LIT Will Find a Way

A message about Arkana‘s place in the literary landscape.

by Liz Larson, Fiction Reader

Do trees communicate with each other?
Surprisingly, the answer is yes.
Forest ecologist Dr Suzanne Simard, studies a type of fungi that forms underground communication networks between trees in North American forests.
Big old trees — dubbed ‘mother trees’ — are hubs in this mycorrhizal fungal network, playing a key role in supporting other trees in the forest, especially their offspring.
“If you’re a mother and you have children, you recognize your children and you treat them in certain ways. We’re finding that trees will do the same thing. They’ll adjust their behavior to make room for their own kin and they send those signals through mycorrhizal networks,” says Simard.
“So when a seedling establishes on the forest floor, if it’s near one of these mother trees it just links into that network and accesses that huge resource network.”
Fungal networks don’t just operate between related trees, but also between trees of different species in the same native community, says Simard.

What’s the point of starting another literary journal?  Why do we do Arkana? What is it about this persistence, these bits of words that sprout up like seedlings in the shadow of old trees?

The literary economy is tenuous, poorly mapped, and yet diverse in spite of itself. Ask any journal out there right now and you can bet they will tell you it’s a constant scrounge and shout out for monies. All the economies (gift economy, shared economy and capitalism) vie for dollars in rough terrain. No one pays you to write, right?

The last twenty years of literary journal machinations have been fraught and fair peckish with arguments regarding print journals versus online journals. The general fuss, while colorful, has been rich in misperception regarding quality and curb appeal, funding, and staying power. And yet here we are, because Lit will find a way…

We’ve had a lot to compost over the last couple of decades as we digest our ability to adapt. But, bottom line, online journals make good economic sense. They are nimble. They can reach a broader, more diverse audience. Work, as it happens, doesn’t actually disappear down the rabbit hole. (There have been countless reminders and cautionary tales about what you post never going away.) Online journals also don’t negate print journals. We love our print brothers and sisters!

The great news is good writing does happen online. At Arkana, our roots run deep and we are keen to embrace the mystery of our connections. We hope that being an online presence will allow us to connect to others as we discover little synchronicities everywhere and delve into what it means to be the ‘Big Picture Us’.

How are we doing this?  Arkana strives to embrace ambiguity even if that is an uncomfortable place to inhabit. We are open to the ‘Other’, the overlooked, and the strands of diversity that economics creates, calibrates, and often pushes aside.  By becoming a hub for all seedlings, emerging writers and artists will have a rich and supportive space in which to work. Established authors and artists can reach new audiences and share connections as well.

Arkana will be able to reach a broader more diverse audience with its online presence.  Beginning an online journal is to tap into a network that has been there all along, often out of sight or underground. Much like the mycelia that connect the Wood Wide Web, The Arkana strives to explore our connections and intersectionalities. We may discover that we are more connected more interdependent than ever imagined in the pre-digital age. And one day soon we hope to be a ‘Mother Tree’, a hub that interconnects with all others.

How do you connect with Arkana? How do you grow with us and, reciprocally, help us grow?  Submit. Submit. Submit.  Then after you have hit that submit button, tell your friends that you did and where you did.  Use your own wonderful complex hyphae network and spread the word about Arkana.  C’mon, it’ll be fun-gal!!!

Liz Larson is a first year candidate in the Arkansas Writers MFA Workshop and is so cool she can fall down an embankment without hospitalization. She is all about beginnings and never being too old to take on the adventure of the New.

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