The Journal of Eclectic Writing

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agriculture arable barley blur
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I placed third in Grain’s Short Grain contest last year. Grain is titled “The Journal of Eclectic Writing”, and I started to wonder if my writing is, indeed, eclectic. I think it’s a compliment. I subscribe to this literary magazine, and read it more than any other. Eclectic eh… I love it.

The story I wrote, titled “Titan Arum” is about a bearded Chinese girl who is transacted after she comes to Canada, but hears of a corpse flower that blooms every twelve years at the Toronto Zoo. Eventually, after she frees herself, she finds her way to that flower. It’s only 2500 words long, but it covers a lot of ground.

I took a chance on this story. It’s not about my life. It’s not about the life of anyone I know. It’s bleak and terrible in some ways, but I felt the story right in my bones. And it ends with hope, shining burning living hope. Life is like that sometimes.

You have to be true to your voice, whatever that is. I’m glad I took the risk. Now I wonder about what other risks I will take. How much further I can push into territories that, for me, are uncharted.

Being recognized by Grain quite changed how I look at my writing. I never expected anyone to want to publish me. I’m still amazed. But I’m also cognizant that I can lift the bar on the stories I tell even further. I’m sure we all can. I’m very grateful to Grain for giving a Brown immigrant a voice.

But my point is that Grain’s Short Grain contest is open just now, 2500 word short stories (similar to CBC’s Short Story Contest), due by April 1. There is a submission fee of $25. If you’ve got stories kicking around, or developing in your head, and the word ‘eclectic’ does something to you when you hear it, please consider submitting.

Dream hard, rage hard.

10 thoughts on “The Journal of Eclectic Writing

  1. You are most certainly eclectic in your writing. It’s one of the wonderful things — one never knows what one gets with a Trent Lewin story.

  2. Eclectic is the perfect way to describe your writing, in my humble opinion. It would be very hard to pigeon hole you. I love that you can still make me laugh, cry and be surprised every time. It is no surprise that they want to publish your work. You were meant to be published and shared with the world.

    1. I think being hard to be pigeon-hold is exactly why I struggle with the publishing world. I cross genres maybe a bit too much, and end up being outside of them. But that’s where my heart is, in the lines that cross between the silos.

  3. You may be eclectic, Trent, but then again you may not. I myself have no idea. I’m not sure what that word means, and even if I did, I’d bet you could ask 10 people and get 10 different defintions. I find your stories to be magical and unique. By magical, I think I mean they don’t obey any laws or follow any rules, and anything can happen. And by unique I mean no one else could write them the way you do. So if that’s eclectic, then yes, you’re eclectic. Either way, you keep doin’ you, as the kids say.

    1. I totally agree. Very subjective term but I think I like it. And I don’t really like very much. Such a rules of writing and the like, they rather stink up the place. Will keep on it, Walt. What about you, my friend? Any new projects going on?

      1. Yes, just finishing up some projects, actually. I wrote a chapter for a textbook on marriage and family therapy that will be published this summer — that was a lot of work but will be very cool to see when it comes out. Now I’m finishing up my capstone project for grad school and looking forward to being done with academic writing for awhile.

        1. That is so cool! I’ve written chapters for textbooks before, and my share of peer-reviewed journal articles, they are an amazing amount of work compared to throwing some fiction at the screen. Good on you, Walt! After the academic writing is done, will you get back into some fiction perhaps?

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