Friday, March 29, 2019

Six Questions for Cathy Ulrich, Editor, Milk Candy Review

Milk Candy Review publishes flash fiction to 750 words. Only submit previously unpublished work. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Cathy Ulrich: Purely for selfish reasons! I love reading and I love sharing amazing stories with people, and having a literary journal is a great way to do both. Even if a story isn’t a perfect fit for Milk Candy, I’m always so grateful that someone was willing to share their words with me.

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

CU: Beauty in the language, first of all. I’ve been a musician since childhood, and I love finding music and musicality in writing. If the language sings to me, that’s a really good thing.

Something unexpected. I like when a story veers off from the predictable, whether in plot or character or, again, in language. That moment when a story does something you weren’t quite expecting it to do — that’s such a great and powerful moment.

New narratives. I want to share the voices that haven’t traditionally been shared. I want to share the stories that haven’t traditionally been told. There are so many beautiful voices in the world that have been silenced for too long. I want to hear them. I want them to be heard.

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

CU: Any hint of bigotry. A lot of writers don’t notice their implicit bias, but as a person of mixed race (black and Chippewa Cree on my birth mother’s side, white on my birth father’s), it really stands out to me. I try to be as thoughtful as possible in my responses to writers when pointing it out — I haven’t seen anything yet that was intentionally hurtful and I think — I hope — people are open to learning and changing.

SQF: What do you look for in the opening paragraph/stanza of a submission?

CU: The first sentence has to draw me in. It needs to be something strong and unique, something that makes me long to keep reading and fall into the story.

SQF: If Milk Candy Review had a theme song, what would it be and why?

CU: Guitar Vader’s “Happy East.” Miki Tanabe’s vocals are so childlike and ethereal, and this song is so unlike any of their other songs. I still get chills when I hear it.

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

CU: “Will this ever be a paying venue?”

As much as I would love to pay writers for their work, and as much as I feel they deserve it, the fact is that I’m a single mother working three jobs to make ends meet. I would hate to charge submission fees when that is something I typically can’t afford to pay myself. I chose an inexpensive platform (submissions through e-mail, WordPress web site) so that I would never have to shutter Milk Candy’s doors due to lack of funds. I want our writers’ works to always be available for people to read.

So, sadly, Milk Candy will probably never be a paying venue. But we want to always be here to share beautifully weird stories.

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

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