Call for pitches: Geez 37, Fairly Happy

Picnic at the gates Credit: Patrick Hoesly (photo); Darryl Brown (illustration)

Deadline for pitches: October 6, 2014

How can we sit and clink glasses when people outside panhandle for coffee? Is pleasure forbidden for those who hunger for justice?

Is it fair to those that suffer when people of privilege take delight in comfort? Where is the balance between the despair of ultra-awareness and the bliss of obliviousness?

How have saints before us found happiness even while expressing concern for others? Can happiness — or perhaps joy — animate a community of resistance against oppression? How, why?

This is a call for pitches for stories, reflections, anecdotes, essays and arguments on the role of positive emotions for justice-minded communities.

We’re looking for ideas.
Maybe positive emotions are needed to sustain us for the struggle. Rosi Braidotti talks about the “necessity of affirmative feminist politics,” as “an act of faith in the conditions of possibility.”

What is a class analysis of happiness; for example, aren’t rich people happier? Well, only to a point, according to Iain Ferguson. He reports that increased wealth increases happiness only for the most impoverished among us. “Working class women were four times more likely to experience depression than middle class women,” he writes in reference to a study by Brown and Harris.

Perhaps unhappiness is needed. Sara Ahmed writes, “We must stay unhappy with this world.” In a context of discrimination, those who are persecuted can’t be all happy. “The unhappy queer is unhappy with the world that reads queers as unhappy,” she writes in The Promise of Happiness.

Can postmodern insights provide illumination? Maybe humans are “desiring machines,” as Deleuze and Guattari suggest in their ultra-dense book Anti-Oedipus. We’re connected to everything else; how does happiness (or love) follow from discovering this? Is that enlightenment, liberation? Can someone explain the relevance of Deleuze?

We’re looking for wisdom.
Ever seen a photo of the Dalai Lama? Why is he always smiling, even in the face of persecution? What is the secret of equanimity? When would Jesus smile? Surely fun can’t be confined to the leagues of hedonists and heathens. Or is that a spirituality worth seeking?

We’re looking for stories.
What makes you happy? When were you “surprised by joy”? When has the pursuit of happiness proved vain? What’s a better alternative? Is Oprah your electronic mentor? What’s she got that your average pastor fails to remember? Maybe sad endings give you hope? Explain.

We’re looking for practical advice.
What are your 10 Easy Steps To Inner Peace And Outer Mirth? Or, what rituals sustain you through trials and endeavours?

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 (see contact info and deadline below).


1. Longer non-fiction pieces, length: 750 or 1500 words
We’re looking for creative non-fiction 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 three to four 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/illustrations
Consider the topic above and send original photographs (i.e. you took the photo) or illustrations that provoke or pacify, animate or incite. Or, if you know of a photographer or illustrator who can deliver an awesome photo essay or series of drawings 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.
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: October 6, 2014

Approximate deadline for articles (if assigned): November 10, 2014

Send pitches, manuscripts and images to 

Geez editor, Aiden Enns

email: stories [at] geezmagazine [dot] org

Geez magazine

400 Edmonton Street

Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 2M2

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