Friday, November 6, 2015
Six Questions for Michael Shields, Editor, Across the Margin
Across the Margin publishes fiction, nonfiction and poetry. At Across the Margin you can find an eclectic mix of fiction, editorials, and factual prose that explore the current state of the world around us, and the depths of our human nature.” Learn more here.
SQF: Why did you start this magazine?
Michael Shields: I am not ashamed to admit that the story behind the inception of Across the Margin is burdened by selfish intentions. The truth of the matter is, I wasn’t finding in publications, online or in print, what I was looking for. I constantly found myself ricocheting about the world wide web, probing through multiple publications in an effort to satiate all of my divergent interests. I believed, and still do, that a myriad of evocative subject matters can live together in harmony under one roof, and that is what Across the Margin offers. We don’t simply house Poetry and Fiction to enchant the Literary-minded, but we delve deep into topics such as Music, Politics, Sports, Art, Fashion and beyond. All these interests mingle in harmony at Across the Margin - just the way we like it.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?
MS: The top three things we hope to come upon when submissions come our way is honestly, ingenuity, and style. The final two go hand in hand of course, as nothing excites us more than coming upon a story or an article that expresses ideas that we have never heard before, or looks in form and function like nothing we have ever seen before. We urge our submitters to take risks, and more often than not those risks are rewarded with publication. And that risk I speak of extends to submissions rife with honest takes, both on the personal level and in the examination of the world about. Honesty is powerful. It’s refreshing. And it’s one of the cornerstones Across the Margin is built upon.
SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?
MS: It is amazing how a writer’s passion can just ooze off of a page. How the author’s excitement about the subject matter can become almost palpable when they truly care about what they write about. We are always searching out that ”spark,” and when it is lacking, so is our interest.
SQF: What kinds of submissions would you like to see more of?
MS: At Across the Margin we have a category we simply call “Life.” Under this sub-heading, authors can expound upon the most affecting, confusing, hurtful, and exciting moments that we stumble upon in this journey we call Life. This category opens the door to writers that want, nay need, to expound upon those things in life that cut the deepest and affect us the most. It is submissions of this nature that fascinate us, and thus we would love to see more of these come our way.
SQF: If Across the Margin had a theme song, what would it be and why?
MS: This is an easy one. The reason for that is the name of the website was inspired by a song, Nas’s “The World is Yours.” In it, Nas spoke of “writing in his book of rhymes, all the way past the margin.” He couldn’t stop writing, spitting rhymes. Synapses firing, thoughts developing at such a frantic pace, that he had to get it down, even if it meant breaking one of the simplest rules of writing and breaking into the unknown inhabit-less space that lies past the forever closed and heavily guarded walls of the margin. It is that space where we will dwell. It is there where our voice will echo off the walls and possibly even be heard. Our thoughts, our ideas, our rants, and who knows what else at this point, will be there, just Across the Margin.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
MS: The question I’d love to answer is “How is it possible to continually release a plethora of diverse content as featured at Across the Margin?” And the answer to that question is that we have an amazing team assembled that shares my zealous passion for storytelling. You are only as good as those you surround yourself by, and I am fortunate to be surrounded by some incredibly talented artists and writers. Starting with my Co-Editor Chris Thompson, who also is my Co-host on our Podcast, Beyond the Margin, who so aptly helps me steer the ship while somehow running our Art Department, unto our incredibly knowledgeable Poetry Editor Richard Roundy, and our Contributing Editor Douglas Grant, and the myriad of ingenious writers and poets who share their words with us on the daily, Teamwork makes the Dream Work at Across the Margin, and I am lucky to be part of a group of people so committed to the our shared vision.
Thank you, Michael. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.