Expanding the Quaker writing pool

Shhh: there have been a few times lately when I wish we had more options when choosing articles forFriends Journal issues. Yes yes, we did notice that the feature article contributors for the October issue on “Conscience” were all older men and that the topics were perhaps a bit too familiar for Friends Journal (nonviolence, civil disobedience, conscientious objection). They were all great articles. And I think cliches can be important (see footnote below) for a publication like ours. But yeah.

I had hoped the idea of conscience would leap up to new writers, especially in our current political climate, and that the articles might serve as a bridge between 1960s Quaker activism and today. Sometimes our themes inspire writers and sometimes they don’t.

I’ve occasionally written Quakerranter blog posts about upcoming submission opportunities but I’d like to make it more official and post these every month from the Friends Journal website. We’re calling the feature “From the Editor’s Desk.”

I’d also like you all to share these with people you think should be writing for us, especially if they’re new writers coming from different perspectives. Diversities of all kind are always welcome.

I was a Quaker blogger (and thus writer) for many years and I worked for Friends Journal for part of that time but I only once sent in a submission before I became senior editor. Why? Was I waiting to be asked? Was I unsure what I might write about? Whatever the reason, we need to always be finding and encouraging new people. Some of the most interesting articles we’ve published started after one of our fans shared an upcoming issue topic with someone who was outside of our network. My goal with these posts is really to encourage you all to share these in emails and on your Facebook walls so we can keep expanding the Quaker writer universe.

Here’s the first one: a call for writers for the March 2018 issue on Quakers and the Holy Land.

Footnote: Every once in a while we’ll get some article in and I’ll sigh because I can remember a previous article that covered the same ground. When I go to look it up I realize that the earlier article was published fifteen or more years ago. We have new readers every year and it’s okay to circle around to core themes every decade or so. We also need to remember the interesting people and incidents that happened long enough ago because our collective memory is always in the process of fading. I’m a peacenik longtime Quaker so I knew Dan Seeger was the named defendant in a major landmark Supreme Court decision in the 1960s, for example, but I don’t assume most Friends knew this. It’s still a cool story. It still inspires. It’s important to keep the story alive.