... to the blog-side of my new literary project, Melusine, or Woman in the 21st Century. The idea here (and I'll admit it's still very much in the idea stage) is a quarterly online journal that features art, essays, poetry, fiction, and possibly book, film, and music reviews as well. I want the project to include multiple genres because each of them can get at the problem from a different angle.
The problem in question is broad in scope, but it's one that's been so personal to me for so long that I just can't keep it to myself any longer.
I want to start a dialogue with other women -- and men, too, if they're similarly intrigued by these riddles, and let's hope they are -- in the hope that others have come up with a much richer picture than I have. The problem is that of the woman artist/thinker living in a world that doesn't know what to make of such a creature. The subtitle makes reference to my sense that not as much has changed on this score since the 19th century, the era of "the woman question," back when Margaret Fuller wrote her treatise, than one might think. Women have basic rights now, in most of the world, at least on paper, and in most modern industrialized nations (and a few brave non-industrialized ones) they even arguably have equality, in a material sense.
However, the idea of what a woman is and what her role should be, what her options are and the qualities she should possess -- these less tangible things are still being worked out in the everyday lives of women everywhere, and argued in the public sphere. It is still tough to be a woman and an artist, a woman and an intellectual, when so much more is expected on the "woman" side of that equation than what is expected of a male artist or a male intellectual.
No longer cloistered in an abbey or needing to choose between home and work in places like the U.S., the 21st century female artist and intellectual still has plenty to grapple with from a society that has, in some ways, only paid lip service to her equal opportunity for self-realization.
I'm also very interested in the experiences of women, especially women artists of any genre, who are struggling to create within societies who don't offer even that lip service to her right to self-expression.
So there's your topic. Think, write, paint, craft, photograph, and multimedia amongst yourselves. More details coming soon on a call for submissions, but (given, frankly, that I just missed a classified deadline for Poets & Writers), I expect the call to go out by early next year.
If anyone is reading this blog, however, and wants to express an early interest, I'd be thrilled to look at your stuff, and can probably get back to you within a 6-8 month window, although it may be a while before I can project a precise launch date when your work will be seeing the light of day. It will probably be sometime in early '09, which will mean beginning production at the time I finish my M.A. program and can devote my full energies to the first issue.
You can send submissions or inquiries within the body of an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading, and look forward to seeing your work!