Some anniversaries are more poignant than others, and last year marked
a stirring one for The Awakenings Review: the 10th year that we have been in
publication. It’s cliché to remark on how the time has flown by, but it did and it
has. The Awakenings Project, the organization that publishes The Awakenings
Review, debuted in 1997, and will celebrate its 15th year in 2012. Same
organization, another milestone, another celebration. I can’t wait.
The Awakenings Review has never had any confusion as to its mission:
we’re a literary journal giving voice to writers with mental illnesses. Friends
and family of people with mental illnesses have always been a part of the mix,
and anyone opening the pages of any edition of The Awakenings Review will
quickly discern that an intimate familiarity with mental illness is at the heart of
the work that we create.
There is no shortage of work of this genre out there. I remember when
The Awakenings Review was first being published and we worried, with some
good reason, whether we would get enough material to fill our pages. We were
being published at the University of Chicago at that time. My colleagues and
I crafted a small notice that appeared in the classifieds of Poets & Writers
Magazine, announcing our existence and soliciting their readership to submit
work to a literary magazine that—and we made no bones about it—published
work by and about people living with mental illnesses. Soon my mailbox filled
to the brim. There was a landslide of material in response to our one little ad.
We took pause to reflect. Our announcement was no better crafted than dozens
of ads in Poets & Writers; it was of no more words nor did it have a longer run.
Instead it struck a chord, a chord which we are fortunate still resonates. Scores
of writers and poets still continue to submit their heartfelt works to us.
This, of course, speaks volumes to the numbers of poets and writers who
live with mental illness and who apply themselves with great earnestness to the
practice of creating literature. Simply put, there are lots of writers with mental
illnesses. We know. They arrive at our mailbox, they come to our web site. We
read their works; we study their letters to us that are filled with touching and
stirring truths. To our knowledge there is no other literary journal in the country
that has devoted itself to this cause. We have and we intend to continue.
This is not to imply that we get more submissions than we need, that is
not at all the case. We are always in search of new writers, new material, new
ideas, and new stories. The volume of submissions we receive simply indicates
that there are scores of writers in the English speaking world, and in the non-
English speaking world for that matter, who are disposed to write poetry and
fiction about their experiences with mental illness. These good human beings
have the courage and wherewithal to go on the record saying they have a mental illness, or someone close to them has a mental illness: courage of this variety is to be commended and praised.
Yes, continue to send us your submissions, and let us review them for
future issues, as we march into the next ten years of our publishing endeavors.
It is with great sincerity that we thank all who have submitted their work to The
Awakenings Review. Thank you for being at the heart of what we are and what
we hope to become.