Dear Creative Friend,
Expressing your ideas in prose, poetry or artwork can be a very healing experience for you, and for the thousands of people who read MANY VOICES. Here are a few hints that may help your experience be positive & increase the chances of being published in the print newsletter, or on the web.
Especially for the newsletter, along with permission to publish, please put your real name/address somewhere on your submission if you expect to follow up on it, or have it returned. We will use an alter's name, initials, or pseudonym if you want that as your byline but it can be impossible to figure out which individual "Kathy" belongs to (for example) since hundreds of people use the same names. If you feel safe enough, add a phone number. It helps us double-check if there's a question. (You don't have todo any of this, if you don't feel comfortable. I assure you, I'm a safe person, and anyone who helps me is carefully screened, but don't do anything that makes you feel unsafe!)
ALSO: your chances for publication are improved if you remember that our goal at MANY VOICES is to comfort people who have been severely traumatized. For this reason, we rarely print extremely graphic details of trauma, or graphic pictures. There is no way to know if a person reading MANY VOICES has a support system nearby. We can't "protect" everyone, and we want to present the hard issues survivors face...but we try to make the reading experience as safe and non-threatening as possible. We do use an occasional four-letter word, we do mention ritual abuse, etc. But our emphasis is on "what works to help you heal," and that rarely requires intense, graphic description.
WRITERS & POETS: It's helpful if articles are typed. You can submit by email, but sometimes I have trouble downloading certain kinds of files. (MIME usually becomes gibberish). It's safer to paste the message right into the email. Try hard to keep writing to four pages or less, double-spaced. It's very difficult to find room for long pieces in MV.
If you must hand write or print, that's ok - just make sure I can read it. You may certainly send ideas or articles that are not on the themes listed for a particular month. If it's for a distant month, we file it. If it's a topic we don't have on schedule, and if it's clear and helpful, we often find room for it somewhere, & often, your idea will suggest a complete theme-issue for the upcoming year.
For example: we will always be interested in integration stories, ideas on how to begin to control self-mutilation or other self-destructive activities, and anything related to suicide-prevention or the reduction of suicidal thoughts. We also want to present ideas on how live more fully while going through the healing process. But if a subject is important to you, send it, whether I've mentioned it here or not. Chances are, it's important to us as well.
On poetry: my personal bias is for unrhymed poetry, with rare exceptions. I like to see clear, vivid writing and imagery...and an emotional tug for the reader. (You don't need to clobber the reader over the head with the message, tho. Subtlety is often more satisfying.) Length varies, but long poems are harder to place.
On humor: the sky is the limit. Even dark, gross humor can be effective. But the common, frustrating experiences of dissociation, or the ironic means of revenge against perpetrators or (sometimes) the mental health system, are most typical of the work we use. Very short, humorous thoughts are always useful for filling in gaps on a page - if you have a great one-liner about dissociation, please send it in.
On book reviews, tape reviews etc.: We use as many as we can, and always appreciate them. Sometimes, if an item doesn't make it in the book review column itself, I can mention it in Resources. And I can also use these ideas in MANY VOICES/MULTIPLE CHOICES Resource Guide, or on the web.
On Resources, etc.: I am always eager to hear about conferences, support groups, special products for survivors etc. I print requests (for respondents to questionnaires, book project solicitations etc.) on a space-available basis.
On Therapists' Page: Often we ask specific therapists directly for their help with this, but we are open to suggestions. We are also open to submissions from people who are both clients and mental health professionals.
Partner's Pages: This section is proving valuable for those in relationships and their significant others. You or your partner is invited to send material (no more than 4-typed DS pages.)
On letters: We print selected letters that may be of interest to the general readership, at your request. We may be printing some on the web, as well. In both cases, we will forward replies if we have your mailing address or (in terms of the web) your email. We suggest you do not release your home address to strangers, but you may be able to use a post office box or a therapist's or business address to receive mail from people you don't know. We do not provide pen-pal matching service. I answer letters directed to MV or myself as time and energy (& brainpower) allow. I wish I could answer everyone promptly, but I can't. & on this subject: I confess I'm extremely slow in returning material. I hope to improve this situation, but keep a copy of what you send me for your peace of mind. Besides, it's the professional thing to do.
ARTISTS: We are always looking for quality art, for both the web's new art gallery, and the newsletter. We need your permission for one, or the other, or both. Remember our newsletter art must be reproduced by a printing process in black and white. We have new equipment, so I can work with halftones, shading or colored work more easily than before. Still, clear black and white line drawings reproduce best in the newsletter. Avoid folding artwork. It's hard to clean up the folds when the art is scanned. We use vertical or square images on the cover, usually relating to the theme. Horizontals can be used in some spaces, tho, so if you have a horizontal picture you like a lot, send it anyway. Clearly-drawn cartoons are always a treat to receive...and publish. Sometimes it takes a few issues to get them in print, but most of them make it eventually.
We prefer to work with originals or clear photocopies. If you must photocopy your submission, try to minimize the gray speckles that don't belong. Photocopies of art with shading are usually hard to reproduce. Better to send the original. I can scan it immediately & return promptly, if you wish. We will gladly return original art accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Please make sure it is large enough. We do not return photocopies. For the web: You may send your art as a jpg attachment, but we may resize it to fit the needs of the webpage. If you want web feedback, please include your email address so people can send you notes...& let me know if you want the email to come directly to you, or if you'd rather I screen the replies for possible 'nasties' and then forward them to you.
TO EVERYONE AGAIN: Of course you know we can't publish everything we receive - even if it's wonderful. It breaks my heart, but there's just not room. Now that we have the web space, we hope to expand. I don't want to duplicate the newsletter on the web. They are two different spaces, and I will try to use them appropriately.
But whether or not your material appears, please know how much I appreciate your sharing, in every way. Without your sharing, there would be no MANY VOICES at all. Your ideas for future topics are always welcome, and are saved for review when the theme-decisions are made.
I wish I could meet each of you personally and let you know what strength your struggle and success with the healing process has given me and the thousands who've read MANY VOICES. Every step forward you take is making a positive difference in the world.