49 // Augur co-Editor-in-Chief Terese Pierre—Nothing Has to Happen

“Nothing has to happen in the story. There doesn’t need to be explosions or big shocking twists. It’s just enough to have well-developed characters and a beautiful world.” —Terese Mason Pierre, Augur

Terese Mason Pierre is co-Editor-in-Chief of Augur, a Canadian speculative literature journal, and has published work in Hobart, The Puritan, Quill and Quire, and Strange Horizons. Her work has been nominated for the Rhysling Award and Best of the Net.

She talks to host Rachel Thompson about the caring and considerate reasons why Augur isn’t accepting pandemic writing for the time being, how Canadian literature in general is just a little bit softer than other kinds of literature, and how she brings forward the care that she received from editors of her work to her editing role at Augur.

Listen to learn about Augur magazine, their annual event called AugurCon, and how they publish writing that is too speculative for literary magazines and too literary for high fantasy or hard sci-fi publications.

 

Jump to the episode transcript.

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Augur’s guidelines:

Looking at Augur’s guidelines, they accept multiple submissions and simultaneous submissions with a laudable goal of responding to all submissions within eight weeks. (They use a tool called Moksha, which is, from what I hear, a lovely alternative platform to the big-venture-capitalist backed tool.)

One line from their submission guidelines to love: If you fit into our guidelines, don’t self-reject! Submit, submit, submit!

They pay $0.11 cents (CAD) per word for short fiction (1000+ words), and a flat fee of $110.00 per flash fiction piece (1000 words and under), and $60 per poem.

Full guidelines are up at augurmag.com 

Interview Transcript

Rachel Thompson
So, I want to welcome you to the Write, Publish, and Shine podcast, Terese Mason Pierre.

Terese Mason Pierre
Hi!

Rachel Thompson
Hi. How are you doing in the pandemic? That’s my first question. I’m just wondering if it’s changed your writing and if so, how it’s changed your writing?

Terese Mason Pierre
How am I doing in the pandemic? I am doing all right. I see a lot of takes online about how it’s not good for you to expect yourself to do all the things that you used to do pre-pandemic and expect yourself to have the same amount of energy. I have noticed that my energy has dropped, but I seem to be doing the same amount of things. So I’m just feeling a little more tired in the past couple of months to a year.

It has [pauses] …changed my writing in that I’m allowing myself to be more emotional and more personal. I noticed in my earlier writings – especially with my first chapbook – it was very clean. I was writing a lot of persona poetry about people and conflicts that weren’t really about me or my life, which is totally fine. I like to read that kind of work as well. But recently, I find myself being a bit messier with my poetry. Sometimes I include little bits about my life or how I really, truly feel about situations, which I have never really done before. So it’s just something new to learn about myself. I’m not upset at it right now. I’m not really mad, I’m embracing this.

Rachel Thompson
This sounds great. I mean, just going with the flow and letting yourself be messy sounds like life goals to me. [chuckles] Can you tell me how it’s changed the way, or if it has, changed the way you and your team work together at Augur, currently?

Terese Mason Pierre
We are now, like everyone else, meeting online and that has taken a bit of getting used to. But there was a point at which – I think it was early, like around spring last year – when we just took some time off to try to deal with how the pandemic has changed our individual lives, like how we couldn’t meet to see our family and friends, but we know that Augur is something we love and something that our readers and our community love as well. So we got to working on that.

One big thing that we started doing was having our pitch meetings online. Usually we would all get together, go to the publisher’s house and just have a day of it; meet and hang out and discuss the pieces we loved. But we had to do this online, which is OK, it’s fine. Last February we had our Kickstarter for the month, and we all got to go out afterward to have a big celebration with all of us. That was the last time we all spent time together in person, but we’re always looking forward to meeting up again.

Another thing that we did was host an online conference in November of 2020. Which, doing all that and planning all of that online was a bit of a hurdle at first, but we have a great number of people on our team who are enthusiastic and really care about our mission, so we ended up doing that and it was quite successful. But I think that the way we run our operations is luckily quite amenable to online work, so we’ve just been taking that in stride.

Rachel Thompson
Had you already planned a conference and had not intended it to be online or was that always the intention?

Terese Mason Pierre
You’re correct. The conference, which is called AugurCon and was on November 28th, 2020 was supposed to be in person. We had been thinking about having a conference since fall 2019 and we sort of wrote down our ideas, got several of them down and had all these grand plans. Then we wrote a grant to the TAC (Toronto Arts Council) and we got the grants, but it was very much for an in-person conference. We had been looking at venues and looking at catering options and the possibility of flying people in, but we had to switch everything to a virtual platform. We used StreamYard for panels and we used Zoom for workshops. It ended up being quite great because we didn’t have to fly anyone in and we could connect with people on the West Coast; people in Vancouver, some people in California, as well as people across Canada, to invite them to come and speak at our conference.

The good thing is, I think that our audiences really loved it. In some ways, switching to a virtual platform made it easier, but in others, more difficult. One good thing was that we had a lot more money to spend, which meant that we could pay people more. That was great. Not a lot of cons for speculative literature pay their panelists, or pay all of their panelists, but we were able to do that because we had extra funding from not having to pay for a venue, and that was great.

Rachel Thompson
Yeah, it’s like there’s good and there’s not so good [chuckling] happening in this pandemic year; year plus, now. So I know we’re talking about the pandemic itself, but in terms of writing about the pandemic, the fact that you’re not looking for pandemic stories and say on your website that you do not wish to re-traumatize your readers and staff who are volunteers during this present pandemic… Can I ask when is the time and place for pandemic poetry and stories for writing about the present dystopia? Or is it always in the past? How far in the past? What are your thoughts on that?

Terese Mason Pierre
That question is interesting because I think it can also be expanded to like when is when is a time and a place for, like, insert art, right?

Rachel Thompson
Yeah.

Terese Mason Pierre
I think you can write about art – I mean in this particular case, it’s pandemic poetry and stories – but I think you can write about it actually at any time. The reason we’re not accepting pandemic poetry or pandemic content is just because we don’t wish to re-traumatize our readers and staff. And this is a decision that was made by the publisher. And a lot of people agreed because, you know, this is a traumatizing event. I think we’re all going around trying to be as normal as we can, but it’s just not the same.

I know that people, especially artists, want to find a way to express how they’re feeling during this time. And if they want to do that through art, I think that’s great. That’s fine. I have written pandemic poetry before; I’ve written three poems and I published them throughout the year. I was invited to submit to specific journals that are taking pandemic poetry and stories. I think those publications recognize that for some people, now is the time and place for pandemic poetry and stories. Augur is not the place for that, but for other journals, that is the case.

I haven’t found myself using poetry specifically… to feel during the pandemic.It hit quite close to me because my mom had COVID. She’s fine now, but I was thinking a lot about mortality and I surprised myself with this contemplation coming out through poetry. I never thought I was that kind of person, to write about these things. So I guess the short answer to your question is technically, I think any time is a time for art. I hope that people use art to express how they’re feeling during this particularly traumatizing moment in our world history. Augur’s is just not the place for that work… right now, but the time and place I think is now and any time.

Rachel Thompson
Yeah, I’m so glad to hear that your mum has recovered. I’m just asking, in part because I’ve heard journals running the gamut. You have some who are publishing special editions about the pandemic and then you have others who are more about the quality of the work, like we’re in the middle of… something that takes time to look back on, and that’s when they think the writing is going to emerge, that will be the work that they want to publish. Yeah, but I really appreciate what sounds like an even more like, self-care type of stance, too. To be like, you know, “We want to care for the people that are reading in our community.” Can you tell our listeners about the deeply human and character-driven narratives and sci-fi writing that you love to publish at Augur?

Terese Mason Pierre
Yeah, certainly. So. First of all, we’re a Canadian magazine, so most of the work we publish is from Canadians as well as Indigenous writers on this land. Compared to other kinds of literature, there’s something about Canadian literature in general that is just a little bit softer. That kind of seeps into speculative literature as well. Many of my friends in Canada who are writing speculative literature, they try to submit their work to international journals and American journals, and they always come back with this feedback that well, you know, the tone is nice, the characters are nice, but like, nothing happens. There’s no plot. There’s no action. There’s no excitement in the story. I feel like that’s just a kind of tradition. So at Augur we accept those kinds of stories as well. Nothing has to happen in the story. There doesn’t need to be explosions or big shocking twists. It’s just enough to have well-developed characters and a beautiful world. In that way, readers can be invited into a way of being, almost within the story that we just love to settle into.

We, as readers and as editors reading the story, we really love characters that are whole and human – well human as an adjective, they don’t literally have to be human – but we want to read stories that… move us. A lot of different editors on the editorial board have different things that for us, makes a good story. I happen to be a plot person, so I like when things happen. But I also like characters and places in the story, and poems as well, that sort of stay with me after I’ve put the story down. I want to be thinking about the story whenever I’m doing other things, like at work or doing groceries or anything like that. These are the kinds of stories that we value.

I don’t know if this answer is getting long-winded, but I find it’s also kind of difficult to classify these kinds of stories. I think that’s kind of the point, and why Augur opened up this kind of liminal space for this kind of writing, if that makes sense.

Rachel Thompson
For sure. And definitely not long-winded at all. I think it’s really refreshing to hear about creating that space for pieces that don’t need to hit all those specific, really almost formulaic notes, I guess, that a story has to hit. It’s really more about the characters, like you said, and the humanity within it. I’m going to extrapolate from that, then, it’s not necessary for stories to follow a linear arc? Or… can you talk more about that?

Terese Mason Pierre
OK, so I’ll just I’ll just say right now that I’m online a lot and a lot of the discussions that I’ve been seeing online are about how… we can talk about certain stories being Western, or sort of, dominant in the mainstream, but we can also talk about different story structures, or particular story structures that are also dominant. Part of that difference and part of that diversity that Augur loves is also sort of a diversity in the way the story is structured.

So if, for example, you don’t always need a resolution to your climax, your climax can happen at any point. We just want something really that makes us feel and that holds us really tightly. We don’t necessarily have a formula for the way that story is told.

Rachel Thompson
It sounds, too, then, that you’re really looking for people’s personal writing. Like, it’s imbued with that kind of emotion because the writer is imbuing it with that kind of emotion.

Terese Mason Pierre

Yeah! Yeah. I mean, we don’t require that you hit specific beats. We just want a lovely story.

Rachel Thompson
That is lovely! I understand also that Augur is particularly interested in the kinds of futures that marginalized peoples envision for themselves, and reading from your submission guidelines, “…From dream-touched realism, slipstream fabulism, magical realism,” with a note that writers should educate themselves before claiming the term magical realism and, for lack of a better descriptor, again, I’m quoting from your site, “‘literary'” in quotes, “speculative fiction”. You also say your perfect submission defies categorization, so pieces that could be too speculative or CanLit magazines who are not speculative enough for speculative magazines. Can you tell us about a couple of pieces that resonated with you and that you published because of how they defied categorization?

Terese Mason Pierre
Yeah, I think of two pieces in particular from, I believe, issue 3.1? …And 3.2 are more recent issues…. One of these pieces was called *The Bananas Barcode and existed in a future where a lot of different objects and other sorts of commercial items had different codes and were sort of commercialised and capitalized in different ways. But all of that industrialization wasn’t really at the forefront of the story. It was more about a person who was working on a banana plantation that wanted to help a young girl who was, how should I put this? She was someone who was trying to cross the border into the country illegally… “Illegally”. And this story, instead of focusing on a lot of the outside world, like how the society was structured or how specific elements of government got to be the way they were or even the year the time it was taking place, the main focus was the relationship that the main character had with this young girl and the relationship the main character had with his partner, both in his home life and his work.

The reason why I like this story is because it sort of trusts that the reader understands that there is a whole larger world. But the focus is always on the character dynamic. And I feel like, at least for me personally, no matter what the story is talking about – it could be on another planet or it could be in the future, in the past – if the writer is investing in the relationship between two or more characters, I find that they will always resonate with us in really profound ways.

That story is one that I wouldn’t know how to categorize if I was working at another magazine. We got really excited about this piece because we didn’t really know what to think of it. We just knew that we loved it. And when we don’t know what to think of these stories, we enjoy talking about it at our pitch meetings. This one is quite a long story. We usually take one long story per issue and this one had us bordering on the top end of our word limit.

We spent a lot of time talking about the ways in which the characters were resonating with us and the ways in which the setting of the story provided a very unique landscape for the characters to interact in. I haven’t read a story that took place on a banana plantation before, or with the kinds of technology that the story had. I hope to see more from this writer in the future. So that’s one example of a story that we really loved.

Other stories that we liked… Oh, it’s sort of hard to talk about because they defy categorization, so it’s hard to put them into any category. I’ll just talk briefly about the second story called The Myth of the Wounded Sealer.

It takes place in Singapore and it’s about a woman who is called to a home to take care of a dying plant, one that is rotting and sick, and she’s asked to just come to take care of this plant. As the story goes along, the main character is uncovering different secrets about the plants and the home and the people who live in the home.

I would call this story very creepy. I wouldn’t call it an outright horror story or anything like that, but the atmosphere was done so well. I thought about this story for days and I wasn’t the one editing it, but I would always read back and just think about like, “Oh, like, what if it had happened this way? Or what if the reveal happened another way?” It really moved me and I hope to receive more stories like that in the future.

This was in Issue 3.1, but that’s why I’m with Augur, so we can sort of get these new pieces that might not have been published in like a traditional CanLit journal or in a very high fantasy or hard sci-fi journal in the States. So I think we occupy a very unique position in the speculative literature industry. And I feel like a lot of pieces, like the ones I mentioned, can find a home with us.

Rachel Thompson
I just love the enthusiasm you describe them with. It’s obvious that it’s just like, “These stories were interesting to us and this is why we publish them.” It’s about the response more than anything. I often put editors on the spot too, and say, “Well, tell us what you want to publish.” And the answer is nine times out of ten, “We know when we see it,” and that’s, I guess, that experience. I’ve heard it described as a full body experience of like, “Yes, we need to publish this piece!”

Terese Mason Pierre
Yeah, our pitch meetings get quite… well I wouldn’t say contentious, but we’re just very passionate [laughing] about the pieces that we want and we want other editors to feel the same way.

Rachel Thompson
So for those of you who don’t know, Augur is a literary magazine that believes that we can better engage with our pasts, presents and futures through stories that explore ‘what if’s and ‘could be’s. Terese, I would love to hear, if you have it, some writing to share with our listeners that engages with your pasts, presents and futures.

Terese Mason Pierre
Sure is it OK if I read a poem?

Rachel Thompson
Of course, yes, please do.

Terese Mason Pierre
So I’m going to read a poem that was in my second book and it’s called *Manifest.

Everything here bleeds blue

Iron, not tingeing, the edge of needles,

staining gauze after gunshot,

but carbon, carbon just the same.

The man who flew the ship, you call him master, lies supine under the dashboards while he communes with the stars.

Nobody who lives here on this new rock owns anyone else.

Never has.

The mountains remind you of Earth.

There is a freshness and that they’ve yet to be scaled,

mined for hope

innovated to death.

Three weeks here and you are no closer to charting the people, forcing a schema into something so lovingly defiant.

You like that you can’t understand their language,

that you find other ways to relay your needs and instructions.

You let them touch your hair

Something you’d never let earth people do.

One of them gives you strange fruit and you bring it to your mouth

Until master swats it away,

Opining about poison and galagi.

At night, you sneak away to join them for music under their new moon.

Their bodies are their own and each other’s. Here, freedom is its own language, a series of swirling joints and bulbs.

It is attractive because it is foreign. Also foreign is the idea that you have a body, too. That your body can be other people’s body, if you choose it.

By the third hour, you decide you want to die here.

The man in the ship has supplies to last a few years, but the landscape here shimmers like a cup overflowing.

And you can run now.

You can even fly.

Rachel Thompson
That’s incredible. Thank you so much for sharing that.

Terese Mason Pierre
Thank you.

Rachel Thompson
I mean, so many lines, “but freedom is its own language”. That’s beautiful. So you’ve also published – no surprise after that reading – a lot of writing in other literary magazines. How have the experiences you had publishing in other journals influenced how you approach editing with Augur?

Terese Mason Pierre
I’m lucky to have had good experiences with other editors and other literary journals. I’m discovering as I’m editing with Augur that I put a lot of trust in my editors or in general with other magazines. So when I edit with Augur, I try to ensure that I am putting my best foot forward when it comes to engaging consciously and empathetically with the writers that I’m editing.

I edit a lot of poetry for the Journal. In the past eight months or so I’ve been editing short fiction, but I started with Augur as the poetry editor and I know with poetry, a lot of it is very personal; a lot of poets draw from their life experience and put that into their poems. Poems are often a form of expression, like we talked about earlier, with the pandemic drawing people to express how they feel about that through their art. That being said, I try to be careful and kind to my writers when I adjust or suggest edits to their work.

It was that kind of care that I received when my work was being edited. I also know that not all writers are like me and the way I receive edits might not be the same way that other writers receive edits. Luckily, I’ve had very excellent experiences with the poets that I’ve worked with for Augur. Some of them have been my friends, some pieces involved a lot of substantive editing and some just required a couple of punctuation changes, but whenever I’m working with a poet or a writer, I always try to ask them as many questions as I can regarding their work so I know how they would like me to engage in their piece. That way, I know where my boundaries are, or where their boundaries are, and to make our editing relationship a fun one, a good one, and to produce a piece that we’re both proud of.

Rachel Thompson
That sounds like a dream practice; I really like that you engage with the work at the level that it requires. I think it’s good for listeners to know that, too, that this could be a bit of a learning experience that helps you polish your piece to be the best it can be before it’s published.

So I understand from your Twitter bio [laughing] that you also studied bioethics? I’m curious if there is an overlap between that discipline and the discipline of writing and poetry. Are there any ways that you integrate the two?

Terese Mason Pierre
I have a bachelor’s degree in bioethics and a master’s degree in philosophy, and there are very many overlays between philosophy and poetry. I see them both as very different kinds of arts. I’ll even find philosophy in poems. Poets ask very grand questions about things like the way the world is or why good people do not-so-good things or what the nature of love and humanity is. I feel like those are all philosophical questions and you can see those in many places in poetry.

I like to do this in my own poetry as well. I like to engage in questions like this. For example, one of the poems I wrote and published for my second chapbook was called A New Face, and it talks about the mind body problem, a sort of consciousness transference. I spoke about that; I asked questions that I thought were relevant, but I also contextualized that in the form of a parent-child relationship.

I think that philosophy is very amenable to science fiction and to speculative literature, because I think both of these disciplines ask a lot of the same questions. I think of something like The Matrix, [chuckles] which is all about minds and bodies. I hope that there are more connections between those two in the future, in different kinds of poems.

Rachel Thompson
I started out my degree in philosophy and to be honest, The Matrix felt like a lot of what we covered in the Intro to Philosophy courses. [laughing] It was asking, you know, “What is the nature of reality?” and those kind of questions, for sure.

Terese Mason Pierre
I think poetry is a different way of asking those questions, which makes it fun! You don’t have to you have to read a 40 -page paper on ethics, [laughing] you can just read a couple poems.

Rachel Thompson
Yeah. [laughs] So I want to turn to the submissions. I see Augur is currently not taking submissions. Does this have to do with the increased volume of submissions that I’m hearing from many journals that they’re receiving this year, or was that a planned hiatus?

Terese Mason Pierre
We open for submissions for two weeks. We closed it on March 7th, I believe, and that was due to the [laughing] increased volume of submissions. We’ve just been getting more and more submissions since we opened. Our last submission period we received a little over a thousand submissions, which might not be a lot for journals like Room or Prism. But it’s a lot for us, considering we’ve been around for less than five years.

We’re very excited about all the people who want to submit their work to us and we’re excited to read all the work, but we are all volunteers and we don’t have a super-big staff, so we can’t open it for months at a time. I know some journals do that. We’re only open for about two weeks and that’s just, I guess, to ease our workflow. But we are going to open again this year, I believe, in late June? Or it’s early July, because we publish two issues per year.

Rachel Thompson
OK, great. So listeners will have a lot of time to polish their work and get it ready for then. When you do open again, are there any things that you’re particularly hoping to receive in the slush pile?

Terese Mason Pierre
That’s a great question. Well, I can talk about what I’m interested in seeing. Every editor will have their own wish list. I’m interested in seeing more urban fantasy stories; fantasy stories that take place in modern or modernized-type worlds, cities, towns, things like that, because I like to see how fantasy elements interact with the real world. But something that’s really fascinating to me, I also like superheroes.

We published one superhero story in issue 3.2 that I worked on called XO Tempo. Which is kind of like a pop, kind of punchy story. Those are fun. I feel like it was an interesting respite from the soft, dreamy, kind of ethereal tone that we usually receive. So I’m interested in seeing more superheros.

Rachel Thompson
All of it. So you mentioned a little bit about how you hash things out in the virtual editing table, but can you tell us more about what happens at the selection stage? And then also, once you’ve selected the writing, how you work with the writing you receive.

Terese Mason Pierre
So we have a number of readers, like first readers, that are also volunteer, that read the submissions once we start accepting them. We used to open for submissions for about a month and we’ve reduced this to two weeks and we still get just as much writing, if not more. So while those two weeks are happening, people are submitting their work and our first readers are going into our submission system called Moksha – we don’t use Submittable, it’s quite expensive when I checked. Moksha has a rating system, so you can rate the pieces from one to 10 -10 being absolutely excellent, I would fight for this piece, while one is a piece that’s either blatantly disrespects our submissions guidelines or just doesn’t follow them in general.

So our first readers will go in and rate the pieces. Then second readers, who are the core editorial staff, go in and check to see if the piece is what we want to publish and to see in the journal. The pieces that are rated eight to ten to go to myself and the other editor in chief, and we create what’s called a long list. It’s a very long, long list of about 40 to 55 pieces for poetry and fiction. Then I talk with the other editor in chief who focuses more on fiction, while I do poetry, and we talk about whether or not we’re seeing a theme in our long list. Then we narrow down our long list to about 20 pieces. This is, I guess, our short list. 20 pieces for poetry, 20 pieces for fiction. At that point we open up the short list to the other core editors.

We have about 12 core editors, including the editors in chief, and everybody reads everything on the short list and then they leave their comments – what they liked, what they didn’t like, pieces that they are interested in pitching, pieces that they’re interested in editing, should they be accepted. Then we all meet together all 12, 13 of us, and we have a very long pitch meeting. It takes all day, it’s like five or six hours long. We sit, we have our food, we go through every single piece on the short list, we talk about what we like to talk about, what we are interested in, talk about what resonated with us, and then we go back afterwards and select the pieces that we will publish, and we vote on these.

People are quite passionate about what they love. I am lucky to have gotten many of the pieces that I want up to the stage. Once we have decided the pieces that are going to be published – I think at this point we publish 16 pieces, 15 to 16, we’ll do like, eight poems and eight fiction pieces – we send out the acceptance letters to the authors to let them know that the piece was accepted.

Then we send them a contract and ask them to fill out other details, like their social media handle and their bios, photos, things like that. Shortly after that, these pieces start to get edited by the individual editors. During our meeting, we’ll also talk about who wants to edit which piece, if it’s a piece that they really love or that they want to work on.

The editing process takes about six weeks. Each editor is responsible for contacting the author and working with their author on suggested changes. I personally have edited quite a lot of pieces. I’m mostly editing a lot of the poems. A lot of our editors are very interested in fiction. The poetry editor, Leslie, and I work on poems together, even though everyone is welcome to edit what they wish.

So then after the six-week editing process, we have a little bit of time for reviews, proofreading, copy editing, graphic design layouts, and those sorts of things. The editors are not really involved in that , we have dedicated people for those things. Then the piece is published online and we send them to our subscribers! We post little snippets of the stories on our website and we send our author’s feedback surveys so we know what they liked and didn’t like about the editing process, and what they hope to see in the future. And that’s our process!

Rachel Thompson
Wow. I’m taking notes on that process. That’s amazing. From the food at the beginning for the whole day meeting to the feedback at the end, which I think is a really great idea to continuously improve your processes. I know a lot of editors listen to the podcast as well; I hear from them, so I hope they’re taking notes on that, too. [laughs] So speaking of the future, I’m wondering, what do you see or hope to see in the future of Canadian literature and world literature five years from now and 10 years from now?

Terese Mason Pierre
Oh, this is a good question. Well, I would hope for the future of CanLit and I guess literary spaces, that it becomes more community oriented. That’s a vague term, so I’ll explain what I mean. I hope that it becomes more welcoming to different kinds of people and the ways in which they tell stories and the kinds of stories that they want to tell. I hope that it becomes a safer place.

Some people might not feel comfortable or safe navigating these spaces for a variety of reasons, and I hope that the space improves so that they feel safer. I hope that the community or that CanLit becomes more accessible, not only when it comes to launches and readings, and those physical spaces being in accessible spaces, but also to the kinds of resources and access to resources that writers may have or not know about. Even when it comes to how to write grants or how to connect with your favorite writers or how to access mentors and things like that, just more accessible overall.

I don’t know what I can say in five years from now. I guess I can say that I would like to see more, marginalized writers coming up and coming to the fore. I’m very happy when I see specific writers getting signed by agents getting book deals and getting books and things like that. I want there to be more space for them to explore their writing in a comfortable and happy and creation-generative way. I want to help more people feel proud of their work. I hope people don’t feel like they have to share things that they don’t want to share. I hope that the community in five years at least, is more welcoming and open considering that.

And I guess in 10 years, so that’s 2031, I hope that the institutions of CanLit are holding themselves each other more accountable to representing and providing resources to multiple communities. I feel like there’s a lot of talk about “We’re going to do this,” or “We’re going to help with this arts community,” or things like that, but you might not always see change. You might not see results. I know last summer there was a huge call for writers of color to submit to various journals, and I would like to see some concrete change resulting from that. Whether that happens next year, or in five years, or 10 years.

I’ve heard that publishing… Canna-Lit has a very short memory. I don’t know what that means, but positive change, more accessibility and more openness and safety, I think are the things that I’d like to see in the future of CanLit.

Rachel Thompson
I’m wondering if by short memory you’re thinking like, is this a trend or is this going to be a permanent change within the institutional part of CanLit?

Terese Mason Pierre
Yeah! Also, like, a lot of the problems that CanLit has had in, not even the past 10 years, I find that people aren’t always educated on. No one talks about it anymore. I’m thinking specifically of things like the “Appropriation Prize”. I don’t hear people talking about that anymore, even though that was quite jarring. But yes, I also agree with you.

Rachel Thompson
So I want to finish with my Quick Lit round if I can transition from serious to a little bit more playful. [laughing] OK, so can you finish the sentences?

Rachel Thompson
Being a writer is…

Terese Mason Pierre
…being honest.

Rachel Thompson
Literary magazines are…

Terese Mason Pierre
…an experiment.

Rachel Thompson
Ah, I like that. Editing requires…

Terese Mason Pierre
…compassion.

Rachel Thompson
Rejection for a writer means…

Terese Mason Pierre
…reflection.

Rachel Thompson
And finally, writing community is…

Terese Mason Pierre
…always changing.

Rachel Thompson
I want to thank you so much for being part of the Write, Publish, and Shine Podcast, answering my questions and sharing your vision for the future with us.

Terese Mason Pierre
Thank you.

Rachel Thompson

So, that was my conversation with Terese Mason Pierre co-Editor-in-Chief of Augur. There was so much to love in Terese’s words and I particularly was struck by how her writing has changed in the pandemic and her acknowledgement that this is a traumatic point in our history, even though we all feel the instinct—I know I feel it—to act as normally as possible!

I also really appreciated her insight into how Canadian writing may differ from writing from the US, broad stokes here, but it’s food for thought about how “nothing happens” in the stories.

Related to this, she said that Augur accepts writing that doesn’t necessarily have to have a climax and they’re looking for work that really makes them feel and holds them tightly. They don’t have a formula for how the story is told and it sounds to me that they’re interested in innovative forms, deeply personal writing that you feel as you write.

The Write, Publish, and Shine podcast is brought to you by me, Rachel Thompson. You can learn more about the work I do to help writers, write, publish, and shine at rachelthompson.co. When you’re there, sign up for my Writerly Love letters, sent every-other Thursday and filled with support for your writing practice.⁠

If this episode encouraged you to not self-reject and submit your writing to Augur or another journals, I would love to hear all about it. You can tag me on social media: rachelthompson Twitter or @rachelthompsonauthor IG.

And tell other luminous writers about this episode. You can do this by sending them to the podcast at rachelthompson.co/podcast or searching for Write, Publish, and Shine wherever they get their podcasts.

Thank you for listening—I encourage you to keep writing and keep submitting, submitting, submitting, luminous writers!

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