A Literary Magazine of and about the Heart of the California Desert
Now accepting submissions in all genres: poetry, fiction, essays, articles, interviews....for issue #3 to be published March 21 (spring 2009 equinox.) Please submit work that reflects the essence of the desert: particularly, but not limited to the California desert region.
We especially like writing that transcends the everyday with mystique desert visions induced in such activities as UFO sighting; speaking up and taking a brave stand against the corpo-terrors of proposed windmill and solar panel farms, mega-watt voltage lines (as if we need more - the desert is already maligned with them,) and toxic and urban landfills that threaten some of the last sacredness and spiritual purity of what is left in California's southeasternmost wedge; the alt-magic occurring in the vibrations of middle of nowhere raves, in the loneliness of a desert refugee, in the bravery of the art of disappearing into the desert...most of all: what can you tell us without telling? What shadows comprise the heart of your "desert" love and "experiences" and "spiritual renewal" or "country-club-loving, Mojave and Western Colorado/Sonoran Desert sunrise magic?"
That is what we are looking for, here at "The Seed." What you can write about by not-telling, not selling-out, not-telling people when you find an amazing hot springs on a gun-shooting outing with an ex-Army ranger who later becomes your boyfriend; when you find sleeping circles in a place far off any map; when you actually live in some crude, ramshackle old homesteader's shack lacking plumbing and floorboards, in a remote area where old hippies sip peyote tea 24/7 and long-subdued members of the Manson family stop by with bags of oranges en route to cultivating their small marijuana crops in little canyons spilling from the coastal mountain ranges, whose locales I shall never name, when you live sans A/C in your house or car and just take naps in the hot part of the day....
So, to all you new "desert lovers" - more advice on your Phantom Seed submissions from this "indigenous-gangsta" desert girl who grew up hiking places like Rattlesnake Canyon and chillin' at Cock Rock, watering a lone juniper out near the Lucerne Valley cutoff (dirt road 20 miles from "town,) with her little baby in a backpack; working the fire crews to protect immensely imaginative crags of brittle mountain near Slash X Ranch - back when the desert wasn't yet "in vogue," wasn't yet picture smeared (think: "the Joshua Tree album by U2) across album covers, mass produced in advertising campaigns and trashed during major film-making (which, to be honest, began way back in the 20's with silent movies and, epitomically, Cecile B. De Mille's "Old Testatement" movie, even before my time, though we all believed it was Israel....).....and now, with the Internet.....way too easy to figure it all out! So, that's what WE WOULD LOVE FOR YOUR WRITING to be about, for the Seed: bring on your best work and get real about writing the landscape you think you wanna love (woo your supposed crush) and call your own.
Do it well: with top-notch writing and select words that an only come from the random desert experiences such as hugging creosotes after the rare rain, doing something bad like burying a few obsidian arrowheads so that the obvious petroglyph-thieves in a sadly neglected BLM archaological site don't get ahold of those, too...getting stuck 40 miles off-road near some unmapped volcanic plug far, far from Barstow on a cold February day and....walking that 40 miles when the distributor cap on your '72 Toyota dies out and flagging down some guy close to midnight on the closest entrance to the I-40 who wants to take you to a cheap Hinkley hotel (sorry, can't go there)....help clean up myriad meth-lab remains while on fire patrol in places NOT protected by the loving little wedge of the ever-precious and immensely "cell phone safe" designer Joshua Tree Park and surrounding hamlets of trendy, Sedona-in-the-making Joshua Tree, 29 Palms, Yucca. Well, it could all go in 2012, or if firearms are once allowed, loaded and concealed, in the Park, or if the smog gets too bad, or the rock climbers go on strike but....it's pretty good for now, albeit all the darknesses on the fringe...
I challenge you. Be real. Write about what you are really doing, seeing, thinking out here. If you are manifesting the California desert to fulfill your inner search dreams, you aren't the first. Others have come to mine its gold, seek its austere God-gaze - nothing quite like it to set your spirits right and wash your urban sins away. If you are here to make a buck, yada yoo ha. Write about it! If you're manufacturing, perhaps use a peusdonym, but we want your story! If you want to come clean about shotgunning a covey of raven, this is the place to do it. Did you drive your car today, say, from Palm Springs to Victorville, to shop up there at Home Depot for the best deal on your new "energy saving" solar panel that you'll install in the Morongo cabin? Write about it! If you are involved in desert activism, i.e., "Stop the proposed ower lines across Anza Borrego," or "Green Path....Isn't," or if you were at the Pappy & Harriet's music fest fundraiser to stop Eagle Mountain Dump, good for you - treat yourself by seeing swanky NYC-snooty art exhibits at the Palm Springs Museum (well, we used to have a desert exhibit, but with all the mid-century architecture here, ahem, that doesn't suit our needs, we need "real" art for "educated" people).....but above all, remember that "the desert is OK - you are OK. It will be here long after the human sillinesses rise and fade. There is a silver lining, after all, to life in the land of the enduring and brutal sun.....and stories galore that need to be written to make it all the much richer....
Take the bold approach. Pretend that the desert is ALL that you have, that manifest destiny did NOT bring you here, that this is everything, no going back, there is no Jersey shore or Michigan lake-safety, and all you have left in your tiny human-ness measured meekly against this austere and centuries-old homeland of the timbisha shoshonee, chemehuevi, cahuilla, kumeyaay, serrano, halchidon, paiute, mojave, and many other indigenous peoples who were smart enough to learn to live at one with the land (that is, with utmost respect for the powers that be in those volcanoes and in those sandy wastelands, knowing the waterholes and not giving 'em away for golf) long before the desert was a fashion statement, a blank screen for Hollywood, proving grounds for the US military and Ford Corp and Nuclear Warheads, United, and lately, the giant maw of the Enron-inspired, desert-whoring energy-corps, old-school president style (yeah, it's almost over! Just a few more weeks.)
From Your Editor
HOW TO SUBMIT
Email submissions preferred: include your name, contact information (email, phone, address) on each and every page of your submission. Please submit as attached document or copied/pasted into the body of your email. Subject line: Submission - Phantom Seed. Submit to:
firstname.lastname@example.org OR land address: Ruth Nolan/76530 California DR, Palm Desert, CA 92211. We regret that submissions cannot be returned. EMAIL SUBMISSIONS ARE PREFERRED. Thanks.
Phantom Seed, Issue #1 available for $5 per copy; Issue #2 (Sept 21 issue) also available. Contact editor at above email. Upcoming issues soon to be available at venues throughout the California desert., including Borders, Barnes and Noble and amazon.com
Phantom Seed Issue #2 has been a PHENOMENAL hit! Please submit your work and partake of this amazing and successful desert literary venture. We had full-house readings October 4th at the Riverside, CA library and on Oct 27 at the Palm Springs, CA library. Thanks to EVERYONE who contributed their wonderful works!
Next Phantom Seed Reading: Pasadena Library, Catalina Branch - hosted by Don Kingfisher Campbell. Saturday, January 31. We will have another reading at the Gypsy Den in Costa Mesa this winter and at California State University, San Bernardino. Check my blog again in early to mid-January for more information.
Editor: Ruth Nolan, M.A., College of the Desert professor, anthology and book editor/publisher, and author of: Negotiating With Testosterone (1995, Northern Arizona University;) Wild Wash Road (1996) and Dry Waterfall (2008) (Petroglyph Books.) From age 13 on, after exile from southern California's "Inland Empire," Ruth grew up in the Mojave Desert, worked for the BLM as a helicopter hotshot and engine crew firefighter in the California Desert District, and has extensively hiked, traveled, and embraced the essence of her desert homeland. (hey, it's better than San Bernardino.)