One of our newest alums, Nicci Mechler (MA, 2013), shares her latest project: creating an exciting new literary journal, Sugared Water, which had its first issue released this week.
Why was Sugared Water created? What gap do you feel it fills in the lit publishing world?
Sugared Water is meant to be a place where genre meets literary work. We consider all kinds, and choose what strikes us in the moment, mark it for later, and come back to it in a week or four. If we just can’t let it go, there’s a good chance we’ll accept the work. Things that grab on to our minds can be anything from beautifully lyric and richly visual poetry to flash speculative fiction, or experimental forms of creative nonfiction. We dig humor and sass, and we’ve found, as writers, that combinations of all of these things can be difficult to place.
Though I have a data-clogged Kindle and love to read that way, I also adore books. I think books should be beautiful, well crafted, and worthy of space on a real bookshelf. Sugared Water is limited edition, handbound & stenciled. #001 is wrapped in a screen print on 100% recycled paper. Only 240 exist. I’ve read the work inside a number of times over the five months in production, and I’m happy to go back and look again.
What we want out of a literary magazine: good stuff that doesn’t get old.
What kind of work does your editorial board like? Why?
We like clean copy that’s evocative of emotion, image, or both. Strong voiced, sure characters. We want people and narrators that feel realistic, even if they sell tornadoes from their garden, or hold fifteen-minute conversations with a goldfish. Humor is good. Our editorial board is big enough that we’re willing to argue for any number of things. My best advice in submitting to us is to be sure your work knows what it is. Commit. Be weird if your piece is weird, but don’t go for full on literary and then drop a unicorn in the last sentence. Nobody likes a U-bomb.
Issue #001 has evolved with a water theme, which was completely accidental despite our journal’s name. We didn’t go looking for it, but it certainly found us. We have a fishbowl, lakes, oceans, whales, fog, pails of water, angelfish, hurricanes, tides, tears. But, of course, we also have fire and laughter, bones, salt, and blackbirds. As Anna says in her editorial bio, we like stories that make us forget who we are. (We also like stories that make us see ourselves—either way, it’s about connection.)
We let the larger pool of submissions shape our magazine for us.
Do you have any advice for current writing students?
No matter how many rejections you receive, keep working your craft. Somewhere out there is a home for your work. Don’t be afraid to write what you need to write—or be afraid, then write it anyway.
(And don’t be an asshole in critiques.)
Once you’re ready to submit your work, 1) read each magazine’s guidelines carefully, 2) follow them.
Small press saves lives.
Sugared Water reads April 1 – July 1 and October 1 – January 1.
If we could candy words, we’d eat them to bellyaches every afternoon. We carry journals and collect chapbooks like Smaug ripping through a gold-sequin disco. If we’re lucky enough to leave something behind that enriches the dialogue of writerly types around the world, so much the better. Send us your stuff—we’ll only hoard it for a little while.
Website & Submission info:http://sugaredwatermagazine.wordpress.com/
Issue #001 is available primarily via Etsy:https://www.etsy.com/shop/WickedLittleHeart?section_id=14226332