: Surrealists
Renown film auteur, Luis Bunuel, co-wrote his first film with maybe the most well-known surrealist of all time, Salvador Dali. It’s a short work that deploys many tenets of the surrealists, including dreamlike qualities and associations. Said Bunuel, “Give me two hours a day of activity, and I'll take the other 22 in dreams -- provided I can remember them.”
Poetry at Ephemera:
Good Contrivance Residency…coming soon with an early bird discount for paid subscribers: