• Allie McFarland

On Reflections at the End of the Decade

With everyone off work and school for the holidays and the beginning of a new year—and new decade!—a lot of people have been posting about their wins for the previous year or ten years. And that’s awesome! For us at The ALP, we are super excited that we just launched antilang. no. 5: Pithy Politics and are set to launch soundbite vol. 4 and antilang. no. 6: Abrupt Environments in the next few months. Our readership, contributors, and submitters have grown with each issue, and every issue we launch is our new fave. Looking back allows us, and others, to take stock of all the amazing things we have accomplished, and doing this helps remind us that the days spent banging our heads on desks and shouting in frustration are all worth it.

However, we also know that taking stock like this, and seeing other people celebrate themselves, can lead to other, less helpful comparisons. Other people were able to finish a big writing project or got a book deal or more than one book deal or actually launched a book or did readings across the country or whatever else. And we all want to be good people who are happy for others’ successes, but sometimes, it’s pretty easy to negatively compare yourself and your (writing) progress to others’. This is all part and parcel of living in contemporary Western society. We all want more, and we’ve been conditioned to think of successes and failures in terms of competitions with others.

To cast off this thinking is difficult, but we feel that one of the most effective ways of doing so is to surround yourself with community—with the very community you (sometimes) feel you’re in competition with. For us, that means we build friendships with other writers and editors—we go to their readings and launches and share their blog posts, and they do the same for us. Through these actions, we take care of each other, and in taking care, we can also take pride in others’ accomplishments. Their success becomes our success—we are grateful to know them and their creative works. We are grateful to have meaningful conversations about craft or editing or the publishing industry, but also about our personal lives—our day jobs or favourite TV shows or pets. And this is one of the reasons why we are so happy about our latest addition the The ALP: Good. Short. Reviews. We’ve already posted some on our blog, and will be continuing to do more, as it’s another way that we can celebrate the little books with big impact.

So, we want to start the next decade with a huge thank you to everyone we’ve met through The ALP or other writing endeavours, and we want to urge our supporters to remember to take pleasure in the small connections in the years to come. These are what make our works meaningful, and what gives our lives colour, even as we struggle with our own creative pieces. Take time to celebrate yourselves and your wins—you deserve it! But also take the time to celebrate your community. We love you all. Happy 2020—let’s see where we go from here!

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