Why Write?

Turn on any news program or open any social media app and the world comes in. And you realise, that right now, the world is ugly. Fascism dominates, and with it all the ugly -isms and -phobias that generate and feed on hate. When people aren’t killing or hurting each other, they’re destroying the planet. When you see all this, hopelessness becomes inevitable. The words “thoughts and prayers” ring too hollow and you don’t know what to do, what you could do, to make a difference. You aren’t a politician, you aren’t a scientist, and words feel too feeble. Why write?
At the ALP, we’ve been quiet as these tragedies continue. We’ve been hurting. And we’ve been asking ourselves: why write? Why dedicate our lives to writing?
We have two answers: beauty and empathy. We write to create something beautiful in an ugly world. To remind ourselves and others that beauty does exist. And that taking the time to notice beauty and to appreciate it enough to write it is important. This takes us back, to a time before, when we didn’t see the ugly in the world. Who didn’t start writing poetry out of love? You fall in love, that first time you have a crush on someone, so young, and you can’t help but write it. And maybe those first love poems weren’t the best poems, but they tried to capture something beautiful. So, why write? To get back to that.
But what if you didn’t start with love poems? What if you saw the ugly in the world and started writing your anger? Who didn’t, as they wrote love poems, not also write angsty poems about injustice? Even if that injustice was only your parents disallowing you to be with the one you loved, it was still felt, deep enough to write. And this brings us to empathy, because sometimes you can’t write only beauty. Sometimes you must write anger and hurt. Why? Why write? Because you feel a pain so acute that you must communicate it. In this communication we find community–other people with the same pain or other people wanting the same change. That’s what writing does: communicates.
We can’t understand the suffering of other people or the planet. Those hurts are too big. So we put it in writing. We use our craft to create characters, worlds, and we invite readers to know these people, to start to know each other. We begin to recognise others and ourselves, and we start to understand how to support each other.
So, while our mission at the ALP is to curate good. short. writing., what we mean by this is that we want to bring people together. We believe that through writing we can remember to notice beauty. And we can connect to each other, regardless of our backgrounds, to create a community of writers and readers, aware of our differences, and supportive, nonetheless.
All the speeches and rhetoric used for destruction can be turned around. We can use story and poetry and memory, delivered through well-chosen words to understand each other and to create something better.
Why write? Because it gives us hope.

Introducing our New Art Director!

Hello, we know we’ve been a bit quiet since our launch and opening for submissions, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t hard at work behind the scenes. It’s time to share with you something we’ve had in the works for a little while: we now have an Art Director!

Lissa McFarland has been involved with The ALP since it’s inception–starting with designing our first logo and the cover for antilang. no. 1. But she’s not just a visual artist–you can read her creative non-fiction prose poetry in antilang. no. 2 (pages 64-7) and listen to her read poetry in soundbite vol. 1 (9:02-10:16).

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As Art Director, Lissa will be taking over our Instagram account (and if you follow her personal or artist pages, then you know her comments are amazing). In addition to this, she will be on the hunt for a Canadian artist for the cover of antilang. no. 3 and involved with layouts and designs for both publications as necessary. She might even write us a blog post or two about how she sees visual art fitting into our mandate of good. short. writing.

A proud member of Calgary’s queer community, Lissa will also be involved in helping us become better editors for submissions that deal with subject positions we do not have access to. We have always striven to be inclusive and to help facilitate a safe space for our contributors, but we know that sometimes when we recommend cutting a phrase or switching a word, those edits could have the effect of lessening the voices we want to give space to. In the past, our contributors have been understanding with us and have explained why certain edits are not productive for their pieces. We hope that by working with Lissa, we can become better so that our contributors don’t have to put themselves in positions they might find uncomfortable (we can’t ignore power dynamics, even though we are trying to eliminate them).

3, (antilang. no.) 2, (soundbite vol.) 1, LAUNCH!

We promised you more good. short. writing., and we hope you enjoy!

Check out our latest issue of antilang. and our inaugural issue of soundbite

Thanks for all your support, and lots of love from the ALP team!

(and don’t worry, you can still read antilang. no. 1 in our archive)

antilang. Preview: Cover Reveal

We’re stoked to share the cover of antilang. no. 2 with you!

Cover

This fantastic photograph by Manit Chaotragoongit, titled “The traveler on a long way,” captures the minimalist aesthetic of The ALP’s mandate (plus it fits nicely with the bird theme that runs through many of the issue’s pieces). Manit Chaotragoongit was born in 1983 in Bangkok, Thailand. He has received numerous photography awards for his work that explores streets and alleys.

Get ready for a sleuth of antilang. previews as we gear up for the release of issue 2!

Patreon: Step-by-Step

Hello! As you probably already know, we are accepting donations via Patreon in the hope to pay our contributors (soon).

But, you might ask, what is Patreon? Simply put, it is a website that connects artists and art projects to patrons (think England circa the Renaissance but online, and instead of one wealthy person supporting one art project, multiple people with a few spare dollars can support any artistic endeavor).

But, you might follow-up, how legit is this? The ALP is a (Canadian) federally incorporated non-profit, so we are legit. Patreon has a 5% service fee for connecting us to you that they only collect after a donation has been successfully processed (translation: Patreon doesn’t get paid unless we get donations). We think this is a fair operation, as it doesn’t require us to invest a monthly fee or flat rate into keeping our donations page active.

But, you might persist, how do I actually donate? Easy. Below are the 4 steps required to become an official patron of antilang.:

  1. Go to our Patreon page and peruse the 5 tiers we have created for patrons. These tiers range from $1-25 per month. The higher the tier you select the more sweet antilang. swag you’ll receive as our thank you! But we understand that not everyone can afford the higher amounts, so we have Patron-only content available for any level of donor, including monthly writing contests (the winners will be featured on our blog!).
  2. Once you have selected the tier you want to join, click “confirm.”
  3. At this step, if you have a Patreon account already, log in. If you do not have an account, then you can create one by entering a user name and password and clicking “sign up,” or by clicking the “sign up with Facebook” button. We have received confirmation that creating a username and password is really easy (none of the usual ‘that password is not complicated enough’).
  4. You’ve made it to the last step! After you log in a new screen will pop up asking if you want to donate additional money per month (for example, maybe you want the perks of the $10/month but want to give us $15 instead. That’s really awesome! You would enter the additional $5 in this box). You can choose not to add money to your donation and instead skip straight to entering your shipping address (not your billing address!). This is for our records so we can send you swag. Next you enter your credit card number or your PayPal account. And that’s it!

Important note: when you sign up to donate, the money does not immediately leave your account. Your donation is processed only on the 1st of each month, so if you sign-up to donate now, the money will not be taken from your account until August 1st (though our Patreon page will display the addition you have pledged).

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Issue 2 Cover Art Contest

What does literary brevity look like? Show us!

Hey everyone, we’ve been vetting your writing for antilang. no. 2 and we’re blown away by your incredible words! Now we’re looking for an amazing piece of art that captures the essence of good short writing for the issue’s cover.

What does literary brevity look like? Show us! Maybe you’ll go for minimalism, perhaps pithy pointillism, or a more metaphorical approach. Look to our mandate for inspiration. Imply and implicate with your imagery.

Our favorite piece will be featured on the cover of antilang. no. 2 (fall 2018) and will appear in the next collected print edition (no. 2-3, expected early 2019), which the winning artist will of course receive a hard copy of. We hope to eventually pay our contributors via funds raised through Patreon and we will start by back-paying people featured in our early issues.

Click the button below for a direct link to our Submittable page. (Pro tip: it’s totally free to enter!) We can’t wait to see your work!
submit