Suburbia Journal began as Ember Chasm Review in Fall of 2019, back when we didn't quite know what we were doing, or what we wanted out of our name and journal. The project began under the enthusiasm and love of two undergraduate writers who loved to read, but now, after almost three years of evolutions and mutations in our writing careers, editorial understanding, and our personal lives, Miranda and I found ourselves growing away from Ember Chasm.
We put the magazine under a magnifying glass, sat down with some strong cocktails, and talked about who we are, what we love to read and write, and what we want to read and offer back to the literary publishing industry. The answer was a name change.
But more than that—a re-definition. We had to dig a knife into the guts of who we are, and it was painful to realize we needed to remove an organ and replace it with a different one in order to heal into something stronger, something that would adapt with us as we forged ahead forever into our future lives. Since 2019, Miranda has attained a BA, MA, and is soon to start her MFA, and created respectable partnerships for her work with some wonderful magazines, including Best Small Fictions, an accomplishment I'm very proud of for her. I've progressed down my own professional path, and am soon to apply for MFA Programs in fall of 2022.
Through this process, you could say we've found our voices as writers. In undergrad, our writing was still being forged; we were made of wet metal. It might be cliché to say, but I believe that now, we've finally sharpened into what we are. We've discovered our content and conflict focuses, our prose styles, the subject matter we tend to dissect and reconstruct, all based on our unique histories, experiences, and trajectories as individuals. The universal 'they' in this industry says to write only the stories you can tell, and that's now what we're finally doing. Miranda lives inside queer intersections, Frankenstein'ing nouns into verbs and other language re-imaginings, utilizing film methods and her personally crafted color theory to affect and effect fiction. I've stepped into carving up family dynamics, substance abuse's highs and lows, bending the walls of monogamy and heterosexuality, the absurdity and grotesquery festering inside the fucked-up house of Capitalism and its effects on our environment, our relationships, and the people pushed outside its barbed-wire borders. These focuses had always been present, but small, like knives; now we've built our armories.
Of course, along with writing, the second part of this decision centers around our editing—how we understand and run a magazine. When we started, we were sheltered within a very small literary community, hadn't taken many eye-opening classes, and hadn't interacted with other magazines, our writing and editing contemporaries, or the publishing industry at large. Since then, we've explored those places, learned new information, and had to reconcile that information with what Ember Chasm was and offered. And the answer was clear: changes had to be made.
Thus, Suburbia Journal was born. It's a blend of Miranda and I's focuses and strengths, a project built from the important vestiges of our past, and the more-important future. A change like this isn't to be taken lightly, so in the essence of transparency, know that we've spent months discussing and deliberating on this change—tears, frustration, an obnoxious amount of alcohol and stress, Miranda laying on the floor in our office, forehead on the ground—and know that this is a promise for our future. We wanted a name, and a neighborhood for our community, that will last beyond us (please apply to take over if we both die).
As for specific changes, you can see most of them below, but as a final note, we'll be archiving our previous four issues under our original name, and push forward, starting with issue five, under Suburbia.
Thank you, dear readers, writers, friends, and supporters. We couldn't do this without you, and we're honored to share this new path with you.
Suburbia Journal wants to peel back the façades and expose the gross, absurd realities lurking behind the Suburban-Capitalist “Utopia," the smiling Nuclear Family, the “normal neighborhood” and the straight, happy, white, home-owning, monogamously homogenous molds boxing us in. We want explorations, especially, from underrepresented writers and voices like BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ and gender-fluid individuals, the houseless, the incarcerated—all those who have been disallowed, punished, or been devastated by the grotesquery of the status quo, the bottom line, the privilege and the desecrations of our environments (whatever that means to you). On the flipside, Suburbia is meant to also represent the positive aspects of the term: our community, inclusion, expansion, and shelter. A utopian literary and artistic neighborhood.
To be more literal, we intend our mission statement to be an encompassing yet guiding direction for exceptional, innovative fiction, poetry, and artwork. If it's original in concept, content, language, or otherwise shatters walls, we're interested in considering it.
Suburbia, more than Ember Chasm, will be focusing on pushing the boundaries of mixed-media, and creating new, innovative opportunities for writers and artists. Special issues for BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, incarcerated, houseless, disabled, and gender-fluid and gender-queer people. Multi-media issues. An annual short film contest. A community center on the website dedicated to writers and featuring constructive critiques from Suburbia editors and other community members. Slam poetry features and contests. YouTube creative writing classes. TikTok features. Author interviews and community events. And so much more on the horizon.
Keep up with us on our social media channels for updates, news, and opportunities.