SECOND PERSON QUEER:
How We Lived Our Lives – and How You Can Live Yours
edited by Richard Labonté and Lawrence Schimel
For an anthology of life advice from the GLBT community to the GLBT community, we're looking for short, informed essays – preferably between 1,000-2,000 words – written in the second person (addressed to a "you").
Every GLBT person must make their own personal journeys to come out, but many queer communities are and have been especially proactive in welcoming and mentoring "new" members. This teaching happens on many levels, from the institutional (e.g., safer sex education) to the individual (e.g., a feminist consciousness raising or instruction in the codes of the leather lifestyle).
But each successive GLBT generation can hopefully learn from the experiences of those who came before--and teach them many things as well.
Whether aimed at the overarching queer community in general or at a subset of the community – or even at an individual in your life – your essay must deliver advice that is deeply personal, intelligently (but not overtly) didactic, and constructive in tone. We’re not looking for a bitchfest, although dark humour, smart irony, and witty prose are welcome, as long as there’s also some sound advice for our readers. We want to be affected by intensely personal experiences from writers of diverse genders, ages, races, and orientations, informing us about unusual lessons learned from their lives that can be passed along to others. Teach us.
Contributors are invited to approach the book in two ways:
1) "How-to" essays, which should be instructive in nature and have a title that begins "How To." No topic is out of bounds - "How to Be Friends With Your Lover's Mother", "How to Manage a Homophobic Boss", "How to Pick Up Your Therapist", "How to Create a Gay-Straight Alliance At Your School", "How to Invite Your Ex-Lovers to Your Wedding", "How to Seduce a Straight Friend", "How to Dress for Success", "How to Break Up Without Tears", "How to Choose the Right Cockring", “How to Cruise Online”, etc. - as long as it imparts a useful queer lesson to others. The essays can be profound or practical or humorous or heart-rending -- or a blend of styles -- but must be written in the second person (addressed to a "you"). Draw from your own experience and teach us something; essays which not only teach us how to do something but why are especially welcome.
2) Open Letters. Write a letter to someone specific--whether a public persona (celebrity, politician, author, etc.) or someone drawn from your personal life (a teacher, a relative, a neighbour, whoever)--in which you either offer advice or thank them for things you learned from them (their example). Think James Baldwin's THE FIRE NEXT TIME or the "Art of Mentoring" series. Discrete queer communities have a history of mentoring within themselves: activists teach activists, genderqueers inspire genderqueers, the leather community passes along its traditions, gay elders keep a love of show tunes and Judy alive…draw on that sense of your part in the tradition of a communal memory for your contribution.
Keep in mind the focus of the anthology, however--life advice FROM the queer community FOR the queer community. For example, while there are open letters we could--and should--write to many non-queer persons regarding their treatment of the community, this anthology is not the place for those sentiments. Do write them and send them to said persons, to your local politicians, to the op-ed pages of queer or mainstream newspapers, etc. But for this project, please only send us open letters offering advice to members of the queer community.
The one exception we are willing to consider will be open letters to a child (relative, child of queer parents, etc.) whose sexuality is not yet defined, and to whom one is offering advice on how to deal with the pressures of heteronormative society while growing up. Note, however, that we will include only one or two such pieces in the book, so your chances of publication increase tremendously if you choose a more original subject.
1) Title the file with author's last name and story title in the file name: Surname-Title.doc
(Do not simply title your piece SecondPersonQueer.com, at least not the version you submit to us.)
2) Include your name, your mailing address, your email address, and a bio WITHIN the .doc file with your piece, as submissions will be separated from emails to be read.
3) Submit your work by email, as an attachment in .doc format, to email@example.com
Deadline: Mar. 15, 2008.
Payment: a small honorarium and one copy of the book will be paid. (Please note that payment is in Canadian funds.)
As an anthology for a Canadian publisher, preference will be given to submissions from Canadian writers. But the anthology is open to submissions from all writers, and is actively interested in non-North American writers.
About the editors
Richard Labonté has been the editor of the BEST GAY EROTICA series since 1997, and of the anthologies COUNTRY BOYS, BOYS IN HEAT, BEST GAY ROMANCE 2008, BEST GAY BONDAGE, WHERE THE BOYS ARE, and HOT GAY EROTICA. He writes the syndicated review column "Book Marks" for Q Syndicate (www.qsyndicate.com) and also the Gay Men's Edition of Books to Watch Out For (www.btwof.com). For many years the general manager of A Different Light Bookstores in California, he returned to Canada in 2001, and lives with his husband Asa on Bowen Island, BC, with forays back to a farm in rural eastern Ontario.
Lawrence Schimel is an award-winning author and anthologist who has published over 80 books in many different genres, including PoMoSEXUALS: CHALLENGING ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT GENDER AND SEXUALITY, TWO BOYS IN LOVE, BEST DATE EVER: TRUE STORIES THAT CELEBRATE GAY RELATIONS, THE DRAG QUEEN OF ELFLAND, THINGS INVISIBLE TO SEE: LESBIAN AND GAY TALES OF MAGIC REALISM, THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF NEW GAY EROTICA, SWITCH HITTERS: LESBIANS WRITE GAY MALE EROTICA AND GAY MEN WRITE LESBIAN EROTICA, and BEST GAY POETRY 2008, among others. He lives in Madrid, Spain with his husband, Ismael Attrache.
Together, Labonté and Schimel are the editors of THE FUTURE IS QUEER and FIRST PERSON QUEER, also published by Arsenal Pulp Press.
About the publisher
Arsenal Pulp Press (www.arsenalpulp.com) is an independent Canadian publisher located in Vancouver, BC, which has published titles such as QUEER VIEW MIRROR, QUICKIES, HOT AND BOTHERED, OUT/LINES: UNDERGROUND GAY GRAPHICS FROM BEFORE STONEWALL, SEMINAL: THE ANTHOLOGY OF CANADA'S GAY MALE POETS, and the Little Sisters Classics series, among many other queer-interest titles.