Header by Paola Santos
The last issue of The Youth Is On Fire was published December 2017, the theme of which was Rage. We invited you to submit work that reflected your anger and discontent over the state of country, and what came out of that was nothing short of incredible thing. Since then, we’ve been doing a lot of thinking — about the state of the world, the responsibility of the artist, and the mechanisms of cultural production that influence how we create. We had to take a good, honest look at what we were doing.
TYIOF began in 2016 as a personal project of the Young STAR team. We envisioned this publication to be a creative endeavor that showcased your art and literature, while being free from obligations towards advertisers and sponsors. The goal was to push culture forward by including you, our readership, the emerging creatives of this generation and the next, in the lofty endeavor of putting out important, meaningful work. We are deeply grateful to you, dear contributors, for entrusting us with your work, and for believing in our vision.
However, we believe it is time for a change in the way we do things, and we need to explain why.
For one thing, we realized that by definition, TYIOF was never a zine, though we called it one. We do not self-publish, because we are publishers. Our contributors did not self-publish through us, but submit to a body larger than they are, and have their works screened in the hopes of being published. That’s how things work with actual literary publications. What we did runs counter to how self-publishing actually works, and it would be disingenuous and facetious of us to pretend that we do the same work as certain independent publishers. We hope that by being critical about our position as a youth publication, we are able to better understand how to responsibly participate in cultural production.
And while we’d like to think of TYIOF as a way to close the distance between publication and audience, we haven’t exactly been the best at corresponding with you. For this, we apologize. We want to honor our relationship with you, dear readers and contributors, by critically assessing our editorial process.
Still, we refuse to let TYIOF die.
Our dream is to build upon what already exists, and make TYIOF better than before. We envision the new TYIOF to be a legitimate journal — one more on the pulse with your artistic, social, and political concerns; one more committed to critical thought; one that really gets at the flaming heart of youth. We will still keep publishing poems, short stories, creative nonfiction, illustrations, and photographs in TYIOF. But we also hope to include more content, such as profiles of relative artists, and critical essays. At the same time, in order to make the workload more manageable and ensure that we’re always giving our best, we hope to release every new TYIOF issue on a quarterly basis from now on.
All that being said, we want to be upfront with you with the changes we plan to make. We hope to subject all submitted works to a more rigorous editorial process, one in which we actively involve more people and perspectives, in order to intellectually accommodate more artistic sensibilities and give all works the critical eye they deserve.
We also want to make it clear, for transparency’s sake, that the new TYIOF will eventually involve advertisers this time around. And while we understand that some of our readers might equate this change to “selling out,” we are accommodating advertisers in the hopes of making this project truly last and give it the financial backing it deserves.
We’re putting out a call for new works very, very soon. That call will include details for what will effectively be our comeback issue, and will be (ideally) the last TYIOF issue free of advertisers or sponsors.
Hoping you can still be a part of this. Lord knows we’d love to have you.
To new beginnings,