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McCann: Arts opportunities for the homebound

The coronavirus is driving people away from public spaces, whether those spaces are grocery stores, gyms, religious institutions, schools, restaurants or movie theaters.

The NBA has shut down. March Madness is now March Sadness. New York’s Broadway is closed. High schools have canceled their spring musicals.

Meanwhile, for those confined at home and seeking arts opportunities, here are but a few of the opportunities available to submit prose, poems and essays, for possible publication.

‘The Uncommon Grackle’

“The Uncommon Grackle” is an online literary journal by the Gateway Regional Arts Center in Mount Sterling.

It doesn’t pay, but there is certainly a feeling of empowerment and self-worth that comes from seeing your words in print.

John Maruskin of the Clark County Public Library put me on to this journal and I have already submitted a piece of flash fiction. However, they also accept images, art and poetry for publication.

Though they do not pay contributors, they do publish “authors, photographers, artists and creatives of all walks of life, with voices that reflect all peoples and paths possible on this Earth. Whether you’re in the majority or among the marginalized, we want to hear what you’ve got to say to the world.”

Deadline to be considered for their April online zine is April 5. For specific information about their submission policies visit their website: https://www.grackentucky.org/grackle.

‘New Limestone Review’

The University of Kentucky’s “New Limestone Review” is looking for submissions of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, visual art, comics and genre-bending/multimedia/uncategorizable work for monthly issues of its online literary review.

All submissions published online are eligible for inclusion in its annual print publication.

Currently, from what I could determine from the “New Limestone” website, the journal is only accepting flash fiction (up to 800 words) and probably poetry.

According to the website, poetry is accepted “except during contest periods;” check with them in November for information about The Ada Limon Autumn Poetry Prize.

Creative nonfiction is accepted only in September and October annually.

The Gurney Norman Summer Fiction Prize is currently closed. Information about this year’s contest will be available beginning in May 2020, along with updated rules and deadlines.

Confused? For more information about payment, who can submit, when to submit and how to submit visit their website:  https://thenewlimestonereview.submittable.com/submit.

Kentucky Explorer magazine

This is rapidly becoming one of my favorite magazines. Once you become aware of Kentucky Explorer, you can’t not find it.

It’s in state park gift shops, in convenience stores, and bookstores.

With a circulation of 50,000 monthly, this is one of the state’s best-read and overlooked treasures, because it focuses on the stories of everyday Kentuckians in their own words.

My father has written some stories for them in recent years. But not too long ago, I read a story from 1940 written about life in Flemingsburg (circa 1840) by dad’s Aunt Mamie (my great aunt).

The magazine has only been published since 1986; however, they also publish previously-published material including, according to their website, “edited and interesting passages from long-forgotten newspapers, books, and magazines” as well as  “old engravings and sketches from the long ago.” All of which explains how my great aunt’s article from the 1940 Flemingsburg Gazette ended up in an issue of Kentucky Explorer.

Published on newsprint, this is not a fancy magazine, but it is wide-ranging in its interests — pictures, humor, family stories and genealogy, stories from every Kentucky county are to be found here, along with recipes, notices of upcoming family reunions, stories of Daniel Boone (yes, the one that kilt a bar) and of his descendants as well as stories about the state’s many parks, cities, communities and community leaders.

It features history articles about the state from its earliest days down to the present with a focus on the everyday — schools, stills, battles, coal and farming, politics and those who make our state interesting, its ‘characters.’

If you’ve never been published, this can be a good place to get some experience. It’s a also a place though that might republish that old article that you’ve been carrying in your wallet about the time your high school basketball team made it to the Sweet Sixteen and which includes a picture of you cutting down the net after the regional tournament.

For information about how to submit a newly-written or a previously-printed article for consideration by the Kentucky Explorer editors, visit https://kentuckyexplorer.com/.

Bill McCann is a playwright, poet, flash fiction writer and teacher who writes about arts events and personalities. Reach him at wmccann273@gmail.com.