ANNOUNCEMENT | The Alchemy of Sorrow

A while ago, Virginia McClain messaged me. “I have a story,” she said. “Would you take a look at it?” One thing turned into another, and soon we were throwing around an idea about an anthology that addresses grief and healing. I reasoned, with COVID going on, and just life in general, a lot of people have lost a lot of things, and I think maybe having an anthology that addresses the emotions behind grief and healing could be extremely cathartic at a time like this.

So, things started rolling. Virginia, when she gets going, is kind of like a freight train. She just GOES. The woman is a powerhouse of activity. Soon She had a Discord server set up, authors involved, and the whole thing. I agreed to edit it, and I sort of just sat back and watched a lot of it happen. As an editor, I’m never really sure how involved people want me to be in stuff like this (and for a while, I was just waiting for stories), but I passionately believe in it and I’ve been watching the authors collaborate and bounce ideas off each other in this Discord server for months. It’s been really neat watching the wheels of creativity start moving, and seeing how people working together can create such diverse, incredible art.

I’ve started editing all of the stories I’ve been given so far (which is most of them) and one thing I can say at this point is that each author is addressing the topic in a completely different, unexpected way. It’s interesting to see how you can hand a room full of people a theme, and they all take it and run in different directions. I also think this might be the anthology’s greatest strength.

The fact of the matter is, off the top of my head I can only think of a handful of authors who have addressed the depth, texture, nuances, and personal experiences associated with grief and healing head-on. It’s one of those human experiences that we all deal with, but none of us really like to dig into it and explore the terrain. At least, not in public. Grief is usually a private thing. It’s hard to talk about. Hard to come to grips with. How we grieve is intensely personal. It’s a mysterious, unexplored ocean surrounded by fog. We speak of it in whispers.

Writing stories based on this theme is a certain, graceful act of vulnerability on the authors’ part, and I have overwhelming respect for each of them for doing so. More, how each author addresses the theme in their own way is true to the human experience. No two people grieve the same, and so the diversity of stories, narrative voices, topical exploration, and the like is a strength because it’s so true to the vastness of the human experience.

I’m honored to be editing this anthology. I’m honored these authors have trusted me with their work.

Check out the kickstarter here, where you can find project details, information about stories and authors, artwork, and more.