In this episode, Rachel Thompson talks with Marianne Chan and Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice, the respective poetry editor and flash fiction editor with Split Lip magazine. These are two editors who both collaborate in this interview, and also who approach their editorial work in collaboration.
We talk about how their collaboration works and extends to the writers who submit to the journal. We cover jealousy in art and how the poems and stories they publish need to be ready for their solo appearance. We also get pretty specific about the lengths of work in both flash and longer fiction. And the interview turns even more collaborative when they turn the mic on me to discuss our writing practices—they have lots to say about what has worked and what hasn’t when it comes to writing consistently.
Host: Rachel Thompson
Sound Editor: Mica Lemiski
Transcript Editing: Rachel Thompson
Presented by Room magazine and the Lit Mag Love Course
Rachel Thompson: My guests today are Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice and Marianne Chan. They’re both editors with Split Lip magazine. Welcome to Lit Mag Love podcast.
Both: Thanks for having us.
Rachel Thompson: I want to start by asking you about your lead. I always like to know people’s origin stories as writers. So what’s the first book that you each read that made you fall in love with the craft of rating?
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: Marianne I kind of had a powwow about this and how hard it is to think of the first book, but I actually came up with two. One is a children’s book that my dad used to read me called Miss Suzy, which is about a squirrel who is kicked out of her house and in a tree and she moves into a dollhouse and she makes friends with these toy soldiers and it’s the most heartwarming, lovely story but I learned to read by reading that book, because I read it so much. I memorized it. And I think that’s the first time I fell in love with storytelling and I am really interested in relationships between unusual people and I still write about that kind of thing today so I think that that book really made me appreciate what storytelling can do. And then the other one is As I lay Dying by Faulkner and I think that that really instilled in me a love of voice, because each with so many points of view and I love to write with voice. So, I can’t pinpoint one book but you know I probably could tell you 20 if we had more time, but those are few.
Marianne Chan: I think that for me, I didn’t start thinking about poetry very critically until undergrad. And so in terms of thinking about poetry and what a poem is in a Frank O’Hara’s Lunch Poems really excited me when I was in college I think it totally changed the way that I thought about poetry. And. I remember when I first read it I didn’t understand it. I just remember thinking like oh Ave Maria—how is this a poem? But I just enjoyed the book so much all of his observations he just made poetry so light and easy and. Ordinary and observational and also kind of like bright and enticing and happy and I always just think of that book as a happy book whenever I feel like I’m in a poetry slump I pick it up and I read a few poems a few lines from it. He also just did a lot of stuff with poetry that I wasn’t aware that you could do. For example, in A Step Away From Them, he uses the word hum-coloured it’s a hyphenated word hum-hyphen-coloured to describe taxicabs and I just like had never seen that before and it really amazed me. And he also just did a lot of interesting things with with line breaks that I wasn’t doing at the time and so I kind of experimented with that after reading Lunch Poems.
Rachel Thompson: And, related to that, I’m just wondering you’re both writers. How did you become a writer. How did you think about the metier of being a writer from a young age? I know, Kaitlyn you’re talking about that book making you fall in love with story when did you realize you could write stories?
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: First of all I will say that I resisted being a writer, I wanted to be an actress and Marianne and I have talked about this at length and I thought I was going to go to Juilliard and I was going to be a famous actress but I was not a very good actress. My talent was with words. It came so easy to me when I was a kid I didn’t think it was something I could pursue. About that—my town library had like a writing contest in the summer so you could basically create your own sort of book, and I wrote one about aliens who had come down to participate in the Olympics.
Marianne Chan: Um, you did? That’s so great.
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: Of course I did. And I won. I won the first prize and I won a desk and that was like this wooden desk made by this guy the town and I felt like the most important person. They put my picture on the front of the paper and I thought like, I can be famous this way. As an adult I realize it’s not the same thing, being a writer but I think that’s when the bug hit and then it’s been that way ever since.
Marianne Chan: That is so funny, because when I was a kid I was in third grade and there was this young authors contest and my my boyfriend at the time we were both eight years old wrote this collaborative book with his best friend Beo. My boyfriend’s name was Corbin, by the way. Corbin, hello if you’re listening. But, we wrote this book called Slimy Dragon Demons. And it was about this demon that was set up in the tree. So when these kids would walk home from school they would see this slimy dragon demon. I think that it ended up being nice at the end of the book I can’t exactly I can’t remember how it ended but it was sort of a similar thing where I felt like, oh, I won this. I’m going to win this young authors award and this is going to make me like a brilliant writer and I’m going to be a writer when I grow up. That was my entry way into I think being a writer. But also I did theatre when I was in high school in undergrad, too, and I think that that was a huge entry point for me in terms of thinking about poetry. I think that when I first started writing poems I was thinking about them in terms of monologues, and so, the first poem that I wrote an undergrad was a monologue about the voice of my grandmother. And it wasn’t a poem and it wasn’t very good, and I think that it was because I was sort of writing it like like it like it would be a part of a scene or something. But, I think that acting is kind of like a writing or reading practice, because not only are you reading a script and interpreting it and putting on a play, but you’re also kind of thinking about the character’s back stories and thinking about subtext in interiority. And I really think that doing a lot of theater in undergrad helped me kind of understand rhythm and musicality and so on. So I thought that that was really really helpful to me as a writer.
Rachel Thompson: I love that insight. Yeah and I also like what Kaitlyn, what you said about things that come easy that we take for granted. That you have a natural gift for writing.
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: I hate to say that it sounds… It doesn’t always come easy. I didn’t mean to sound flippant, but I think it was a skill I had that I didn’t realize was a really big deal and everyone around me my teachers everyone my parents they were encouraging me to be kind of pursue it and I’m like well it’s not that big of a deal because I can just do it. So I think that that’s something that’s important especially for teachers like, keep nurturing people.
Rachel Thompson: Since becoming editors what has being an editor taught you about your own writing? How has it informed your own writing?
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: I have a few answers to this. One, I think it’s taught me the importance of keeping a reader’s attention. I don’t think I appreciated how many things an editor is reading, just poems, stories, whatever it may be. And they’re reading it on their computer. You have to keep their attention because it’s so easy to click away from the screen that you’re reading it on and then come back to it, and if you don’t keep someone’s attention for however many minutes it takes you through the story, I think that that’s a bad sign that maybe the story isn’t working. So, it’s kind of taught me the importance of maintaining the energy of a story all the way through. And then, I think it’s given me patience to realize that a lot of people send out things before they are ready. We see a lot of stories that are great but not quite there. And so I think if people spent a few months revising they might have a story that was easily accepted by a magazine. It’s just that they, you know, I feel the show all the time: I finish a story, I think it’s wonderful I want to send it out, so I do. But, you know, it’s not perfect yet. So I think being an editor has made me see how important revision is to making a story work. And it’s also hard to know when it’s done. I think when you’re sick of the story you’ve read it so many times and you can’t possibly a single thing more from it than you’re done. Time to send it out. But if you go through when you notice something or here or there, it is not quite working, then it’s probably not ready.
Rachel Thompson: How about for you Marianne?
Rachel Thompson: Yeah. So to add to that, I agree, and I think we see a lot of good work in our submittable queues, craft wise, especially. I mean I’m only reading poems and so I see poems with wonderful lines and great images and if I had read the poem maybe in a collection of poetry then I would feel like, Oh yeah I’m content with this, this is good. But because we have, for example, our online issue we only publish one piece per genre per month. I’m often saying to myself is this piece strong enough, or wild enough to kind of stand as a representative of our genre this month? So the poem is kind of going up on stage alone and like doing a solo up there and so I kind of want to make sure that it’s an amazing poem. And so, I think working as an editor has made me ask myself similar questions about my own work. So I’ll read a poem that I just finished reading and I’ll ask myself, would I have published this if I if it landed in my queue and if not why not? And it sort of helped me to think about ways to make, I think like Kaitlyn said to make the poem kind of stand out to grab the editor’s attention. And it’s really hard and it’s something that I still struggle with, but I think that I think more critically about my work now working with Split Lip for about a year and a half now, I think I’m a little bit better of a reader and I can kind of look at my work more objective objectively.
Rachel Thompson: Let’s talk a bit about collaboration, since you’re collaborating on this interview. And I know a Split Lip is also collaborating with Indiana Review looking for a collaborative work written by two or more authors or single author work that seriously considers the theme of collaboration. How did this particular idea come about?
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: So Indiana Review, who we love, and a few of us have been published there, they reach out to us because every spring they do a folio which is like an insert into their print issue. The last one was about technology in the future. And so they have a different game every year and they reached out to us about possibly collaborating, where the work would be featured in their print issue and then also on our website. So. It was really exciting to us because we think of Split Lip like this giant collaboration. It’s like my little family even though we never see each other in person. Sometimes on the screen we do, but you know we don’t all work in the same spot so it’s just an amazing thing we’ve been able to work together and make this magazine happen the way we have. And so for Indiana Review, who we’ve all admired, reach out to us which has been really exciting and them now we’ve sort of meshed teams with them. And so we’re working with their editors and we’re going to have some collaborative meetings and we’re going to have a reading at AWP in March together, so it’s just really exciting.
Rachel Thompson: Nice. And have you as creators been involved in collaborations?
Marianne Chan: Yeah, so I always think of collaboration in different ways like there are various levels to collaboration. And, during my MFA I was imitating everyone. I was writing like Frank O’Hara, like I mentioned earlier Caroline Kaiser, William Carlos Williams, Garrett Hongo, and I always considered that sort of a collaborative process—imitation. But then I did more direct collaborations with a couple of friends of mine from my MFA. One of them, we spent a whole month writing poems in forms, so sonnets, sestinas, villenelles. And then we kind of just wrote them in and sent them to each other back and forth. And it wasn’t sort of like a direct collaboration, where we were affecting each other’s work but just just doing that and doing it every day and reading each other’s work. Kind of made it so that they were all kind of coming together and influencing each other. And so that’s one. And then another one was a friend of mine wrote poetry letters to one another so they were kind of like a epistoles, but they were in verse. It was kind of interesting, because we had to write a poetry letter to each other every day. And so a lot of things from our day were kind of just seeping in, because writing everyday is kinda hard. It’s kind of hard to find the inspiration. And so, altogether, it kind of just like is like a jumble of what we did that month. And our reactions to each other’s projects and habit, and so on. Yes, so those are a couple of collaborations that I worked on.
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: And we actually should say that some of what Marrianne’s talking about, we’re creating some prompts for the collaborative issue we’re doing within Indiana Review. And some of them are inspired by Marianne’s experience doing collaborative poetry, which I think, I am not a poet, but I loved the idea of collaborating in that way and I try to think of how to translate it. Marianne I were even talking like how can we do it together? Because I think collaboration is really wonderful because writing can be very lonely. Often that’s near in my house by myself and I don’t see another human until my family comes home so I think it’s really wonder to see like, Oh, I’m not alone in this process. There’s other people out there struggling, so I think that’s part of the inspiration for a collaborative issue as well.
Rachel Thompson: Nice and so I want to turn our attention to submissions to Split Lip and I’m just wondering what your current slush acceptance rate is.
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: So I looked. It’s between 2 and 3 percent. Because every genre is a little different. So somewhere in that range is that for web or for print. Yes so that’s one thing that throws off the… We it’s we print our print issue once a year, we put out one issue, our next one will be coming out in March of this year. So, it’s a little skewed because sometimes we solicit for the print issue, so, but that’s a good range for people to have in mind of what our acceptance rate is like.
Rachel Thompson: I wondered when you’re talking about being different per genre. Is there one genre you can identify that you have a higher acceptance rate for?
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: We have a higher acceptance rate for memoir, because we get fewer submissions, but they’re not often very good. So, when a good memoir comes in, we’re really likely to accept it. If that makes sense. Memoir is a tricky genre, not a lot of people write it, because it’s not an essay. So, it’s just a different kind of form. And then, you know, people are afraid—I’m afraid to write memoir I don’t like to do and I don’t like to write about self so I want to be able to make things up so I can understand why we get fewer submissions.
Rachel Thompson: And, actually, it was a question—I was testing a hypothesis a bit. Because that’s what I’ve heard across the board from most journals.
Marianne Chan: Oh, that’s interesting.
Rachel Thompson: Kaitlyn, I read that you, when we’re talking really specifically about submissions, that you prefer not to have more submissions with overtly political work—and I know you’re going to clarify what you mean by that— and then also stories about dead children. So, are there any other subjects you’d like readers to avoid when submitting work to Split Lip?
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: I realized when I say these things and it sounds like don’t ever send us a story with the dead child. That sounds horrible. First of all we just see a lot of stories about people who have lost babies or people who lose their children. And I can empathize with how traumatic that experience must be. It’s hard to write something new. We have never seen someone—if you did a new take on that story, then send it to us. Maybe it’s in a weird form or maybe you know there’s something else going on in the world that’s kind of off kilter. You know it’s just often when we get things like that it seems like we’ve seen many of them, so it’s hard for us to be excited and it kind of goes back to what Marianne was saying like if something is going to be the only piece from that genre for that month it has the standalone. And it’s harder if it seems like it’s something we’ve seen all over the place in every literary magazine. As far as political work, I think we see a lot of work especially about Trump and they’re more satirical and they feel very much like I wrote this as a rant. And don’t get me wrong, I’m angry all the time too. But it’s hard to kind of publish something like that. You know it’s just…you don’t have enough distance from it. Of course would love to publish political work and we often publish poetry that is political in nature I think but it’s just about the way in which the author is approaching the political subject. So those are the two things that come to mind but I also would say sometimes we see a lot of marriages gone bad, which is kind of lumped in there with the dead babies. Just because it’s hard to write an original story about that. But that’s not to say couldn’t be done and I love people who like to break the rules and try new things, so I think people should only write about things that excite them so if that’s something they want to write about that’s what they should read about.
Rachel Thompson: Yeah. It’s the consistent advice across the board from editors, too, it’s like we have things that we see too much of, but if you have an original take, we’ll take it.
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: That also sounds so hard to quantify like what is an original take, but I think that sometimes people if people can experiment with form, something Marianne and I talk about all the time—constraints often help you be more creative. Maybe your story is written like a recipe. I’m just throwing out an idea that somehow the rules of writing in this form kind of opens you up to exploring these topics that everyone’s seen in a new way.
Rachel Thompson: And speaking of form, I had another question for you, Kaitlyn, about flash versus longer works of short fiction. And I know you have a Split Lip FAQ every once and a while. #SLFAQ. And you recently said that you often leave the comment on a submission that this story is not flash and then vice versa. You also receive many stories that need to be shorter. So what are the ways that writers can tell they’ve veered too far one way or the other?
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: This is I have a two part answer. For flash, I think a lot of the times what happens is sometimes a concept is too big and as I like to write concept-heavy stories, so I have a really hard time with flash, so I kind of can understand how this happens. We actually had a submission recently where Maureen Langloss and I, she’s our flash editor, and we were debating it, and the concept was so great it was hilarious it was really interesting but it was so big for the flash and I think the story was only 450 words or something from that. And, I just said we can’t accept it because it doesn’t work in this form, but tell the author that if she wants to expand it, she should send it back to us.Because it just needed room to breathe. It was, you know, there were all these things going on there was a character who needed to buy something from a store and the store had all these weird things happening in it and it just felt like it was so much to be happening 450 words. So that’s some sample of where maybe flash can go wrong in terms of length. It’s just about asking yourself, do I have enough room to explore this story? And this far a story is being too long. I think that’s a huge problem that we see and it’s something I struggle with, too, but often stories can cut 200 words without losing any of the meaning. And I think something writers can do and this is something I try to do, is read from beginning to end and decide where the energy is kind of lagging. If you feel like at any point that the energy is lagging that’s what has to go. Or maybe you tweak the language to make it easier to to adjust. But often stories are too long and especially if you want to print on line. I’ve found that things under 2000 words are better then we’ll accept longer work for the Internet, but it’s easier for people to read in one sitting things that are in the two thousand to twenty-five hundred range.
Rachel Thompson: Yeah. I teach students on revision and often the ones that have the students who have these 4000 word stories I’m always like can you just just try to see what happens if you can cut it down and inevitably something great comes out of that, I think.
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: I think also that requires time like back to the idea of patience because often I will have a story and I’ll look back at it in a couple months or realize how much fluff is in there that wasn’t needed. And so I think that that’s something that you get better at it with practice.
Rachel Thompson: And sometimes I think of flash as being quite akin to poetry in that it’s distilling a moment often makes sense. That is exactly and that’s a lot of times why bigger concepts don’t necessarily work. And I tend to like flash that does have a story more than just… There’s a lot of flash it’s almost like prose poetry. We’ll publish that if we get one that’s great. We often do publish flash that has you know somewhat of a beginning middle and end. But you’re right, it’s more of a moment. It’s like I can compare it to, maybe you’re watching a short film versus a story or a longer movie or even a scene within a longer movie.
Rachel Thompson: And so I do want to segue into poetry submissions too for Split Lip and Marianne you write on the Split Lip website that you’re looking to read poems, as you put it that I wish I had written, poems that make me want to clutch my collar and scream. And I’ve heard this sentiment from other poetry editors really particularly now I’m wondering if we can talk a little bit about jealousy as a positive propelling force in our writing lives, if you feel it’s true. And then how do you use this for fuel for both your own work as an editor and a poet?
Marianne Chan: It’s so funny, because I don’t know if I thought of that note as being about jealousy as much as it is about admiration. Because sometimes I read…OK, we can talk about jealousy for. So yeah I think that it’s I think that when you read when I read the poem sometimes I think, oh yeah, I really wish that I had written this and it and it can be exciting and inspiring. I think most of the time it’s exciting and inspiring to me. And sometimes I think, you know, wow I wish I could steal that. And I think it just comes from the desire to possess something that’s beautiful. I think often, for example, like when I see an amazing dancer or a musician on stage I sometimes want to covet their talent. And sometimes I even think if I started playing the clarinet tomorrow and dedicated my life to it I’d be so good when I’m 50. I just get like really excited about the idea of being really amazing at something even though I know it’s not possible. But I just wanted to note that I wrote that “what I’m looking for” paragraph when I first started at Split Lip. And that was about a year and a half ago now. And I would probably tweak that now because the truth is—or I think the truth is—that we want to publish a wide variety of styles and voices and experiences in our magazine and to say that I wanted to write some of the poems that we publish would be also because a lot of the poems could only be written by that particular poet. And that’s actually what we want. We want poems that are unique and specific enough to the writer that wrote them and I think that’s a good thing, so I think I might take that back, I might tweak that in the future. But yeah, I like that you asked a question about it.
Rachel Thompson: And in that long list which which you may be tweaking as well you you give as I said a long list of what you’re looking for in poems, but then you go on to say don’t worry so much about what I’m looking for in a poetry submission send us pieces that make us rethink what we’re looking for and we’ll go from there. How often does reading poetry submissions make you rethink what you’re looking for and in what ways?
Marianne Chan: Yeah, I think it happens all the time. In terms of form, for example, we recently published Anastasia Stelse’s poems Shorthand Flirtationships for 21st century edition and Shorthand Courtships 21st Century Edition. And these poems were written were all written in shorthand. And I never thought we would publish anything like that and I totally love the poems. They’re just really unusual and fun and I loved how the shorthand made me want to slow down while reading the lines. I just thought that it was a really unique structure and a unique constraint. We also published a poem by M’Bilia Meekers’ for our print issue which we are to this day obsessed with. And it’s called Tinderella on Fire. And her writing was almost essayistic and it touched on so many different ideas and images and I was just kind of amazed at how it kind of expanded and contracted. Yeah, I’d never seen a poem like that before and I thought it was amazing. And so it happens it happens all the time we read submissions and we see something that’s unique and we want to publish it.
Rachel Thompson: So, I want to talk even more about collaboration about your editorial practices and it sounds like a wonderful collaboration like you’re spread geographically, and you have a variety of editors and it’s really apparent that you’re mindful about diversity in your submissions too and then amplifying voices that haven’t been heard. Are there areas where you want to improve on this or some intentionality that you have around that?
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: This was something we talked about a lot, because it’s not an easy thing to do and it’s not an easy thing to fix, if you have a problem with publishing diverse voices. But one thing that we acknowledge is that you can’t just sit around and hope that it happens, so I think we try to be as proactive as we can. And whether that’s to marketing our magazine to different groups not just you know the standard academia literary magazine world, but also people who are writing outside of academia, whether that’s reaching out to writers we love or discovering new writers, we use a thing called Slack, which is like a digital workspace. That’s how we communicate, and it’s kind of a game changer in terms of allowing us to communicate in quote unquote real time, because we’re all over the country into her time zones. But it’s changed the way we are productive; it’s been amazing. It also allows us to just talk all day long. But, we have a place on there where we kind of try to cover new voices. Marianne and I were talking about how we need to do this more, because I’m always reading literary magazines. And the idea is to find someone we’ve never read before that we’re really excited about and reach out to them. So I think a lot of it is about being creative about ways that we can do that in the future.
Rachel Thompson: And you’ve identified age as something that goes unnoticed when reading submissions and I think rightly so. And that at Split Lip you’ve published everyone from retirees to high school students. And I’m asking this out of a need for Room, too, because this I feel is an area where Room in spite of our deliberate practice of opening up to more voices sometimes falls short. And in particular we don’t publish a lot of the voices of older women or genderqueer writers. So how has Split Lip managed to do this? And is there anything you can teach us about that?
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: Thank you for saying that. It makes me feel really good because the age thing is particularly important to me, because I think sometimes even when I’m reading work in literary magazine it’s often about the same age range. Like, you don’t read about high school students or you don’t read about people who are retired people are out of the workforce. Academia tends to be skew younger in terms of who’s running literary magazines. So, that’s my own passion, so it makes me feel good and that people noticed that. We just published a woman Lorelei Glaser who is 90 years old. And Ray Shea, who is our memoir editor, he was the one who found piece and he was like, I didn’t even know what her age was I just read it and then after I realized what her age was. So part of what we do is we’re really open to new voices as Marianne said, it’s our mission, basically, to discover new voices to maybe publish things that other magazines wouldn’t publish. So I think that allows us to publish a wide range of ages and people coming from all kinds of socioeconomic backgrounds and we just have a lot of conversations about what we’re publishing and I think this is one of the reasons we don’t read submissions blindly, because we do like to look or cover letters and understand where the person’s coming from and, you know, that helps us make decisions sometimes.
Rachel Thompson: Yes. Often a misconception with journals around diversity sometimes is oh we read everything blindly and so therefore you know the best pieces are going to be published.
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: But yeah because I think a lot of his confronting your own bias. So, for me I like a particular kind of story that I…At Split Lip we’re really trying to publish all kinds of things that are very unique and that may not be what I like to write, just kind of like what Marianne was saying. It’s not a poem she would write but it’s a poem she loves so I think cover letters are important for kind of understanding the background of where this author is coming from.
Rachel Thompson: How about Marianne, your approach to poetry?
Marianne Chan: In terms of reading submissions?
Rachel Thompson: Yeah.
Marianne Chan: Yes, so I try my best to to read a lot outside of the submission queue and solicit writers who I think are doing really interesting things and publish writers who are doing things that we haven’t published yet.So I always tell our readers that we’re trying to kind of create this sort of like polyphonic environment with our magazine, because we don’t want to just publish one one voice or with the same type of poem over and over again. And so I do my best to try to, like Kaitlyn said, read other journals and find new writers that way. And then also I do just the same as Kaitlyn, I read the cover letters to kind of find out a little bit more about where they’re coming from. Also if I have, like a lot of writer friends who who give me recommendations all the time and I try to take recommendations and run with them and send e-mails to writers who are doing a lot of interesting stuff.
Rachel Thompson: I want to ask you each to describe a couple works that you were thrilled to be able to publish. How about we start with you Marianne?
Marianne Chan: Yes so like I mentioned I was really I really loved publishing M’Bilia Meekers’ poem in our print issue. She also read at our reading and she was just it was just absolutely beautiful. And we were really glad to have her. Recently we published W Todd Kaneko’s poem Elegy for Mr. Spock and I absolutely loved that poem. I was really thrilled to have him as a contributor and the poem was extremely moving it was about his relationship with his dad who passed away and also his thoughts about death and we were really happy to publish him.
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: Yeah I mean M’Bilia Meekers’ poem is definitely up there there. And Marianne and I had already talked about this and I think I we loved the poem from the minute we read it, but then when she read it aloud at our feet it was like this moment of pure joy that I haven’t experience very often. Where I just felt like this…I Always imagined I’d be involved in this world, but when you see art being performed like that, it was like a life-changing moment. It sounds really dramatic, but it just made it feel like what we’re doing matters. At least to me, and her poem is so incredibly good and interesting and like Marianne said touches on all these different things and she has a gift and it’s like a true joy to be able to discover people with this gift. Another person I was thinking of is Hanna Rosenheimer, it’s called Coming Clean and Hanna is an undergraduate—so, speaking of age, the voice is just so good and hilarious and the story is so poignant and it’s just, again, a joy to be able to discover someone like us who hasn’t really published widely. And that it’s exciting for us.
Rachel Thompson: Love it. And I love the way that you manage to also address the real Lit Mag Love in the in the room too. Around, it’s why we do it, and it’s sometimes a common misconception even around writers we think oh they just want to reject my work. There is this real love for writers and discovering new voices.
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: And that’s another thing that we are really big into trying to create: a supportive community. And so it’s not just for the people we publish it’s also for the people who participate whether it’s reading or coming to our readings like I want it to feel like this big family. So often the writing world can feel really scary because you’re trying to get your work accepted you’re getting rejected it just feels really miserable and there should be a lot of joy to it because like you said that’s why we do it. Not to reject people and make people feel bad.
Rachel Thompson: So when someone submits their work to Split Lip and you’ve accept it. What should writers expect in terms of developmental suggestions or other edits that you might make with their work?
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: So it depends on the genre. We make a lot of edits in flash and fiction. Often often before making going to make edits the writer notes before we accept the piece, so we’ll say we love this but we have a few comments, are you open to that? And then we kind of feel out whether or not they are open to it, because often a writer has a vision that is not an matching up with ours, which is fine, but then we want to save everyone the time of going through the whole process. So, we’re very transparent about what a writer can expect in terms of, like, if we’re going to change a lot of things I’ll know upfront. And then, we book pretty far out, so it might be six months to a year before you appear. And we do a proofreading round and everyone will see a proof of the issue, whether that’s in print or online and they had the opportunity to make any last minute changes. So we’re always in contact. So there’s a pretty consistent process that we go through with for accepted work.
Marianne Chan: In terms of poetry, I’m pretty hands off. We usually accept poems that need very minimal edits. And we we have liked a poem before that needed a lot of editing, but usually it’s more on the line level and if there are grammatical mistakes in the poem and they don’t seem intentional, then we go ahead and fix that. But other than that we don’t really do that much edits when it comes to poetry.
Rachel Thompson: I would say that’s the same with Room, too, there’s something about poetry that’s—either it’s done or it’s not done.
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: Yeah, it is weird how poetry…I Was just thinking it’s the only genre like that.
Rachel Thompson: Before we wrap up, I’m wondering what’s next for a Split Lip and then for each of you, too.
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: Well for Split Lip. September everything just starts happening because we are working on our next print issue, which we’re really excited about, we’re printing double this year, so it’s also really exciting to me, because my love is print. I love print journals and for us to be able to do this and have people want to buy it has been really rewarding. So we’re working on that. We’re preparing for AWP. We have the collaborative issue with Indiana Review. So it just feels like—poetry contest, going on right now open until October 1st with Paige Lewis as our judge. So there’s so many great things happening as well. It’s kind of hard to even think about it myself.
Marianne Chan: We’re very busy.
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: But, personally am I’m working on short stories and a novel which I never thought I would say out loud and uh keeping the joy, the faith.
Rachel Thompson: Marianne how about for you?
Marianne Chan: Yes, I have a I have a book coming out in 2020 and so I’m working on that, working on edits for that, and also trying to think about maybe adding poems to the collection, and so I’m working on new poems and thinking about maybe starting a new project. But all of that is kind of up in the air right now. I’m just trying to I’m just trying to take time out every day to sit down and write at least an hour. If I can do that then I feel like a success.
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: This is a great tip for your listeners, there a thing online called 750words.com. It costs five dollars a month and it’s just like this Web site that tracks when you return 750 words. And I do it every day. And it keeps like a streak, like you’ve gotten a five day streak, and says congratulations and I feel really good when I’ve gotten five days in a row.
Marianne Chan: That’s amazing.
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: OK, I’ve accomplished something for that day. If I do nothing else with writing then that’s something.
Marianne Chan: And it’s collaboration. That’s collaboration with technology.
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: And it’s an amazing thing. So something that I like. It’s a little trick of the trade.
Rachel Thompson: Wow. Yeah I totally need that. I’m going to check it out.
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: It’s great. It’s very simple. So when you see it you’re going to be like, Are you sure? But it’s just because it’s motivating to keep the words all there and then see how many days you’ve done it. I think you’ll really like it.
Rachel Thompson: Thanks. Nice.
Marianne Chan: How’s your writing-life going Rachel?
Rachel Thompson: Well this is the thing. Talking to editors it’s often is, it’s sort of, we’re focused on the journals and other things or other projects and it’s hard sometimes to do the daily. Yeah, so myself I am just returning to a writing practice that I forced myself to map out this summer to have a dedicated practice. So it’s a weekdays only. I’ve small kids and I don’t…I just decided, weekends forget about it. I’m just doing it on the weekdays.
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: I think it’s important too, to give yourself a break. A day off. Because your brain needs to reset. Like, I was thinking, oh I have to write every day seven days a week 365 days a year, but I wasn’t producing anything good. Every day is really great. Not, maybe not seven days, but doing it consistently. It is like any kind of practice, like I do a lot of yoga and I think that’s very similar in that way. Like, the longer you’re away from yoga the harder it is to get back into it. Same thing goes for writing.
Rachel Thompson: Yeah. And with the daily practice, like, I found the first weeks it was like nothing great was coming out, but I knew I was reshaping those muscles.
Marianne Chan: Yeah. I think for me it’s hard to get past the three-hour mark. Like I try to do tow hours a day and then if if I go past that that, I start to feel a little like funky or something. And then and then the next day I get I get a little cloudy a couple of days after that. So, I try my best to just stick to the stick to the one or two-hour writing day.
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: Sometimes I read about these famous authors who write all day or you know from 9 to 2 and then they take a break. And I don’t. I’m not that type of person, so I guess everyone has her own process.
Marianne Chan: Right.
Rachel Thompson: I think so. And there’s been this dominant narrative that the write every day and you have to rate this many hours, so people put that on themselves. But that’s why I love hearing from people who have practices that work for them and sustainable practices, too, because I could probably write for several hours a day for a couple of weeks and then I’d be done. It’s not working for me. So thank you so much. What can I tell our listeners about how to follow or connect with you? What’s the best way?
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: Twitter. Split Lip is very active on Twitter, and we try to be very accessible on Twitter as editors. And I think that that is also one way we try to create community. So I’m happy to answer questions people tweet me or DM me. Or, I just like talking with writers, so, I’m happy to chat anytime.
Marianne Chan: We’re on Twitter all day long.
Rachel Thompson: Can you say your Twitter handle and I’ll make sure they’re in the show notes, too?
Kaitlyn Andrews-Rice: Yeah I’m @legitkar.
Marianne Chan: And mine’s @mariannelchan. It’ll be upon Lit Mag Lovepodcast.com. Thank you both so much.
Marianne Chan: Thanks Rachel. I love your podcast.
Rachel Thompson: Thanks.