A Pretty WILD One...

As a writer, it had always been a dream of mine to have all of my submitted pieces accepted by a journal. Just a "we'll take 'em all!" Not just because whenever I submit anywhere, it's after deliberating for a long time what I think would fit very nicely into the journal to which I'm submitting and creating a perfect little bundle of pieces as my submission, but because I'm selfish and desire validation! Publish all of me, goddammit!

Okay, I'm being a little facetious. However, it was always a dream of mine. Just to get that acceptance boost of confidence without having to ignore the implicit rejection of multiple pieces in my submission package. Okay yeah, that is a bit neurotic. What a surprise.

But this far-fetched dream came true when I received an acceptance from FERAL: A Journal of Poetry and Art...for all three of the poems I submitted to them for consideration for publication in their third issue, BODY. I was over the moon. I brought this up to everyone and way too many times. But I was proud! I am proud!

In these three poems, "Soft As Milk," "The Echo of the Music," and "Planting Cantaloupes," I consider my own body and my relation to it through the lenses of gender, disability, and heredity. I feel that these are some of my most intimate poems, and being such, I have tended to hold them very close to my chest. It was a little hard to submit them, honestly. But I believe they have found a perfect home with FERAL's BODY issue.

This is also the first time I have published something publicly claiming and engaging with my physical disability, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. When I was younger, I watched my mother, who is a visual artist, get a little pigeonholed as an artist who only talks about disability. Sure, she talked about it sometimes in her work; it is an irrevocable part of her identity as both a person and an artist. But I have been afraid of being pigeonholed myself as a writer who is beholden to only discuss gender and disability, two irrevocable facets of my own identity. But I realized that fear wasn't really bringing me anything, and I have found even in these early stages of "outness" that throwing out that fear has brought me several publications of which I am so proud and a sense of community I could never have anticipated otherwise.

Please, please spare "Soft As Milk," "The Echo of the Music," and "Planting Cantaloupes" a glance. They are accompanied by a lovely piece of artwork by Elise Rothenhoefer!

Click here to read online.

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© 2020 by Abigail Swoboda.