You complete your first creative writing class and decide you have some pretty sweet ideas for stories. After your first design class you find you’re not too shabby at photoshop. By week two of classes, you decide the world is ready for you and your growing knowledge of art and literature. So you decide to make a magazine.Luckily for you, second year proves to be a little more difficult than you expected, and you realise that a magazine will actually require effort. And luckier for you, there are already literary magazines in place that can give you a hand at getting into the wonderful world of the arts. Lucky for you there are sessions such as: Media Makers: Lit Mags, The New Breed.
Literary magazine editors BrigidMullane, Kill Your Darlings (KYD), and Ellena Savage, The Lifted Brow, spilled the beans to Ben Birchall on what it is like to work on, live and love their jobs and their publications. And why these are important to the emerging writer (including the first year student from above). Quotes about how the vast majority of writers begin their career in literary magazines and journals only confirmed my belief in the art and the point of the print magazine.
Print is (supposedly) a dying art form in our digital world, but there are still those who will give their hearts and souls for it. Both ladies discuss the hardships of ‘doing it without salaries’ as writers - volunteers to their art form – have always done. As Brigid states, there are ‘tears of love and lack of sleep’ at the end of an issue, but the drive to continue drives her on.
Newer lit mags such as KYD and The Brow allow editors more breadth of visions. Being younger than their more established counterparts, there is greater ground for exploration. This gives the more radical and out-there emerging artist a place for their works and offers all writers a nurturing place to hone their craft. As Brigid believes: ‘You don’t just emerge and be Tim Winton.’ You need support and you need breaks and you need magazines to take a punt on your work.
Moving beyond emerging, as an artist, is harder than ever. The Arts in Australia are in for a struggle. Funding is currently receiving a giant smack in the face, but The Lifted Brow and KYD still believe in the magic of the printed magazine. Ellena is convniced that print captures a moment in time in a way that other formats do not. Twenty years from now, writers will still be able to pull an edition The Lifted Brow or KYD off the shelf and discover what writers and artists existed in our time now. The future needs the influence of the past. And thanks to mags like these it will continue to receive it.
Edited by Wayne Stellini