I’ve had a literary crush on Fathom magazine for a long time and this summer I decided to do something about it.
First, I made it a goal to get something published on the internet before my birthday (which is tomorrow, Sep. 12). I pitched an article to a website where an online acquaintance had published a few pieces, which gave me confidence to give it a shot. They accepted, edited, and published that piece about a month ago.
But my true literary crush was on a magazine called Fathom. Listen to the way they describe themselves:
“We believe indulging our curiosity acts like a weight to pull us beyond the surface of our faith. More than just knowledge waits for us when we forsake the shallows. In fact, we will find out how little we know as we plunge deeper. In the depths we are shaped into Christians who embrace empathy, honor humility, desire intellectual integrity, laugh a lot, and believe in beauty. At least that’s the kind of Christian we hope to help cultivate with Fathom.”
Curiosity acts like a weight to pull us beyond the surface? I loved that image, I instantly loved the writing, and I loved the nautical imagery that informed the aesthetic and the language of the magazine (I mean, I am a Navigator for life, after all.) They publish everything I love–thoughtful essays, reviews, and commentary from a Christian perspective, as well as poetry, short stories, and really excellent interviews with Christian visual artists. I’ve been reading it for about a year and have spent some time online getting to know some of the people who write for it. I am hooked. (Fishing pun very much intended.)
Eventually–in honor of my birthday goal–I worked up my courage and pitched them an article for their issue on Image that came out today. I typed the pitch quickly, submitted it, and tried not to overthink it. It was out of my hands.
They wanted a full article but I was about to leave the land of the internet for a trip up north. Again, I wrote quickly, trying to get my draft in by the deadline, submitted it and tried to walk away without obsessing over it.
Then, just when I was about to give up on the piece thinking that my draft hadn’t lived up to my pitch or my own standards for myself, I got an email back from the editor saying they loved my piece AND wanted it to be the feature article for this month’s online magazine! I can’t for the life of me *fathom* why they chose my article as the feature, because the magazine is seriously packed with intelligent, creative, and deeply moving content by writers with far higher qualifications. I’m honored to be in such company. (Seriously, read the whole thing. You won’t be disappointed. Quality writing and important insights abound.)
In case you’re wondering, the thesis of my piece is that imitation doesn’t stifle our imagination but feeds it. We need images of people doing what we want to do, and we are endowed by our creator with the gift of imitation when we learn to imitate in love. It’s a natural process of discipleship that applies to the way babies learn to be adults, the way young Christians learn to mature in the faith, and I propose it also applies to aspiring creatives learning to produce original works of art.
What’s more, they were also willing to publish my latest poem, too, which actually means almost more to me. There is really no way to know if you’re actually achieving your goal of writing poetry until someone else reads it and recognizes it as poetry. Otherwise, you sort of feel like you’re just scribbling nonsense. To have a poem filed under the Poetry section of such a publication is a dream come true for me.
I’ve really enjoyed getting to work with a couple different editors and to watch my ideas be polished, improved, and given a place among good company. Thanks for reading and for cheering on this amateur. It means the world to me!