Editor’s Letter: Autumn 2016 Edition

Welcome to Issue Two?of Inside The Bell Jar, where you’ll explore some dark, yet utterly relatable themes in the way of short stories, poetry and flash.

Firstly, I?would like to send out a warm thank you to each and every person who submitted to us this season. We were completely blown away by the response to our call to submissions. Last issue, we received over 120 submissions. This issue more than doubled that, as we counted a grand total of 346 submissions, with poetry again being our most fruitful area. Choosing which submissions to publish was honestly?a heartbreaking task. I seriously underestimated how emotionally detached you need to be in order to be an editor. Writing is an art. But writing about mental illness, about suicide, self-harm, toxic relationships, broken homes… that takes a certain kind of bravery, and comparing people’s work often felt unfair. Each poem, each story gave me a small fragment into that person’s world; a glimpse of their suffering, a glimmer of their hope. And while we are a fiction journal, so many of the people who submit to us do?draw experiences from their own lives; the scars their characters have are sometimes the very scars that the writer carries on their bodies or?in their minds.

Difficulties in choosing who to?publish aside, we are so pleased to bring to you, what we believe, are some of the most talented writers we have ever come across. In this issue, you’ll find several pieces of flash, including Mother which offers?an unflinchingly raw reveal of one woman’s final moments as she contemplates suicide, while?Follow the Rabbit?is a deeply disturbing yet surreal and comical experience with one man’s hallucinations.

For our two short stories, we have a somewhat magical world?in?Peter and Harold, offering readers?a sad, reflective look at loss, tangled with mental illness and how that can lead to such an obsession. Michelle Ciccarelli’s Perfection is an unflinching look at the realities of life with anorexia, with all of the frustration and bitterness that the condition’s obsessive thinking entails.

Onto poetry next, and while this was our toughest section to choose from, we cannot be more excited for you to read both?Night and?You Know Nobody Likes You (or, ‘How To Make A Joke’). Night?by Emmie Mears is a poem of?duality – a struggle for identity in the face of perceived lack of worth. Tight metaphors and masked strength make this an extremely powerful poem, and an instant choice for our second issue.?Maggie Haraberr’s You Know Nobody Likes You (or, ‘How To Make A Joke’) is an instantly relatable journey into the mind of one with identity struggles and poor self worth. Rhyme and form intertwine with the poem’s meaning, creating an extremely strong voice and an instant pick for the issue. Clarity is certainly important when tackling a mental illness, especially one that receives such an astounding amount of stigma as BPD. Poetically, this piece is gorgeous; ebbing and flowing with ease on the reader’s tongue.

I shall not say anymore about our collection though, as they really do need to be experienced firsthand. We ask that, if you enjoy a submission, please let our writers know. Feedback is warmly welcomed on the site by comments. And what better way to encourage someone to keep writing than to tell them what you enjoyed about their work. We know our writers appreciate feedback so much.

Lastly,?onto the more business-like elements of the journal. With the number of submissions growing in each issue, we are well aware that we are in desperate need of some kind of funding, be it an arts grant or a crowdfunding campaign. We assure you that this is something we hope to set in motion before the end of the year, or early next year. This will enable us to not only accept more submissions, but to also perhaps look at a printed form of?Inside The Bell Jar.

We’re also welcoming two new team members to the journal – Emma Guinness and Felicity McKee. Emma Guinness was previously published in?Inside The Bell Jar’s?first issue with the fantastic short story?Check, while we worked with model and activist Felicity McKee on our World Suicide Prevention Day project, ‘I’m Not Afraid to Scream’. We’re thrilled to have them, and know they’ll assist in taking?Inside The Bell Jar?to new heights. If you’d like to know more about our team, have a look here.

One very last thing before you head off to into the Bell Jar, I wanted to share some exciting (and scary) news of my own with readers. Earlier this month, I published an article on The Mighty. The article, entitled ‘I’ve Spent 17 Years Hiding From Children – This Is My OCD Story‘ is, by far, the hardest thing I have ever put into words, but it is the most important thing I’ve ever had to say. It is important to me because I am absolutely desperate to find a purpose for this pain. I am desperate for my struggles to be heard so that other people’s struggles won’t be as hard. I am on a mission to talk about OCD (and all mental illnesses) in the most open way possible, so that we remove stigmas and challenge misconceptions. Cliche, I know… but if I can help one person with my story, then that makes me a happier person; that makes my life worth fighting for. The reason I stay alive? Because I want to help others like me. Maybe not now, but someday, somehow.

Anyway, that’s?enough talk! It’s time for you to get reading.

I hope you enjoy the?issue!

With love,
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Inside The Bell Jar

Inside The Bell Jar

Inside The Bell Jar is a literary journal dedicated to providing a raw and honest insight into the complexity of mental illness. We hope that you enjoy reading our stories and poems, and that you might consider submitting.
Inside The Bell Jar