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The Memoirist Quarterly: A Literary Journal and Publishing Journey

Kristi and I have opened up submissions for our new literary journal, The Memoirist Quarterly. The first edition will be launching in Q3 2023. We’ve already received many submissions, though we’re surprised at how few have come from Medium. $50 is far more than most stories make on Medium unless they’re exceptional, but you’re welcome to submit those too. We want the best of the best. We are excited to branch out and try something new. Putting your stories in a new format, and perhaps even in your actual fingers, feels like an entirely new venture. It seems strange to talk about publishing a physical book or a literary journal, but that’s exactly what we want to do. The Quarterly will be available on Kindle devices as well, but more than anything we want you to have a physical copy for more than one reason. There’s something unique and tactile about holding a piece of literature in your hands. My daughter turned 10 last week, and I bought her this book from Mcsweeneys as a keepsake:

The Eyes and the Impossible NOTE: The Eyes and the Impossible is being released simultaneously as a deluxe wood-bound hardcover from McSweeney's… It is a wonderful story by Dave Eggers, written for kids but enjoyable for all ages. The version from Mcweeneys has a carved, wooden cover, and makes a great keepsake. It seemed fitting for her birthday, and I hope she keeps it forever.

In the case of The Quarterly, it could be a great conversation piece or a coffee table book, and a good keepsake for you. It’s going to have essays, memoirs, poetry, and artwork in it, so you can fool your friends into thinking you’re sophisticated and cultured! But there’s more! I’m really excited about this part.

There is a place for physical books and periodicals in this ever-more-digital world. My friend Natasha MH wrote a piece recently about the way we read, and it really hit home. At university, she was forced to take a course called Effective Reading, all about strategizing your thoughts as you read. The course then taught us how to deep dive into a book, make annotations, how to challenge the author, its historicism, and your very own thoughts. The process can be distilled to three rules: Rule number one: Reading is never an isolated act. Rule number two: Effective reading is quality over quantity. Rule number three: It’s not about who you are at the beginning of the book. It’s who you become at the end of it. — Story

As writers, we should all be looking for ways to improve our writing. One way to do this is to take the journey with the author. Think about what is happening in the story and to the characters. Ask questions. Take notes. Notice the little things. In fact, taking notes is a great reason for having a physical book. There are some amazing historical examples of people using various notebooks and other books as commonplace books, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Stephen King, Virginia Woolf, etc. Some have filled commonplace books by utilizing the margins of novels as they read, and I can’t think of a cooler idea than stumbling across someone’s thoughts that way. For this purpose, we’re adding blank/lined pages for your thoughts throughout the book. Story ideas, memories or thoughts brought on by them, feelings they brought to the surface. We would be honored if you would use one of our journals for that purpose. Our goal is to fill it with meaningful, memorable, thought-provoking stories that you will think about for a long time afterward. These stories aren’t anything you want to rush through. You need to slow down and savor them. It’s also one of the reasons we’re keeping the book relatively short, as these stories deserve your time and attention. To all the readers and writers helping with this journey, we will never be able to repay you for sharing your story with us. We can’t wait to share it with the world.

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