Friday, July 17, 2020

Six Questions for isaura ren, Editor-in-Chief, perhappened mag

“we here at perhappened mag strive to publish your truth, whatever that looks like. tell us your story how you know best.” Issues may be themed. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

IR: I started perhappened mag because I'm fascinated by memory, nostalgia, and the way they retroactively color our experience. The ethos of perhappened is to showcase your most surreal memories—perhaps they happened that way, perhaps they didn't. There's no judgment here. The stories we tell ourselves are often truer than the truth. When you're given the agency to rewrite your history, your future follows suit.

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

IR: Firstly, adherence to the issue's theme is paramount. We don't ask for much beyond that, but we've already turned down some stellar work because it wasn't theme-adherent, and that means it won't coalesce with the rest of the issue. Our current theme can always be found on our submissions page, which is linked above. Next, we look for clean copy. This means your piece doesn't have any glaring errors that could be fixed by proofreading or using a service like Grammarly. Finally, we cherish a strong sense of voice. You could write a 1,000 word creative nonfiction piece about the most mundane, everyday experience like getting a nosebleed, but if your voice is present and punchy, we'll probably love it! Know who you are and put it on the page.

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

IR: Submissions that don't follow an issue's theme, again, are a no-go 100% of the time. If you think your work is the exception, it's not. I promise we won't take work that isn't at least concept-adjacent. However, the stronger your piece is, the more wiggle room you have in that regard. Secondly, submissions that include graphic depictions of sex, sexual assault, gore, etc. are almost always an instant rejection. Allusions are alright, and we prize stories of survival, but anything graphic that's not in good faith is not for us. Please read our submission guidelines for more clarity on that subject. Lastly, submissions that do not follow our formatting guidelines turn us off, simply because they can be difficult to read. Please have mercy on our screen-weary eyes.

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

IR: We don't look for any particular approach to begin a piece! Tell your story how it begs to be told. However, we do have a preference for setting the scene, rather than jumping straight in medias res. We love pieces that revel in description and atmosphere, especially regarding prose.

SQF: If perhappened mag had a theme song, what would it be and why?

IR: I would say "Always Something There To Remind Me" by Naked Eyes (1983). This is a song that revels in past love, but it's not mournful or regretful (despite what the music video might lead you to believe!). Rather, it's acknowledging that the past sticks with you, no matter how many changes you undergo or what direction life takes you. It also gives the feeling that, should you wish to return, the past will always be there for you!

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

IR: I think these questions were all fantastic! One opportunity I wish I'd had is to shout out other fabulous lit mags; I would boost Mineral Lit Mag, dreams walking, Non.Plus Lit, Windows Facing Windows Review, and many more. Indie lit mags are the future of writing. They're giving an accessible platform to voices that would otherwise go unheard, and that's a powerful phenomenon. Please support small mags, journals, and presses. Thank you for your time and attention, and please follow @perhappened on Twitter and Instagram!

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

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