Me and Makarelle
So what do you do when you and your friends are all trying to get published and none of you are getting beyond the odd competition win/placing/anthology publication? Well if you're a group of people who've just graduated from an MA in Creative Writing, you take an off the cuff suggestion of, 'Why don't we just start our own magazine and then we'll definitely get our stuff published' and you turn it into a reality!
To be honest, when we first started this, part of me thought it might be something that we just talked about for a while and then never actually got round to doing. It quickly became clear however, that we were definitely going to give it a good go. Then when we decided that we wanted to give a platform to others like us and we put the call out for submissions, I thought that if we were lucky we might get a few contributions from our fellow graduates. To my surprise (and delight) we had pieces flooding in all the way through the submissions window. We lost a couple of editors along the way - this was a much bigger undertaking than any of us had reckoned on and took up huge amounts of time - but the three of us (Dini, Jane and myself) began meeting every week and exchanging vast quantities of emails, WhatsApp messages and google documents and slowly but surely, things started to come together. We re-learnt how to use Publisher, some of us did a course in digital marketing, some of us put together a draft application for funding, we registered the magazine with Companies House, we discussed what our long term goals were and we advertised and promoted our little socks off on social media.
The end result of all this madness however, is truly a thing of beauty. We have worked so hard to pull all of this together but we couldn't have done it without the creative brilliance of our contributors and we are so proud to be bringing their work to the wider audience it deserves. Some of the stories and poems made us laugh, some made us cry, some made us think more deeply about life and we marvelled at the visual artwork we'd been offered.
Ultimately though, beyond sheer exhaustion, I think the overwhelming emotion for me is pride. Pride in our contributors, our magazine, but mostly in us. Doing this has made me, for perhaps the first time ever, feel like I can legitimately call myself a writer because I'm a part of something that goes beyond me and my own writing. When I first applied for the MA I told my sister that I didn't hold out much hope of getting accepted onto the course because I didn't really have any relevant qualifications. Quite rightly, she pointed out that perhaps the fact that I'd written and self-published several children's books might count as experience and she told me she had every faith that I'd get on the course. Of course, she was proved right in the end and she supported me throughout the first year. If she was still here, she'd be the one shouting it from the rooftops that her sister was now not only a writer, but the editor of a magazine, so it seems very fitting that Makarelle will launch this Friday, on what would have been her 56th birthday.
Why don't you come and see what all the fuss has been about and click onto www.makarelle.com on Friday?