Editor’s Letter: Writing Across Experiences

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Dear Readers,

We are finding a lovely little groove here at The Relationship Blogger. This allows us to set higher goals, both for payment of artists and for what is offered on this site. 

When talks began between Raymond and me about rebooting TRB from a white, male-centric relationship blog into a diverse platform exploring relationships, mental health and their intersections, one question we asked was “blog or magazine?” Ultimately, we decided to let growth dictate our direction.

Since March we have had a consistent mix of literary essays, prose and poetry as well as as informative articles and intimate blog posts. Yesterday, after reviewing the brilliant mix of pieces queued for September, we revisited that initial question and laid plans in line with our original idea: The Relationship Blogger isn’t going anywhere, but we are going to provide a dedicated space for literary pieces through a yet-to-be-titled sister magazine.

Title suggestions? Put them in comments.

What does this mean? It means we want to continue with our growth by publishing both familiar, informative pieces while deepening the conversations we are already having through new artistic expression. To that end, our call for submissions has been updated with more in-depth prompts for the next three months.

October: Rape Culture. We want men to speak up and tell us what this is, what it does, how you are working against it, how it affects you daily, how it affects your parenting, and more. We want women and non-binary folks to speak up as well. All voices are welcome, but it is time for men to take responsibility and be the change.

Additionally, we want to recognize men who refuse to play the role of predator, who stand against the cultural norm even when it is uncomfortable or feels unfair. We invite all voices to share the hardships for men (interacting with others’ children at the playground, being suspect of harboring sexual intent when offering friendship and more). There are true challenges to presenting masculinity. We hope you understand this to be directly, causally related to the realities of rape culture and that you will give this theme due consideration as you submit your ideas.

November: Sex Industry, Sex Workers and Sex. We want to know how to make sex better, what you’ve tried, why and how it impacts your mental well-being. We want to know about disabilities and sex. We want to know what sex you are having and what sex you aren’t. We want work on all types of couplings and triplings and quadruplings.

Of special interest are diverse voices representing survivorship, LGBTQIA+ issues, male-identified voices, gender transition and people of color. We recognize that TRB needs to grow in these areas for broader conversations to take place.

December: Neglect. Childhood abuse. Violence, neglect and survivorship are deeply meaningful topics to the TRB staff. We want voices of solo moms, solo dads, solo kids who latch-keyed their way through life. We want to know what you are doing to put food on the table, how you survived and what/how you are still surviving. We want you to know that we see you, we hear you, and we want to help you be witnessed.

We are also excited to be raising funds for a charity local to The Relationship Blogger headquarters in the UK, and which played a critical role in who Raymond (your eponymous blogger) has become as well as how his mission for this site developed. Find more information about that on our submissions page as well!

September not only presents us with new directions, it offers new voices. Each month we have called on writers of color to join the conversation. This month, our percentage of writers of color begins to approach one half the total number of writers. This shift is critical for us. The community of color is vastly underrepresented in media. Just as we seek to raise the microphone to queer voices, we seek to amplify our sisters, brothers and others of color in the ways long overdue.

Finally, we are delighted to announce visual changes to TRB. Just as this site began with the cis-gendered, heterosexual, white male in mind, images used here have reflected that view of women. Not only will we be working to reflect more diversity in relationships, couplings, race and gender, we will also be going back through the images currently on the site which objectify and commodify women in order to align our visuals with our vision.

Ultimately, TRB whether blog or magazine, seeks to lean into social justice as we explore the intersections of relationships and mental health. We hope you’ll join us in celebrating diversity through writing this month.

Your TRB Editor,

Shawna

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Shawna Ayoub Ainslie is a mental wellness advocate and writing coach in Bloomington, IN. Her work has recently appeared in Role Reboot, The Manifest-Station, Huffington Post and On the Verge Magazine. You can find her most regularly on The Honeyed Quill.

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