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Resources for Writers

New Arts Journal: Spontaneity

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Spontaneity is a new arts journal that is all about inspiration. It’s a place where one idea leads to another – where you can see a chain reaction between poetry, prose and visual art. The concept is simple; you – the artist – explore the magazine, then react and respond to the material in whatever form your creativity takes.

Something you see or read in Spontaneity might spark an idea for a story, poem or photograph – which in turn will provoke a reaction and response. For example, in future issues you will be able to navigate back to see how a piece of flash fiction inspired a poem, or go forward to see how that poem inspired a photograph. You will be able to trace the genealogy of ideas – a kind of creative timeline where you – artists, poets, writers – make the next theme happen.

I have been inspired by many beautiful online journals, from magazines such as Camera Obsura to renowned publications like The Paris Review. Often I have been touched by something and wanted to respond directly to the artist – which made me think about having a place where you could do just that. Why not have somewhere that is a whole creative conversation? This is the idea behind Spontaneity. So what are we looking for?

Neil Gaiman in his already legendary lecture to The Reading Agency on the future of reading and libraries talks of our responsibility as writers: “it’s the obligation to write true things, especially important when we are creating tales of people who do not exist in places that never were – to understand that truth is not in what happens but what it tells us about who we are. Fiction is the lie that tells the truth, after all.”

This is a lofty aim for Spontaneity but one that is central – this truth within the lie. We all know how it feels when we read a story that does not ring true – but it is hard to explain why. I have read very clever, very eloquent stories that have left me cold because they are missing this truthfulness – which a bit like nutmeg in a béchamel sauce is only noticeable by its absence.

Gaiman was paraphrasing Camus when he talked about fiction being the lie which tells the truth, but philosophers, painters and poets have been saying the same thing from Aristotle to Picasso to Zadie Smith. I think this truthfulness is core across all art forms, the one we find in a small child singing off-kilter, squares of saturated colour, or the joy of iambic pentametre spoken in perfect pitch.

So what makes for truthfulness in art? You the artist know what I mean – you know when the thing you are painting or singing or saying or writing comes from a real place or a bogus one – and of course there’s the irony because all that we make is artificial – but I think that there is a place somewhere between what we used to call a conscience and the world of dreams that produces the good stuff.

Issue one is where it all starts, the springboard for future editions; our first theme is Age and Beauty. Motherhood has made me acutely aware of the passage of time, and has led to existential angst, fear and hope for the future in equal measure, alongside trivial neuroses about wrinkles and hair dye.

I think we are obsessed with age, with mortality – it feels perhaps more so today than ever before – but I suspect it has always been so: collige, virgo, rosas.

You can interpret Age and Beauty in any way at all, focussing on age, beauty or both – as long as there is some connection. We have no restriction on genre or style. It doesn’t matter if you are edgy and avant garde or classical and traditional. It doesn’t matter who you know, who follows you on twitter or where you’ve been published before. It doesn’t matter if you’re starting out or established. We just want things that are truthful – which the poet tells us, are often beautiful too.

Deadline for submissions is 15 November, 2013. For more on our guidelines visit spontaneity.org

Follow us on twitter @spontaneity_art

(c) Ruth McKee, PhD (editor of Spontaneity).