Over the next few weeks, we’ll be featuring blog posts by current and former Oyez Review student editors. Today’s post is the second of a two-part entry by Ryan Michael Johnson. As we transition from celebrating Issue 41 to opening submissions for Issue 42 in August, more attention will be paid to creative nonfiction. In this post, Johnson closes with some technical thoughts about the creative nonfiction genre.
Journey to Genre
Part Two: So What’s the Point?
The last sentiment from the first half of this post was that I have pieces that will be ready for publication. Therein lies the point, kiddos. Creative nonfiction is a relatively young genre and it is still searching for a bigger niche. Guess what that means? There isn’t enough out there, yet. So send out work!
As a creative nonfiction editor for Oyez Review, I helped sift through submissions, searching for gold within the sand so that our journal represented the best of each genre. Overall, our submissions for Volume 41 were 45% fiction, 40% poetry, and less than 5% creative nonfiction. Some submissions were great, some were good, and some weren’t ready, but the overall number is something we’d like to see increased this fall.
As editors, we were assigned to review and analyze other literary magazines, ones that we wanted to submit to in the future. With my new interest in the genre, I focused my search on journals that were standouts in creative nonfiction. As I perused the shelves of my local bookstore, I found that there was seldom an issue with a dominance of creative nonfiction. Why? While the genre is relatively new, a good deal of writers have published some stellar essay and nonfiction collections. So why don’t writers submit these pieces more often?
With regards to Oyez Review, we are always look for promising creative nonfiction. Our previous publications in the genre were captivating, honest stories, with ideas and subject matters that were unique yet very universal. One writer explored the development of her sexual identity; another wrote about a tragic childhood of abuse and neglect, but in a fashion that created universality.
Everyone has experienced something in his or her life that is worth of being told. The job of the writer is to take that experience and think about how to write it in a captivating, inventive way. When this task has been accomplished, it needs to be shared.
Ryan Michael Johnson is an MFA Candidate in Creative Writing at Roosevelt University. He served as a reader and editor for Issue 41 of Oyez Review, and his writing has been published in Chicago Quarterly Review.