Last summer, we were high on the success of another great issue with the launch of Vol II: Surface, booking a theater space for our annual staged reading, and pitching ideas for Lit Crawl L.A. We were moving. Everything we had hoped to accomplish when transitioning to an independent, online literary journal had come to pass—and paid off tenfold. Our name had recognition, our work had purpose, and our events created opportunities to showcase the writers and artists whose voices we admired. And still we knew then (as we know now), this is only the beginning.
What comes next, once you’ve formed your identity and found your place in the world?
We thought about journeys, transitions, even transformations. But that didn’t seem quite right. We weren’t on a path with a destination. We were converging with new places and new relationships, but that didn’t mean we were far from our roots or that we wouldn’t return to this feeling of potential we had buzzing inside of us.
“Orbit.” The word jumped out at us while we were researching new themes. It encapsulates our own position, and evokes ideas of movement, adventure, and space—figurative and literal.
“But… what if we get too much space?”
“I like space.”
And so, Vol III: Orbit was born.
From September through December, we received hundreds of stories, poems, comics, art pieces to discover many different interpretations of this theme: revisiting old relationships, children confronting their own lineage, traveling to escape what’s waiting inside of you, and the true repercussions of aliens crash landing into Earth.
What excited us most about this theme, besides space, is how many of our submissions this year reflected how visual storytelling and art can be, even within the limits of a digital journal.
We are so proud of all of the work and time our team of editors, readers, and Expo family dedicated to this year’s issue. Special thanks to our own unique partners like Submittable (because, why not?), which has been both a great tool to help keep our submission flowing but also works so hard to keep writers and artists engaged with new opportunities. Fractured Atlas for being our fiscal sponsor, through which we have been able to receive tax-deductible donations. The Hatchery in Los Angeles for allowing us to host our annual “Share Your Voice!” workshop where we invite high school students from WriteGirl and 826LA to learn about how to get their work published (and also shouts to those two great orgs that are doing the work to help our LA teens!).
Even though we are years removed, a thank you to our USC-MPW family who every year shows us kindness through promoting our events, putting up with our last minute reading submissions, and of course setting us off on our own orbit. We hope to collide again soon.
Jessica June Rowe