Calling for pitches: Geez 25 Utopia

Geez 25 . . . Utopia

Your vision of the future — your dreams for a better world, your unspoken notion of utopia — informs your behaviour today, your conception of the sacred, your need to care for your neighbour.

So, let’s take a look at our notions of utopia. What visions of the future are helpful, illuminating, inspiring? What dreams of a better world can draw us out and lead us to act?

For writers who are Christian, consider the radicals who believe, like Gandhi did, that Jesus literally meant what he said in his sermon on the mount: blessed are those weep, those who are poor, those who are hungry. Here at Geez we would welcome an awesome 2,000-word article on this one Bible verse: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10) What is this “kingdom of heaven” that draws some into the face of persecution? Is the fullness of “heaven” here?

Cultural studies
For writers who pay attention to power dynamics, what is the prevailing notion of “the good life,” and how is this problematic for those with less power? What alternative dreams are taking shape? If you visit an Occupy Wall Street group, ask, What view of democracy/equality/inclusivity is behind this movement? For example, if you discover an eco-village, ask, What values are driving this community?

If regular school trains kids to succumb to authority and conform to the demands of the market (i.e. a good education leads to a high-paying job) then what does an alternative education look like? What manner of education can help kids and grown ups criticize power structures and explore creativity that defies market values, honours personal autonomy and yet fosters affinities among groups?

The list goes on . . .
Consider urban planning for a sustainable future; look at farming methods that can resist and survive the corporate takeover of agricluture; examine gender constructs that encompass the diversity of human experience. Utopic thinking is operative in each of these and other areas.

Bonus “flash non-fiction” section:
In 300 words or less, give us a graphic, gripping or gutsy account of your disillusionment with heaven. Have you abandoned an end-times-obsessed Christianity? Has a post-death crown of jewels lost its gleam? If you aren’t compelled by the sweet hereafter, what DO you find compelling? Explain and illustrate.

Help this issue of Geez uncover alternative visions, show why they’re helpful, and inspire readers with story telling and the fine art of persuasion.

Deadline for pitches: November 21, 2011
Deadline for articles (if assigned): January 3, 2012

Send pitches, manuscripts and images to Utopian editor, Aiden Enns
email: stories [at] geezmagazine [dot] org
mail: see the address below

Photos welcome
Consider the topic above and send original photographs (i.e. you took the photo) that provoke or pacify, animate or incite.
Deadline: same as above

Department pitches

A good way to start writing for Geez magazine is with a piece in one of our five departments. Send original stories or ideas for any of these:

In this section we throw the spotlight on the actors and activists in the Geez community of readers. Look for personal stories of people putting words into action. Grand experiments are welcome (I bought nothing for a year), but a well-told, mini-experiment is welcome as well (I stopped to help a homeless woman crush her pop tins). There does not have to be an overt reference to faith, although that is welcome.
Length: 50-500 words

This is a soft news, arts-and-culture section, with agenda similar to what’s described under News below. Here we highlight fun, disturbing, creative, inspiring things that would not otherwise fit as news. It does not have to relate to the theme of the issue, but it would be good if one or two elements did. An emphasis on public art and creative activism is prime. When making decisions, we refer to phrases such as “holy mischief in an age of fast faith,” and “for people on the fringes of faith.”
Length: 50-500 words

In this section we highlight movies, books, websites, magazines, zines or other cultural products that connect somehow to the “Geez agenda” (see topics mentioned under News below). Explain what cultural event or product makes you gag, wince, rejoice or exclaim.
Length: 50-500 words

Civil disobedience
People are standing up for their belief in love, justice, truth, mercy, compassion and fairness. When those in power take advantage of others, and when conventional avenues for change have been attempted or exhausted, it is appropriate to engage in civil disobedience, for the sake of liberation for all. Send a report of your action or others you’ve learned about.
Length: 50-500 words

Geez looks for under-reported stories on topics such as workers’ rights, nature, Aboriginal affairs, social services, education, health care, foreign policy, militarism and peacemaking, race/racism, youth, media, science, queer issues, feminism. In most cases, but not all, there will be a connection — direct or implied — to a gospel of social justice. This could include the justice/environmental/political work of any religious group. Or the story could point to neglect or misconduct done by churches and others.
Length: 50-500 words

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 (that is, a creative critique of those in power and the structures that keep them there; it could also be a promotion of alternative practices that subvert them), contemplation and a “more-grounded, inter-connected” approach to living.

Keep pitches brief, write the way you speak, tell us why your idea or story is important, indicate sources you plan to use, and say something about why you are qualified to write this piece. If you already have a completed manuscript, poem, photo or design, feel free to submit it as well. For more, see the previews of past issues as well as the guidelines for writers .

Unfortunately we are not able to respond to every pitch. If you do not hear from us within six weeks of the deadline, assume we were not able to use your idea or article.

Send emails to: stories [at] geezmagazine [dot] org

Looking ahead

We welcome pitches, especially ambitious/whacky/quirky ones for upcoming issues.

Geez 26 – stereotypes: they actually build community, or do they? Unfortunately, these negative social structures operate among us by default. What are they, what do we do about them? Ever been the victim of a stereotype? Tell us about it.

Geez 27 – worship and anarchy: how can we give ourselves over to something greater without sacrificing our autonomy? What’s most helpful for a community of resistance? Can we, should we, worship a heavenly king when the metaphor stinks of feudalism and tyranny? But grassroots alternatives are flat, uninspiring, no?

Geez 28 – the politics of leisure. Hey, we need a break. But isn’t leisure simply a capitalist construct? What about vacations, how can they be “responsible”? Can I justify my trip Florida/Europe/India by helping with the [insert disaster] for a day, or week? Eco-tourism, tourist missionaries, stay-cations and post-capitalist notions of fun. We welcome your ideas. (Note, some topics may change.)

Send emails to: stories [at] geezmagazine [dot] org

We look forward to hearing from you,

Aiden Enns, Editor
Geez magazine
400 Edmonton St
Winnipeg MB R3B 2M2
p. 204 772-9610

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