Ruminate is More Than a Literary Journal

Ruminate is More Than a Literary Journal

October 25, 2015

By Laura Droege
When I heard about Ruminate’s Art Matters Campaign, I had one main reaction: fear.

It overwhelmed me.

This fear surprised me, the way a riptide surprises a swimmer and sweeps them from their intended route. And I had to wonder why. Why did the possibility of this journal disappearing cause me so much fear? Surely I’d realized the possibility before; nothing physical lasts forever. Literary journals, particularly ones not subsidized by university presses, cease publication more often than not. Why the sense of loss, that fear of losing something precious?Then I realized: Ruminate is more than a literary journal. It’s a lifeline.

I live in a technology-drenched area of the country. Rockets and missiles, computer data and quantum mechanics: these flow around me, bewildering and alien to my mind. Even more overwhelming is how all of us are drowning in our ocean of objects and phones and computers and i-this-or-that things. Our faces plastered to a screen, texting, sharing, over-sharing, focusing on the almighty i.

I, me, myself, doing this or that on my i-object: I feel like I’m drowning in myself (or a technological version of myself) and I don’t even own a smart phone.

Then I open the pages of Ruminate. The eyes of my heart lift from the surrounding sea of myself, and I see the lifeline thrown to me.

It pulls me toward something beyond myself. The art and poetry and prose link me to beauty, all those good and fearsome incarnations of it. It links me to truth, to questions about truth, to all the vast implications of what it means to live in truth.

Breathe it.

Gulp it into my lungs.

No longer drown in fear.

Or, if the fear does not disappear, it shifts into holy fear. Take off your shoes, for this is holy ground. Grab this lifeline of beauty and truth, for it will free you from yourself.

How can I bear to see this end?

I read fiction submissions for the journal. I have marveled at the range of quality, voices, and ideas that fill my slush pile.

The best stories captivate me. I’m inspired to be a better writer and, more importantly, to be a kinder, more compassionate person. Some are glorious failures, the promise hidden beneath poor editing. Some are better left undisturbed.

But they all serve a purpose. Some human being sat and wrote a story, cared enough about their narrative to try to capture it on paper; they may have failed, but they tried. The author cared about words and stories, and believed in their power to capture reality, move a reader’s heart, or change the world. They had the urge to create. So they did.

And when the stories succeed, they are glorious.

I look at the visual art, savor the poetry, delight at the prose, and realize that this lifeline is stronger than I’d first imagined. I grab this offering. I wrestle with it, phrase by phrase, image by image, working with the art as it tugs me toward truth and beauty.

Those who have created this art and those who throw out that lifeline, who invest time and energy into putting this journal into our hands, should be paid. Wrestling with truth and beauty, images and words is not a fun little hobby; it’s serious business, joy-filled work but also difficult and exhausting. It’s doubly difficult when a lack of money is an issue.

Ruminate can only continue with adequate funding.

Money may not be beautiful, but it is necessary. It gives artists the ability to continue creating, to continue throwing out those life lines. Line after line after line to people like you and me, desperate and drowning in ourselves. We need art the way those caught by a riptide need rescue.

Art matters.

I believe that, and I believe that you do, too. And right now, it matters that you care enough to take action. Donate. Subscribe. Share this message on social media.

Art matters. Keep Ruminate alive.

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