Read This! An Excerpt from the Emerge: 2017 Lambda Fellows Anthology
Author: Edit Team
May 24, 2018
The latest volume of Emerge is here!
Emerge: 2017 Lambda Fellows Anthology is a collection of literary work from the 2017 Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices Fellows in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, genre fiction and playwriting. The Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices was established in 2007 and is the first of its kind ever offered to LGBTQ writers: a one-week intensive immersion in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, genre fiction and playwriting.
The Retreat is an unparalleled opportunity to be mentored by the very best writers in our community, to develop one’s craft, make connections with publishing industry professionals and build a strong community of peers. Over 50 writers are included; with an introduction by 2017 faculty member Garth Greenwell. Buy a copy here and get a front row seat to the future of LGBTQ literature.
Below is the editor’s note from Miranda Schmidt, the Emerge: 2017 Lambda Fellows Anthology editor.
When I think of us at the Lambda Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices, I think of the space we created with our writing. Sitting in rows in the main forum at Otis College of Art and Design, every night, we would read from our novels in progress, our fragments of stories, our essays, our poems, our many-voiced plays. For one week, that room was ours. So much greater than the walls that surrounded it, it held a space we wove together with our words, a space we have carried back into our lives outside Lambda, out of that summer and on through the fall and the winter and spring.
I write this from Portland, Oregon, in a neighborhood dotted with queer bars and queer coffee shops and queer clinics. My wife and I live in a life I could not have imagined growing up in the nineties in a conservative Midwestern town in a world that seemed to have no space for queerness at all. When I think of the space of my present life, I still can’t help but feel that I’m living inside the impossible. For many of us, especially those of us who grew up with little access to it, queer space can still hold a sense of unreality.
And queer space is a little bit magic. It’s a shapeshifting creature. It can take many forms: an apartment, a meeting, a bar, a book, a twitter feed, a conversation. Every time queer people gather together, we create new queer space. And in that space create stories, conversations, friendships, futures.
Lambda Literary facilitates the creation of queer spaces for writers and readers. The Retreat, by the very nature of the word, is a space that allows us to step back, momentarily from the rest of the world. Of course, we still bring that world with us. Our writing is full of responses to a world that so often treats us and our spaces with varying degrees of hostility and dehumanization. What struck me most about our writing at Lambda was how beautifully it alchemized anguish, and joy, and honed it into art. In the space of our retreat I watched the words of my fellow fellows blossoming everywhere and this made me feel hopeful about the present and future of queer literature.
When we left Lambda, we stepped off of planes to see headlines of violence, to see the racism of this country writ large and bold and ugly. In these past months, we have seen continued attempts to dehumanize people of color, immigrants, Muslims, women, and, of course, LGBTQ people, and many, many others.
And, in these past months, we have continued to write. We have written to each other on social media and in emails. We have written for publications. We have written for classes. We have written for jobs. We have written for ourselves. We have written poems and essays and stories and novels and plays and cross-genre curiosities. We have written. We continue to write.
I don’t know how to live in the moment we’re in. But I know writing is my only way forward. Writing is the space that makes a pause for me to think in. It makes room for me to feel in. It allows me a way to respond to the world.
I’ve had the luck to keep living with the writing in this anthology for these past few months. Editing this anthology, I’ve gone back, again and again, through the portals of our work, to our nightly readings and the space we created there. I often remember that last night of our retreat, that moment before we stepped back into the world outside, when we danced in the forum and, before I left, I took one last look back.
The chairs are gone, replaced by a circle of bodies and we are all dancing and mingling and swaying and jumping and raising our hands in a space that is ours and a time that is always. Here. Now.
You are holding that space in your hands.
Illustration by Rachel Linn