Breadcrumbs from the Void #40 The “Prefect Ten”- Ed Jessup | Alex Schumacher | Weekly Column

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August has arrived. This year is officially past the half-way mark. The Earth’s temperature continues to increase as the aggregate intellect of the human race continues to plummet. Luckily for you nonplussed dumb-shits there is another installment of Bread Crumbs from the Void ready for consumption to guide you on your path to mediocrity. Slather on the mint jelly and open wide, kids. The segment you are poised to endure is packed with supplementary girth to ensure your inquiring orifices are filled to capacity.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind all six of you who continue to subject yourselves to my particular brand of edifying filth here at Bread Crumbs from the Void that I make absolutely no claim to possess all of the answers. It is in this spirit that I invite the occasional outside opinion, such as with today’s “Prefect Ten”! In the event your reality television or porn addled brains have already forgotten, the “Prefect Ten” is a new series where I pose ten questions to established editors/publishers whom I respect and admire. With this in mind, meticulously study the answers presented to you herein. Inscribe the messages on your hearts and genitals as to never be forgotten. Shudder before the almighty, heathens!

Now it is my privilege to present the intransigent and forthright Ed Jessup.

Q & A

1. Talk about your motivation/inspiration for founding The Round Up Zine.

So back in 2013 I believe it was, I was trying to submit my own work to various zines and lit mags and getting a whole bunch of rejections, which was frustrating, but I know that comes with the territory. The issue I was having was that I know that my writing can be a little esoteric/offensive and lead some people to deem it as trash, but I know that there is a market for people who really love darker and edgier writing. So, I had a conversation with a friend and then coworker of mine, named Angelina Lim, who is also a writer, focusing more on poetry, and we decided that together we could come up with an interesting concept for a zine that welcomes and encourages edgier writing, letting people explore their dark side without feeling ashamed about it, or less literary because of it.

2. What interested you in becoming a part of the literary community or, in your case, rebelling against it?

Well, aside from the few rejections I received, when submitting works that I really loved and felt could be of reading pleasure to someone besides myself, I really wanted to foster an environment where writers could feel free to be as gritty, snarky and raw as they wanted. I’ve noticed in the “proper” literary world there are unspoken rules and guidelines one should follow in order to be taken seriously and I think when it comes to art there really shouldn’t be any serious rules because that is what holds back progress and expression. Just because someone writes something pretentious doesn’t mean that it’s good or that people want to read it.

3. The Round Up Zine calls for “gritty, raw, transgressive and, most of all, interesting and intriguing” work. What is it that draws you to a submission?

Any works containing characters with flaws or characters that behave in a manner that is considered degenerate I want to know about. I love writing that deals with substance abuse or crossing moral boundaries. Anything that explores sociopathic behavior fascinates me as well as entertains. I love reading submissions about people living on the margins of our society. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right?

4. What is the scope of work that The Round Up Zine publishes?

So initially, the Round Up was open to only short stories and poetry, but I have received interest from people wanting to submit things like artwork, images and comics too. I’ve never canceled out the idea of artwork and comics, but in the beginning we only focused primarily on shorts and poems. Now, I have actively started seeking out things like comics, photography and other types of image related materials as well. I think it makes the zine more interesting, so that will become an increasingly more fine-tuned part of the mag.

5. What are a few of your submission pet peeves?

One of my biggest pet peeves is people who don’t attach their submissions, like I ask in the call. Fonts and stuff like that are not so important, but I hate text submissions in PDF and I loathe when people paste the submission within the text of an email. That doesn’t mean I won’t read it, but if it’s down to the wire to pick final submissions and the directions haven’t been remotely followed, I tend to not entertain those submissions.

  1. Another submission pet peeve is when someone sends a submission and then constantly hounds me, wanting to know the status. I understand that their work is important to them and I should handle it with care and be polite, but the Round Up is essentially me and sometimes Angelina, so sometimes it just takes a while as I have a life and a career to tend to outside of my beloved zine as well. Generally people are pretty polite and follow the submission directions. I know that people are excited to have their work shown off somewhere so I try to treat everybody respectfully.
  2.  Another submission pet peeve is when someone sends a submission and then constantly hounds me, wanting to know the status. I understand that their work is important to them and I should handle it with care and be polite, but the Round Up is essentially me and sometimes Angelina, so sometimes it just takes a while as I have a life and a career to tend to outside of my beloved zine as well. Generally people are pretty polite and follow the submission directions. I know that people are excited to have their work shown off somewhere so I try to treat everybody respectfully

6. Give an example (or two) of how not to respond to a rejection.

I hate rejection as much as everyone else, so when I reject a piece I try to be really polite. Just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean it’s not good. Any type of artistic expression, including writing, is very subjective, so who am I to say it is not good? I’ve gotten responses regarding pieces I’ve submitted saying things like, “Sorry bud, not this time!” or responses trying to school me on a style of writing that they are looking for, that I’m not giving them. All of that is so unnecessary. If a style doesn’t fit what an editor is looking for and changes can be made, great! Otherwise, a short and simple response thanking the writer for the submission of their hard work is appropriate, even if it isn’t going to be run. Everybody has their own style and there is no need to be abrupt or rude.

 

7. Does a writer/artist need any previous credits for their work to be considered?

Absolutely no previous credits are necessary to be considered at for the Round Up. In fact, I love being able to provide a home for newer writers and those who haven’t been published. Basically all are welcome.

 

8. What do you see for the future of The Round Up Zine?

What I love about the Round Up is that the opportunities to create and show off a community of lesser heard artists and writers is that I can change and expand it as I see a need. I would love to offer more issues with specific themes. We just released our 2nd issue devoted to flash fiction. I’m thinking of doing a theme called “Pimps, Pushers, Hoes and Hustlers” to see what kind of submissions we can drum up with that. I also would love to do an issue just involving photos. I’ve stopped holding myself to a strict publishing timeline as I have found it’s better to put out quality than quantity, so you may have noticed less issues but I really think they have gotten better.

9. What advice would you offer to aspiring writers/artists seeking publication?

My advice is don’t take things to personally. There are a lot of creative people out there that want their work published too, so it’s not always the instant gratification scenario that we all are seeking. Also, there are so many different ways to publish you work now, like self-publishing, blogs, online portfolios, indie-publishers, etc. We are no longer at the mercy of larger publishers and if you want your work out there, you can find a way.

10. Who are a few of your favorite writers/artists and why?

  1. One of my favorite writers is an author named Luis Blasini and I’ve been lucky enough to have him submit to my zine multiple times through writing and even his personal collection of photos. Luis is an interesting character with an awesome sense of humor. His life has taken him all over, most notably the slums of Tijuana and Juarez. He’s met a lot of fascinating people and has been in real life scenarios that most of us will never be in and what’s more, is he has the gourds to put them down on paper. He’s published a bunch of books and he also authors an amazing blog called Borrowed Flesh. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s raw and honest. I recommend it highly.
  2. Another writer I love and has unfortunately passed too soon is E. Lynn Harris. He has written fascinating, passionate and almost soap operatic stories, often dealing with the experience of the black gay male, though he has written from a variety of perspectives. I have gotten lost in many of his novels.
  3. Another artist I admire is Nomi Ruiz. She is talented artist from Brooklyn, NY who happens to be trans, so her creativity comes from a unique and interesting point of view that I think we all need to pay attention to. She created an awesome installation piece that went with the release of her album Borough Gypsy while she was a resident artist at the Clock Tower in Brooklyn and I also love her work as her alias Jessica 6. Nomi is a terrific lyricist and her style of music can go from dark, reflective and moody to upbeat and electronica based. She has a lot to offer and if you ever have the opportunity to see her live, she is mesmerizing, way better than the garbage we are subjected to on pop radio. She is a very faceted artist.

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Ed Jessup is a librarian, writer and communication arts enthusiast. He likes reading true crime, urban fiction and occasionally classes it up with a sociology book. His hobbies include eating, drinking and making stuff up on a Word doc. He enjoys weekends at the Jersey Shore, spending time with family, his partner and his cat.

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I do so love the smell of transgression in the morning. My unwavering reverence to Ed for knocking this out in such short order!

As always, if you would like to hear me elaborate a bit more on my own process, you can find links to a couple of interviews conducted recently with me on my website at: https://alexschumacherart.com/about/. Drop me a line from the contact page if you have any other questions, complaints, insults, or declarations of lust.

Bread Crumbs from the Void will return in two weeks with another thrilling edition of hard-nosed reality for you big-talkers and wannabes. Until next time, keep scribbling you freaks.

Stalk Alex online:

https://alexschumacherwriter.com/

alexschumacherwriter@gmail.com