I wrote a piece about adoptee identity for |tap| magazine that they published this week. It was a difficult piece to write, but I'm proud of the result. Although it's been years since I lived in South Korea, my piece helped me contextualize some of my struggles and pain around that time in my life.
I hope that you read it and comment to let me know whether you liked it!
Last week, I was in Madison, Wisconsin, a scenic place with a great university and a writing...program.
I'm not sure how to describe UWisc's Writing Institute, except to say that it offers affordable critiques and classes for local and distance learners, and that it is wonderful.
The premise of my workshop was simple: spend time reading the first fifty pages of seven other writers' novels, and critique them in class amidst a host of exercises, revisions, and one-on-one time with the instructor.
I'm pleased to say that I met a talented group of authors working in multiple genres. All of them had connections to Wisconsin, except me, of course. I'm un-pleased to announce that my health did not cooperate and that I spent a lot of last week turtled up under the covers of my Airbnb rental, considering whether eating Chef Boyardee--again!--would be harmful to my health.
I learned a lot and I'm ready to revise the beginning of the novel. I think that setting the foundations and using the insights revealed last week will also help the middle and ending of the book. I hope that my fellow attendees also found our workshop helpful.
I've been having a blast working on Hapax, and collaborating with the talented authors I've met and selected for publication.
Now I have to apply myself to the nuts and bolts of getting the magazine out into the world. I'm waiting on some final confirmations, but I've gone over every story and poem that will be in Hapax. I tried to treat my writers and submitters the way I would want to be treated. If a piece moved me despite its flaws, I sent a couple of lines about how I thought it could be improved, even, sometimes, inviting another submission with open arms.
I believe strongly that a publication should never publish something that isn't in its best possible state, and that no lit mag should grow so large that its writers feel alienated, as though it's a cold transaction made for the purposes of one line on a resume. A lot of my authors are new to publishing or just starting out as writers--as were a lot of the submissions I received.
As such, when I publish at the end of this month--stretch goal!--I will have, thanks to the talented writers I've met, created for the world a magazine that is 100% authentic and true to my beliefs. I did not have a quota or even an idea of how many submissions I might receive or accept. I accepted only work that I 100% believed should be published.
In the future, I think I will keep Hapax small on purpose, not because I believe in being so selective as to bar any but the .000001% from publication, but because it helps create an intimacy in a magazine. A scene. I don't remember the characteristics of large, 100+ page magazines unless they stand out in other ways. I don't like feeling like just another name lost in a sea of names. I want to be able to work with and get to know, and yes, line edit the works Hapax selects. And that would be impossible beyond a certain scale, without a certain staff size.
So here's to Hapax, a tiny glorious lit mag that will be active for years to come.