Three aircraft in the process of crashing

Photo: Julie Travis

I’m very happy to announce two story acceptances – my piece for Andy Martin’s novel Birds And Boys (not Behind The Bike Sheds as previously reported – my apologies for the error) has been accepted, although the piece needs to be lengthened. Publication date has not yet been set, but it’ll be a while. This morning I heard that Trigger – an immensely personal and painful work twenty years in the making – has been accepted for Vastarien, a new literary journal from North America (North America, again!), founded by fans of Thomas Ligotti’s work and worldview. The first issue of this journal should be available (in physical and electronic formats) this Spring, but it has not yet been confirmed which issue Trigger will appear in.

Frankly, I have been re-thinking my position on submitting stories. Apart from the amazing support offered by Wapshott Press, I’ve spent the last couple of years dealing with endless rejections. Something I’ve considered in the past is to continue writing but to let them gather dust, as it were. In recent times I’ve read of artists who wrote/painted etc purely for their own purposes (mostly magickal) and development and have been much inspired by the concept (although it’s fair to say that I’m grateful that their work was discovered and made available after their death). Since the Winter Solstice I have been energised to write and I’ve felt compelled to submit stories for consideration, but after getting a couple of rejections earlier this year, I felt my energy could be better put into using the stories – upon completion, not just the act of writing, which has always been transformative for me – for more exploratory ‘head’ work. After all, what is the purpose of being published? Validation as a writer/ego undoubtedly comes into it, and perhaps the need for acknowledgment, but I have as much self-belief as I’ve ever had (perhaps more, bearing in mind the nature of what I write about these days) and I’m very aware that the content is never going to be of interest to the mainstream – and I do not wish it to be so. The possibility of payment is also a consideration, the pressure to justify time spent writing in a world where money is worshipped. The most important reason, I think, is the possibility of reaching kindred souls and sometimes communicating with them. A woman once came up to me and told me one of my stories (The Ferocious Night) had made her feel better about the death of her brother. This was more than I could ever have hoped for – for people to think about death as a transformation rather than a complete ending. I want to reach more people in that way but trying to find publishers where my work ‘fits’ (I am not prepared to write to order and it may be that I’m not capable of it) is, for the most part, demoralising.

Perhaps it’s time to stop, at least for a while, even thinking about submissions and publishing; I have a few things in the pipeline (which I’m very happy about) and only one story not currently with an editor/in the process of being published. This could be a time spent immersed in what for me is a transformative/magickal process, of getting into the particular frame of mind I seek for creating and then writing a story, with no thought whatever of a commercial purpose.


All images and text © Julie Travis



9 thoughts on “Three aircraft in the process of crashing

  1. I’m in a similar frame of mind myself. Thinking of just concentrating on output of short stories for the next two months, then shape them repeatedly over time until they become something I’m really proud of. By the way, have you seen Litreactor’s list of submission sites for dark fiction? There may ne one or two you haven’t seen on there.

    • It’s certainly worth re-evaluating what and why one does these things and I think a period of time focusing purely on your stories is a positive plan.

      I haven’t been to Litreactor – thanks, I’ll take a look. I’ve found some interesting publications via The Horror Tree, I don’t know whether you know of it?

  2. Congratulations; this is wonderful news – especially for work that is so personal and has taken so long for you to develop. I continue to be inspired by your diligence and perseverance, and support you in your decision to reevaluate where you put your energies for the next little while. As a dear friend of mine used to say, it’s all part of the same process. (Also good to hear that N. America is still good for something these days!)

    • Thanks for your continued support – it means a lot, and I will continue to keep this site going whatever else happens. I feel like I’ve been here before, but maybe I’ve proved to myself that I don’t need the validation of editors who know nothing about me! As for North America – it’s way, way more open minded than the UK is in some ways and it’s even been suggested that I relocate there. I nearly did this about 25 years ago, when I was formulating a plan to move to San Francisco. It didn’t work out, but I still feel a great affinity with the west coast of the US and Canada.

      • It’s interesting to hear about the US possibly being more open-minded than UK – altho current times don’t seem to prove that theory – but it is true that many people are protesting the state of affairs in this country. Terrible times for so many, not to mention over-inflated prices especially in desirable places like SF! I’ve always felt affinity for the UK, have ancestry there (Peterborough and Scotland also) and love the landscape. Maybe one day we could dream of swapping places!

      • That sounds like a great idea! And Scotland is somewhere else I’ve thought of moving to, it has a far more compassionate ethos than England and the landscape is huge 🙂

        Yeah, the US definitely has a more diverse selection of editors – I rarely bother submitting work to UK publishers now.

      • Sounds like a bit of a break/regrouping is in order for you, and in the meantime whatever you’ll be doing: traveling, hiking, ruminating – will all be “percolating” into writing in some way. I have a problem with being consistent enough, both in working on writing and on submitting. When I finally work up the energy to do both, I always have this (erroneous) idea that of course the first place I submit to will accept my work! When they don’t, it takes far too long to get beyond the disappointment and move to the next submission plan. Something I’m actively working on! Good luck with your current plan!

      • Rejections ARE very difficult to deal with. Have you tried making a list of places to submit to? A rejection can be a bit easier if you have somewhere else to send the manuscript to.

      • Sorry to delay in responding! Yes, I have a list; just need to stop getting as deflated when the rejections come in, and move on. Seems like my past pattern has been: take a long time to motivate to writing something, then take more time to put together pitch/submission, then once rejection comes, I’m exhausted! Need to integrate these as just part of the writing process. Thanks for your encouragement.

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