Ends on September 14, 2018

Issue #27 – Joy Sticks

Joy is elusive, sudden, unexpected, gradual, and sometimes grotesque.

The week after my mom's death, I remember a hideous joy on the fifth day at 3:47 pm when the sun burned my shoulders and all the world—the dogwoods, the warm pavement, the mockingbirds near the porch—was implicated in her presence. I could feel her laughing, smell her apple-tinged perfume, watch the red of her hair burn their way across the yard. Just one single minute of exuberant impossible and then back to the banality of living lies, telling others I was fine, negotiating the absurdity of death and imagining someone could be erased, gone, eternally absent.

Joy is so many flavors of awe. There are joys we fondle—memories we pick up and unspool in private. There are public joys—a friend's description of holding her girlfriend's hand for the first time on a public playground, the relentless joy of a gay pride parade. And yet, despite countless publications that swear to deliver it if you put your knees over your head and eat only almonds, there is no formula for joy on this planet. By its nature, joy is unsustainable, untenable, hard to hold, impossible to coerce. 

What surprise is lovelier than joy? So give us your public joys, your private joys, your foolish fondles. Give us your transient, shameless, vulnerable, wimped-out absurdities. Give us the harrows of joy, its horrors. Give us your smallest joys, your childhood joys, your most monumental. Give us the elusive object that lacks a template. We can't wait to read it. However it looks. However it haunts. Whatever it touches. 

Submissions due 9/14/18. Guest Editor Alina Stefanescu. Issue live 10/31/18.