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.

antilang. Preview: Jessica Mehta’s “Savagery”

Jessica Mehta’s poem “Savagery” opens antilang. no. 2 and sets the bold, political, and powerful tone that many of our emergent contributors carry on throughout the issue. Read her other poem, “Orygun,” and the rest of the issue by clicking the excerpt below.MehtaJessica Mehta is a multi-award-winning poet, storyteller, and author of 13 books. She’s a member of the Cherokee Nation and has been awarded numerous poet-in-residency positions around the world. Currently, she is a Halcyon Art Labs fellow and working on her PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Exeter. Her next poetry collection, Savagery, is forthcoming with Airlie Press in 2019.

Summer Va-cay! (sort of)

Hello!

Just a quick note to let you know that we will be a bit unreachable until August 22nd because…we’re going on a working holiday to Iceland! Technically, both of us are going to a conference (Exploring Canada: Exploits and Encounters hosted by the Nordic Association for Canadian Studies) then spending some time camping around the island. But when we aren’t doing that, we will be promoting antilang. abroad (hard-copies are packed and ready to be shared).

However, we have an announcement and an On Editing blog post scheduled to be released while we’re away, so it won’t be complete radio-silence on our end (Our Patrons on Patreon will have immediate access to these posts–another reason to consider donating). We won’t be responding to emails, but we will be documenting sightings of antilang. on our Instagram page (@antilangmag), so be sure to check it out!

For those of you interested in what we do when we aren’t vetting submissions or writing blog posts, here are brief descriptions of our conference papers:

Allie’s presentation is cryptically titled “North” and is an excerpt from her creative manuscript Best Before with a critical introduction informed by spatial theory. As expected, one character goes North. The others do not.

Jordan, on the other hand, has a very detailed title: “Becoming Lost: Exploring Absence Through the Guy Vanderhaeghe Fonds.” This paper explores archival absence through a Derridian lens, using a failed genetic criticism of Vanderhaeghe’s Ed stories (“Man Descending,” “Sam, Soren, and Ed,” and My Present Age) as a case study.