New zine aims to start conversation about rape and abuse in indie lit/small press writing communitie

Gazing Grain Press reader Meg Ronan, together with writers Tracy Dimond, Michelle Dove, and Laura Spencer, have launched a new zine that plans to start an important conversation about the experiences of female and female-identifying writers in the DC and Baltimore small press and indie/alt lit writing communities. They are currently seeking stories for the zine, and are also inviting those who want to continue engaging in this conversation to add themselves to their contact list. In light of the recent accounts of these problems in the alt lit community (see here, here, and here, just for starters, along with this fantastic response by our 2012 miniature author Natalie Eilbert), we at Gazing Grain feel this is a very significant issue, and we fully support this zine initiative.

Here is the call for submissions in full:

writer friends of dc & baltimore:

earlier this month, several rape and abuse victims within the indie lit/small press writing community spoke publicly about their experiences. most of you already know that these violations of our bodies and of consent are a pervasive problem, and that our community is not exempt from these offenses. a few of us, all female writers here in DC & Baltimore, want to start a conversation here. we know some of you have been here longer than us & had these conversations before. but we need this now.

1) if you have a story you want to share, of rape, of abuse, of harassment, of sexism, of verbal, physical, or sexual violence, of being talked over or talked at or silenced, if you have anger you want to share, or fear, or other responses, if you have ideas, if you have critiques of our rape culture, if you have solutions, we want to hear them, and we are saying here is one place for that. there need to be lots of different ways for people to talk about this. we are putting together a zine, the message of which is clearly that if you are generous enough to share, we want to hear.

2) if you are interested in having a larger conversation about our safety & our rights & our voices in our writing communities here in DC & Baltimore, please send your contact info & we'll get an email list going. If you don't respond asking to be added to the list, we promise not to send you any more emails after this.

no one needs our invitation to speak, and no victim should feel pressured or obliged to share their experience. but we think asking helps. in our own private conversations, we've found that we are often hesitant to speak out for various reasons, many of them due to the misogynistic culture we live in. because we're afraid of judgment, because we're not convinced people will care, because we're not sure of our own opinions and not comfortable participating in conversations rooted in traditionally masculine communication styles. because we're used to being called dramatic & gossipy, being told we're wrong, being spoken over and spoken at in our beds and in our bars and at our jobs. we've all seen a lot of statements of support, and those matter. but one thing we think would be helpful to do as a community and to teach our men to do more of is to ask and to listen. not just to articulate support but to live it by creating spaces for people to talk about rape and abuse and discrimination. all the victims who have spoken out about their abuse have been incredibly brave. but we want to start making it a little bit easier, a little bit less risky. if we can do anything to make it easier for any woman or any victim to use her voice and be supported, if we can make our community a place where that is common, we want to. we want to talk to all of you about how to do it.

send material for the zine or requests to be added to the contact list to any of us at: laura.p.spencer@gmail.com // megg.ronan@gmail.com //dovewrenn@gmail.com // tradimond@gmail.com


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