Call for Pitches: Geez 34, Life Offline

Byron’s Knee, Hyde Park, London, U.K. Credit: (Creative Commons) flickr.com/photos/takomabibelot/3395627474

Deadline for pitches: February 6, 2014

The next issue of Geez explores the radical potential and surprising refreshment found in life offline. In the blink of a decade, half of our attention was swallowed by screens. Even thoughtful people have been sucked away from each other and thrust into the faces of gadgets.

A quick admission of complicity
We need computers. Here at Geez, for example, we get subscriptions through the internet, take orders through credit card companies, use Google for research and exploit Facebook for promo.

But those are concessions.
Are we not still sentient and sensible creatures that touch each other with pleasure, that care for and eat from our surroundings? In this iWorld and eCentury there’s still a need for contrarians. (If Wendell Berry were coming of age today, would he still be a farmer with a typewriter? Or would he be a bike courier with a backyard garden and an old PC running open-source software? Hint for writers: can you write that story? Convince us and we’ll assign it.)

With the next issue we consider the power of a physical anchor when tossed about in a virtual world.

Ideas to get you thinking about your pitch:

1. Print is dethroned by electronic rebels; how did it happen, what dark forces loom, if any?

2. How about this argument: those engulfed by the electronic world are slaves to the mantra of convenience; automation has made them (us?) into automatons. Agree? Disagree? Discuss, explain.

3. In the “cult of the new” (which is the genius of capitalism) novelty is fleeting as pixels on a screen. Perhaps a better guide for the future is an elder medium such as print. It is rugged and soft at the same time. It’s patient and demanding.

4. Our ability to focus and pay attention is waning (isn’t it?). Why is this and what can we do? How will our quality of life increase if we do only one measly thing at a time?

5. Document the pseudo nature of eco claims; the energy drain needs plugging; the power grid is far from green.

6. We are more than data readers. The information age has almost convinced us that to know is to act. But that’s a lie. Shouldn’t we be doing something? Knowledge needs application, no?

7. Is it enough to watch the world from cameras? Isn’t it weird to track the weather outside your door from a computer in your room? How to reconnect, who’s leading the way?

8. Re-discover the ubiquitous truth in moderation; what does ancient wisdom say about the middle way and how should it apply to our situation today?

9. Computers and screens have snuck into our sanctuaries under the pretense of enhancing our worship experience. Maybe it’s time to send back the Trojan horse.

10. After a Facebook fast comes a full-blown Electronic Sabbath – go without internet, television and phones for a full day every week. Is it possible? Tell us what you or your family did.

11. What spiritual wisdom is to be gained from life offline? I wish we didn’t have to ask this.

Note: In a great pitch, you describe the story, explain how it’s a perfect fit for Geez, list the sources you’ll consult, and state why you’re the best person to write it.

Submissions
1. Longer non-fiction pieces, length: 750 or 1500 words
We’re looking for creative nonfiction essays, investigative articles or research-based pieces on the topic above. While a reference to your personal experience is welcome, readers need wisdom from other sources as well (interviews, books, articles, theologians, social-justice activists, academics and moms and dads). Pitches should be one page, touch on the wider context of your topic and name at least one other source you will be consulting. Here’s a request: Please think of yourself as a Geez contributing editor. Ask yourself, What would readers who are social-justice oriented and at the fringes of faith want to read on this topic? If your pitch is accepted you’ll usually have 2 or 3 weeks to complete the piece.

2. Flash non-fiction, length: 50-350 words
These are short, personal experiences or insights. Your piece should capture a moment that illuminates a larger issue or convey a feeling familiar to us all. This is a chance to bring hope, insight, emotion and connection to readers. Think of it as a snapshot with words.

3. Photos
Consider the topic above and send original photographs (i.e. you took the photo) that provoke or pacify, animate or incite. And, if you know of a photographer who can deliver an awesome photo essay and is willing to get big play in a premium little magazine for a modest honorarium, please pass this pitch along.

Tips for pitches
The Geez project is a discussion among people of faith seeking social justice. Our readers and writers express this through art, activism (a creative critique of those in power and the structures that keep them there, the promotion of alternative practices that subvert such powers), contemplation and a “more-grounded, interconnected” approach to living.

Additional info
Before pitching, please read our guidelines for writers here.

The most up-to-date information on upcoming issues is available here .

Ideally we would like to respond personally to every piece of correspondence we receive. But given the number of submissions we receive – and having tried to respond to all – we realize it is just not possible. If you do not hear back from us within six weeks assume that we were unable to use your submission.

Deadline for pitches: February 6, 2014
Approximate deadline for articles (if assigned): February 28, 2014

Send pitches, manuscripts and images to
Geez Editor, Aiden Enns
email: stories [at] geezmagazine [dot] org
mail: Geez Magazine
400 Edmonton Street
Winnipeg MB R3B 2M2
CANADA

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