Meg Frank is joining us today to talk about their Kickstarter for Mermaids Monthly magazine, created with Julia Rios, Lis Hulin-Wheeler, and Ashley Deng. Here’s the description:
Here’s the plan: 12 digital issues of mermaid magic in 2021 – short stories, flash stories, comics, poetry, art, and more. Good stuff to get you through it. Something you can plan on.
What it comes down to is this: 2020 has sucked a lot and we want to do something good that would make us happy. So, mermaids. What kind of mermaids? Every kind. Happy mermaids, murderous mermaids; mermaids, merdudes, mermxs – maybe even a few highly confused manatees! Any cool aquatic chimeras that you could possibly think of with any and every fin color and combination. If you back right away, you’ll even get a bonus issue by the end of the week!
We’ve got 30 contributors committed so far and we’ll open for submissions after the campaign funds. We’ll share our submission guidelines once we’ve reached 50% funding. The crew so far: Nilah Magruder, Dianita Cerón, and John Picacio as cover artists. In the Editorial Ocean we have Alberto Chimal, Ali Trotta, Amal El-Mohtar, Bogi Takács, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, Brandon O’Brien, Brett Massé, C. S. E. Cooney, Caitlyn Paxson, Carlos Hernandez, Debra Goelz, Elsa Sjunneson, Fran Wilde, Gabriela Damián Miravete, Jessica P. Wick, L. D. Lewis, Layla Al-Bedawi, Libia Brenda, Lisa M. Bradley, Patty Templeton, Seanan McGuire, and Sheree Renée Thomas. And SOMEHOW there is more. You should definitely back us so you can stay current.
What’s Meg’s favorite bit?
I knew I was going to work on Mermaids Monthly before I knew exactly what this project was. I knew this because it was Julia Rios who was asking me if I had time to hear about an idea they were thinking up.
I don’t remember exactly when I met Julia, but in 2018 I joined the team of a magazine they were editing and I remember being surprised by just how easy it was to work with them. They were immediately very open about their overall editorial vision and communicated consistently with me about the themes they wanted readers to be prepared for and pick up on. They wanted the reader to get all the feels. They championed collaboration for the sake of the reader and we all benefited from it. I am known for bragging on my peers, but this isn’t just my opinion – as an editor Julia has won the Aurealis Award (twice), the Ditmar Award, the Hugo Award (also twice) and in 2019 they were awarded the Kevin O’Donnell, Jr. Service to SFWA Award. Julia gives a damn, and it’s pretty great. So we had a phone call and they said “mermaids” and it was over for this Pisces who swam every season from age six to senior year.
I’ve always loved being backstage. At some point (in my childhood of burlesque shows, conventions, and libraries) I realized that you could learn how to make magic happen. I’ve been on a mission ever since to master just as many of those tricks as humanly possible. A skit, a scene, a sketch. And given reality, I feel ….pretty good about my decision. Life is fucking rough in 2020. Let’s have some good things. Not just as a treat – but as a trick of survival: something to look forward to. So, mermaids – every month. Short stories, flash stories, comics, poetry, and more. Fantastic art and fantastic authors: Alberto Chimal, L. D. Lewis, Nilah Magruder, Seanan McGuire, John Picacio, and Sheree Renée Thomas – just to name a few of the 30+ contributors that Julia and I have gathered to launch this aquatic adventure. We will open for submissions as soon as we fund because we are interested in finding more
One of the essential things that I’ve learned about creative work is that joy is exponential. And this is true in the everyday emotional sense of being comforted by the smile of a friend or a pet photo but also in the larger logistical sense. It is just easier to work with people who you can laugh and joke with. Great art comes from collaboration which grows from vulnerability. This is the truth behind “feeling seen” by something, and why so many creative fields focus on “yes, and” instead of “no”. When you work with joy and you feel supported you can dream bigger and jump higher. Working with Julia is a joy.
My favorite bit about making this magazine is tracing the magic of collaboration in every direction and getting to show everyone else the map. A joke turns into a running joke turns into a comic. A gift-pen is used to write a poem that fits perfectly. Did you ever hear about the time so-and-so broke Google Docs with their feedback? The stories behind the stories are cool. Letting people in on the jokes is fun. When I find something good, I want to share it. Julia and I are making something good – wanna see?
Meg Frank is a Hugo-nominated artist based in New York. In the before times they traveled a lot and spent a lot of time putting makeup on people at conventions. Currently they are keeping themselves busy with art school, two cats, and the Kickstarter campaign referenced above.