A note to our readers
As writers, it’s intimidating enough to send out work that displays our vulnerability to the world. It’s more difficult to send out those works when our vulnerability may be the reason our work is rejected. As a writer who has actively sought out publication of essays detailing sexual trauma, I am all too familiar with rejection letters that make vague statements about how my writing is good, and they’d like another submission, but the content of my essays weren’t what the editors were looking for. That isn’t to say that themed issues aren’t valid, they are, but the constant silencing of trauma victims is a difficult price to pay. At Exhume, we aim to amplify those voices, giving writers the agency to discuss their ugly truths.
A few months ago I sat in a pedagogy class, discussing ways to get student writers to open up during nonfiction units in an introductory creative writing class. A peer said something along the lines of “not all creative nonfiction is putting your pain on the page, there’s more to the genre than that,” as response to my commenting about creating a classroom environment that fostered an ability to be vulnerable on the page. Sure, not all nonfiction is vulnerable, but some of it is. I believe that we write what we’re called to write, and often trauma survivors, marginalized groups, and other people in pain do feel called to write their painful experiences. As a teacher, editor, and writer, I want to make sure that I’m helping foster those comfortable environments, be they in person or online. Exhume is an extension of that goal, and I hope that as a reader you’ll find that comfort here. We are always looking for your painful truths, and we will always seek to amplify your voices and help provide a sense of community to our readers and writers.
In the interest of keeping our voices true, and our readers safe, we have included a master list of trigger warnings, but have not placed them at the beginning of individual pieces. This is in an effort to keep our readers informed without giving anything about an individual work away to readers who may not need trigger warnings. If you think you might need to know ahead of time what subjects this issue entails, please take a look at the master list before reading.
This first volume of work is one that it’s taken us several months to narrow down, as we’ve tried to spend a great deal of time with each piece in order to better organize them. We hope that you find our journal inviting as a reader, and we welcome you to become a part of our family in the coming months. For now, our community is small, but we expect to grow through the years with you, and we thank you so much for reading.
Editor in Chief
Content Warning: This issue includes discussion and/or themes of substance abuse, violence, suicidal ideation, child abuse, incest, bestiality, and rape. For more specific details, please see our master list.
A. Eagerton | Enmeshed
Bri LD | Like Rabbits Running in the Dark
Bruce McRae | Making Things, Plain Spoken
Monica Prince | How to Survive a Breakup: Go for a Run
Iris Orpi | Trauma is a Shallow Grave
Kevin Allen | Regina Pacis Orphanage, Tú Xương, Sài Gòn, 1973
Linda M. Crate | My Only Shelter
Penny Dearmin | Pumpkin
Mo Mohamed | Self Portrait As A Sanctified Woman