Amanda Miska, Split Lip's Brand New Editor-in-Chief
When summing up what we at Split Lip are looking for in submissions, we almost always say that we’re looking for work with sting, torque, or bite. Some people take this to mean we’re looking for sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll (and sure, we’re looking for that too). What I mean is that I want people who are going against the grain. Writers who offer something subversive (like hope?). Writers who are pushing boundaries--not just literary boundaries, but their own. Writers who are interested in the possibility of a different, better world, not this same literary bubble where most people only pretend to care and then retreat. Writers who are aware that there is a world outside of this literary bubble.
We don’t give Art enough power. We treat it like a hobby. We humblebrag. We self-deprecate. We keep it secret, as though it’s something frivolous or shameful.
And maybe some of it is. Even in our literary “community,” there are pockets of destruction. People who work to feed their egos and tear people down. People who hurt others intentionally. The poison is everywhere.
But honest, empathetic work is the antidote.
Maybe that sounds too simplistic, like saying removing a confederate flag is the end of racism, or legalizing gay marriage will stop homophobia. But listen: we have to start somewhere.
We are living in a world hellbent on destruction. On taking. On consuming. On self. On the news and all over social media: daily atrocities. We start to feel hopeless. Helpless. And then we start to feel numb.
So maybe we: Binge-watch something ridiculous on Netflix. Binge eat. Online shop. Scroll Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. (Or maybe that’s just me.)
This kind of numbness, a concentrated aloofness, is not healthy or productive. The antithesis to destruction is not consumption––it’s creation. When what we love is destroyed, we must make. Or remake. Or make new.
There are many reasons why we make Art: To tell our stories. To tell the stories of those who no longer can. To expose lies. To tell the (T)truth. This is power. If we stop or if we give in to the status quo, if we write only what we think we’re supposed to write, we are complicit in this demolition. We are squandering our power. We are believing the ones who tell us that what we do doesn’t matter.
Don’t drink that Kool-Aid.
This issue, my first as editor, is full of work that moves and challenges me. Work that is powerful. This is a labor of love, from the editors, our artists, and our hardworking publisher. We hope it entertains, engages, and inspires you. We hope, in its own small way, it puts something good out into the world. Something light. Something true. Something to build on.