Homepage Summer 2018


“Submerged Treasure” by Kathy O’Meara.

Happy Summer and welcome to our July issue with the theme of “VESSELS,” featuring the wonderful artwork of Kathy O’Meara, from whom the theme for the issue was borrowed. We are all vessels, yes? And the things we carry are sometimes carried voluntarily, sometimes with love, sometimes heaped upon our straining backs. But carry our burdens we do, because what else is there to do?

We have some great work in this issue, including a fascinating essay on male loneliness, a clever story that addresses the (very) creative monsters many of us live with, and at least one first-time author. It’s a marvelous collection of work and the issue came together beautifully—and thank goodness, because frankly, life has been a little hectic here of late: the website was briefly hacked, my old computer was in its death throes and has now been replaced, and well, just the general pace of life which seems to be ramping up daily.

I’m sad to say that this will be the last issue for two of our wonderful staff members. Bev Jackson, our tireless SOS editor and Noa Sivan, an astute SOS reader are both leaving us to attend to their individual lives and various creative pursuits. We will miss them, but remain grateful for all the volunteer hours they freely gave to r.kv.r.y..

On a more personal note, I’ve been dealing with a gut-wrenching mental health crisis involving a member of my family and the process has reiterated what I already suspected: most of us either have a family member who struggles with some aspect of mental health, or we struggle ourselves. Whether it be anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, dementia, Attention Deficit Disorder, or any number of other hurdles in the mind, we’ve all been affected, some in multiple forms or from multiple sides. It’s pervasive, it’s very real, and not only do these sufferers walk among us, they ARE us.

So I dedicate this issue to all of you affected by mental disorders and/or mental illness. Keep at it. Keep going. It’s the best any of us can do.

And as always, thank you for reading.

Yours in Recovery,

Mary Akers
Editor-in-chief

Homepage Spring 2018


“Moving Through Space” by Jean Banas, acrylic on canvas, 46″ x 47″.

Happy Spring, Happy Easter, and Happy April Fool’s Day! I have to say, that’s quite a trifecta for this, our April 2018 issue, with the theme of “CAKE.” Why cake, you ask? I’m not sure, really, but it’s borrowed from a wonderful flash piece in this issue because after reading it I started to think about all the connotations behind the word. On the one hand, it’s a dismissal, an expression of ease (piece of cake, a cakewalk) when in fact making a cake is anything BUT easy, as anyone who bakes will tell you. But it’s also a decadence, a celebratory food to share on birthdays, weddings, graduations, retirements, you name it. If there’s cake, we’re celebrating. Unless, of course, the suggestion is to “Let them eat cake,” in which case it’s a symbol of the privileged upper class being laughably out of touch with the plight of the everyman. Basically, I’m a fan of any word with many angles, so CAKE it is. Come have a slice with us.

There’s quite a bit of wonderful work in this issue, from a diverse array of authors, including one first-time published author, a feat that always makes me a little bit proud. It’s a special type of joy to be someone’s first publication in part because I remember how great that first publication felt and also because being the first to recognize an emerging talent is getting the opportunity to introduce their work to the world. I like being an artistic conduit.

On a more personal note, I’ve been dealing recently with a gut-wrenching mental health crisis involving a member of my family. That has nothing in particular to do with this issue, of course … except it does, because our focus is on recovery and in the process of selecting work for each issue, I read many heartbreaking stories—some with happy endings, some with little or no resolution—and I’ve come to realize how pervasive this problem is. Everyone I know either has a family member who struggles with some aspect of mental health, or struggles themselves. Whether it be anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, dementia, or any number of other hurdles in the mind, we’ve all been affected, some in multiple forms or from multiple sides. It’s pervasive, it’s very real, and not only do these sufferers walk among us, they ARE us.

So I dedicate this issue to all of you affected by mental disorders and/or mental illness. Keep at it. Keep going. It’s the best any of us can do.

And as always, thank you for reading.

Yours in Recovery,

Mary Akers
Editor-in-chief

Homepage Winter 2018


“Slipping on Chippewa Street” by Pat Zalisko, Acrylic on canvas, 48″ x 88.”

Happy New Year! And welcome to our January 2018 issue with the theme of “UNSPOKEN.” Putting together this issue has been a wonderfully transformative experience and I’m thrilled to share the results with you.
But first, a personal story.

For most of 2017, I questioned whether or not I should keep publishing r.kv.r.y.—there was the smaller question of whether I had it in me to continue shouldering the workload that publishing a journal requires, but also the larger question of whether or not its existence made any sort of appreciable difference in the world. But I’m stubborn, so…partly to keep my own interest high and partly because I was behind in securing an illustrator, I decided to illustrate this issue by reusing artwork from previous issues. Another form of recovery, if you will, and a way to create more connections in an increasingly disconnected world. As I searched through past issues, it became clear how much wonderful work we have published in the past nine years and how many exceptional artists we have been able to feature. That in itself was encouraging—seeing the scope of what we have done. (Consider this your reminder to occasionally look behind and not only ahead when feeling discouraged.) It was also incredibly interesting to see the tendrils of connection that form between two pieces of writing with the same illustration. Fascinating! And inspiring, arriving at a time when I was greatly in need of inspiration.

So, dear readers, in order to share those fascinating connections with you, I have added a “See also” link in blue beneath the illustration for each piece of writing in this issue. If you follow that link, it will take you to another thread in this vast artistic conversation that we all have a part in creating. May the process of making those connections bring you joy.

As always, thanks for reading.

Yours in Recovery,

Mary Akers
Editor-in-chief

Homepage Fall 2017


“Atmospheric Cells” by Jane Cornish Smith, oil, collage, and encaustic on board, 2007.

Welcome to our October 2017 issue with the theme of “BREATHE.”

This issue contains the work of twelve talented writers, two for whom this will be their very first publication, a fact that always makes us proud. Alongside that, we are thrilled to be able to showcase the work of outstanding, award-winning writers in this issue—a fact that also makes us proud. In short, we’re thrilled to be presenting this issue to you, our loyal readers, each piece of writing enhanced by the wonderful artwork of Jane Cornish Smith who graciously allowed us to use her work to illustrate this issue.

As always, this issue exists, thanks in no small part to my devoted editors and readers who make my job easier, and to the contributors who have trusted us to bring their work into the world. Also, thanks for the gorgeous artwork, Jane. You made each essay, story, flash, and poem pop just a little bit more.

Thanks for reading.

Yours in Recovery,

Mary Akers
Editor-in-chief

Homepage Summer 2017

Brown Days_King of the Marsh
All artwork appears courtesy of the artist Pam Brodersen.

Welcome to our July 2017 issue with the theme of “SPECULATION.” I am uploading this issue from the final week of a month-long road trip through the western United States. It’s been wonderful and exhausting, and right about now I’m really hoping that I’ve done everything necessary for this issue in advance. This marvelous issue contains the work of sixteen talented authors who we are thrilled to be presenting to you, our readers, showcased alongside the outstanding artwork of Pam Brodersen.

This issue exists, thanks in no small part to my devoted editors and readers who make my job easier, and to the contributors who have trusted us to bring their work into the world. Also, thanks for the gorgeous artwork, Pam. You made each essay, story, flash, and poem pop just a little bit more.

Thanks for reading.

Yours in Recovery,

Mary Akers
Editor-in-chief

Homepage Spring 2017

COVER image
All artwork appears courtesy of the artist Penelope Breen.

 

Happy Spring! And welcome to our April 2017 issue with the theme of “DISLOCATION.”

I’m honored to be able to share the work of these sixteen talented authors (some being published for the first time) and grateful to be allowed to present their fine work to you, our readers. Each piece of writing has the further good fortune of being paired with the sensual, textural, and evocative photography of Penelope Breen.

As always, this issue exists, thanks in no small part to my devoted editors and readers who make my job so much easier, and to the contributors who have trusted us to showcase their work. Also, thanks for the gorgeous artwork, Penelope. You made each essay, story, flash, and poem pop just a little bit more.

Our July 2017 issue will have a theme of SPECULATION.

As always, thanks for reading.

Yours in Recovery,

Mary Akers
Editor-in-chief

Homepage Winter 2017

two-cats-11-16
All artwork appears courtesy of the artist Pat Zalisko.

Welcome to our January 2017 issue with the theme of “SPARK.” (Hmm, last January’s issue was FLAME–clearly I want to warm up the winter issues.) There is something about the onset of winter that I accept–and even embrace (at the start of the season at least)–but I don’t know that I have ever celebrated winter. Winter feels like a necessary part of the changing seasons (I’m an environmentalist after all, I get it.) but it feels more like something to hunker down and endure while waiting for the arrival of spring.

This marvelous issue, however, I do celebrate. I’m honored to be able to share the work of these fifteen talented authors and grateful to be allowed to present their fine work to you, our readers. And each piece of writing has the further good fortune of being paired with the outstanding artwork of Pat Zalisko–in many cases, work she created in direct response to reading the work it illustrates. This type of direct engagement is so rare and special. I think of it as an artistic cross-pollination of sorts–the two genres combining to make a third, beautiful-and-interactive artful object.

As always, this issue exists, thanks in no small part to my devoted editors and readers who make my job so much easier, and to the contributors who have trusted us to showcase their work. Also, thanks for the gorgeous artwork, Pat. You made each essay, story, flash, and poem pop just a little bit more.

Our April 2017 issue has a tentative theme of DISLOCATION and for July 2017, SPECULATION.

As always, thanks for reading.

Yours in Recovery,

Mary Akers
Editor-in-chief

Homepage Fall 2016

cover-cosmos
All artwork appears courtesy of the artist Dawn Surratt.

Happy fall! And welcome to our October 2016 “SPIRITS” issue. We’re honored to share the work of these fourteen talented authors and grateful to be allowed to present their fine work to you, our readers. And each piece of writing has the further good fortune of being paired with the beautiful artwork of Dawn Surratt–work she has generously allowed us to use. We are also proud to introduce two new writers for whom this will be their first publication. As any editor will tell you, there’s a special kind of thrill involved in publishing first-time authors.

This issue exists, thanks in no small part to my devoted editors and readers who make my job so much easier, and to the contributors who have trusted us to showcase their work. Also, thanks for the gorgeous artwork, Dawn. You made each essay, story, flash, and poem pop just a little bit more.

Our January 2017 issue has a tentative theme of SPARKS.

As always, thanks for reading.

Yours in Recovery,

Mary Akers
Editor-in-chief

Homepage Summer 2016

Cover Image
All artwork appears courtesy of the artist.

Happy summer! And welcome to our Summer 2016 “BLINK” issue. We’re honored to share the talents of the fine authors who have allowed us bring their work out into the world. And each piece of writing has been enhanced by the beautiful artwork of Fay Henexson–work she has generously allowed us to use for this issue.

BLINK exists, thanks in no small part to my devoted editors and readers who make my job so much easier, and the contributors who have trusted us to showcase their work. Also, thanks for the gorgeous artwork, Fay. You made each essay, story, flash, and poem pop just a little bit more.

Our October 2016 issue will have the theme of SPIRITS (in all its meanings).

As always, thanks for reading.

Yours in Recovery,

Mary Akers
Editor-in-chief

Homepage Winter 2016

Cover Image
All artwork appears courtesy of the artist.

Welcome to our Winter 2016 “FLAME” issue. We’re incredibly proud to present to you the exciting and diverse array of voices in this issue, enhanced by the beautiful artwork of Laura Didyk which she has graciously donated for this issue.

I’m thrilled with the way everything came together for this issue. We have a list of new readers for the journal, all of them are prior contributors, and I’m thrilled to see how their aesthetics influence future issues. We have a new Shorts On Survival editor, too, the discerning and talented Bev Jackson. And a big thank you to my devoted editors and readers who have hung in there for years now, and also the contributors to this issue who have trusted us to bring their work out into the world. Also, thanks for the gorgeous artwork, Laura. You made each piece pop just a little bit more.

Our April 2016 themed issue will be HURRICANE and the July issue has a tentative theme of BLINK. As always, thanks for reading.

Yours in Recovery,

Mary Akers
Editor-in-chief