Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Six Questions for Leslie LaChance, Editor and Publisher, Mixitini Matrix: A Journal of Creative Collaboration

Mixitini Matrix is a multigenre, multidisciplinary journal of creative collaboration. Right now we aim to publish at least twice per year, fall/winter and spring/summer. We’re seeking fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and visual art created by two or more people, or works offering perspectives on the process of creative collaboration. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Leslie LaChance: I began working in the visual arts through collage with found texts and images, and thus I'm interested in work that feels, in some way, like collage, appropriation. I've always felt that no artist or writer works in a vacuum. Publishers, writers, and artists value "originality" and "uniqueness." But somewhere in the process of creating that unique and original vision, we're suggestible...at least a little bit. We're open to influence. Some artists and writers embrace that, revel in it, riff on it, incorporate it, while others resist. I've always been as interested in artistic processes as in product, and so I wanted to create a publication that has something to say about both, and acknowledges, even at the most subtle level, the role of influence, the place of conversation, the various layers and intertwining that happen along the way. But what intrigues me most is when artists and writers who revel in collaborative processes take an interest in sharing how collaboration/influence shapes their work.

SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why? 

LL: We look for thoughtful, accomplished texts and images that address, in some way, the theme of collaboration. We like work that surprises us, makes us see art/writing/collaboration in a new way. We want to be compelled -- to read, to look, to think, to feel, to create -- by the work we see.

SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission? 

LL: First, if the material does not in anyway suggest to us that the author/artist knows what our magazine is about, we won't consider it. We ask authors and artists to include with their submission a brief note about how and why they think their piece fits our theme, to show us that they've read some issues, read the guidelines, and are committed to being part of that vision. Or, if authors and artists don't exactly follow the guidelines, it helps if there seems to be a good reason for resisting them. It's really annoying and a waste of time to have to look at a submission that in no way acknowledges collaboration or influence. Why bother sending the work? Secondly, we see lots of work that suggests to us that the creators need more time, and perhaps just more time to study, to develop their art. I wish we could be more helpful to these folks, but there's just not space or time for that.

SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a submission? 

LL: Not usually, unless we find something especially interesting in the piece and feel the need to encourage the author/artist to take it further.

SQF: Based on your experience as an editor, what have you learned about writing?

LL: I've learned more about how to tune in to the possibility of conversation -- amongst writers, amongst artists, between readers/viewers and writers/artists. I've also been encouraged to read more widely, to pay more attention to art when I am looking at it, to be more fearless in how I make use of the interplay of genres in my own work.

SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it? 

LL: Lots of people ask me how we define "collaboration." I tell them to think of it in broad terms, not merely as work created by two or more people. We include translation, ekphrastic, mixed media, homage, essays about collaborative processes, riffs, correspondences, and even have a category we call "concoctions" for masala/melange kind of stuff. And we're suggestible.

Thank you, Leslie. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.

NEXT POST: 5/9--Six Questions for Ken Honeywell, Editor-in-Chief, Punchnel's

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