Call for Submissions! Due October 28th, 2021
Please refer to our full submission guidelines
Coping with Change
For our second collection of the Writing for Change Journal, we invite a wide range of submissions that center on “coping” with change. It is our hope that by emphasizing coping, the contributions of this collection will work together to highlight new ways that we as individuals and as members of a community may better respond to and be in relation with one another. With a focus on coping, how we cope, what we cope with, and with whom we cope, this collection ultimately attends to new forms of empathy and compassion. Given the proven ways that practices of composing (writing, creating, and more) allow us to work through and process change, it is our hope that the charge of this collection may inspire reflections on how that happens, but also simultaneously produce forms of healing, reflection, and insight.
It is from within multiple and overlapping emergencies that we invite submissions on coping. There is the ongoing and still-surging pandemic, the global and regional impacts of climate change, structural inequalities, financial struggles, personal and collective grief, political polarization, and an exhausting and dizzying newscycle. During the last 18 months, there have been and continue to be struggles, for sure, but there is evidence of resilience as we’ve also developed close and meaningful relationships, achieved personal, professional, and creative goals, and formed new equitable structures of care and support.
Change is inevitable, and the effects of change are complex. We change. Our loved ones change. The world changes around us, often in ways we have little control over. When we cope with change, we cope with trauma and with uncertainty, we confront our vulnerabilities and find solace in our commonalities with others. That we do cope, and find ways to cope, and help each other cope is intentional and ultimately hopeful. We cope to heal, we cope so that we may live, we cope so that we can be our best selves for the people we love, and we cope so that we might maintain a measure of control when so many forces of change seem out of our control. Practices of coping signal to others and to ourselves that we are in a state of transition, a sense of in-betweenness, of learning how to live in a middle space so that we can imagine a world beyond it. At the start of the pandemic, celebrated Indian writer Arundhati Roy described the space we’re in as a “portal,” “a gateway between one world and the next.” This collection’s focus on coping allows us all to linger in this moment in different ways and learn from each other in order to bring the next world into focus.
Consider the following framing questions as you plan out your submission.
- In what ways have writing, art, music, exercise, and more helped you cope with trauma, loss, and uncertainty? What examples can you share and discuss?
- How have your relationships with loved ones, trusted friends, and/or strong sense of community contributed to the way that you cope? How have those relationships changed in the process?
- Healthy change also brings challenges: moving, starting a new job or ending an old job, getting married, parting ways, transitioning, forming new habits, dropping old ones…these are part of life, but they still require a measure of coping. How have you coped with this type of change in your life?
- Via Zoom, socially distanced, and in isolation, many have decided to pursue a degree, learn an instrument, embark a new career, or perfect an art or craft, among so much more; so many have pushed forward with grace despite the constraints and challenges. In light of deep challenges, what stories of coping might we learn and draw inspiration from?
- Through coping, what have you learned about yourself in terms of your own strengths and vulnerabilities, and how you will respond in the future?
- Thinking about Arundhati Roy’s metaphor of the “portal” described above, what role does coping play for you in imagining a new world from which we want to emerge?
- Where do you draw strength and inspiration, despite the challenges and constraints?
- How have you helped others cope with loss, trauma, and pain?
- When we cope, we may also be confronting the ways in which society is not addressing our needs. Through coping, what have you learned about structural inequalities and other systemic or institutionalized problems that could be alleviated with new social norms/practices or even new laws and policies?
- We want to also acknowledge that many of us don’t feel like we’re coping very well, doing our best to attend to and prioritize our health, our sleep, and our relationships. How has this kind of prioritization–the process one goes through to identify what is truly important–proved to be a vital form of coping?
The Writing for Change Journal is a multimodal publishing space, and therefore welcomes submissions beyond traditional written texts like essays and other forms of nonfiction writing like prose, interviews, and personal narratives. Submissions may also be in the form of photography, visual and performance art, podcasts, film, and combined mediums and those yet to be imagined. Though we may ask you to include a paragraph or two about your process and intention as it relates to this collection’s theme. Creative and collaborative submissions are also welcomed.