On October 25th, Toronto-based York alumna and author Kelly Rose Pflug-Black, facilitated an online workshop at Workman Arts, So You Want to Get Published: A Beginner’s Guide to Submitting Creative Writing.
Recently, she published a piece about the kyrkogrim (also commonly known as the Church Grim in folklore) in Queer Little Nightmares, an anthology of LGBTQ+-themed monstrous fiction and poetry from Arsenal Pulp Press.
“When I first saw the call for submissions asking for queer monster stories and poems, I knew just the monster I wanted to write about. The kyrkogrim is lesser known than some creatures of popular horror, but its presence in folklore deeply captivates me on so many levels,” says Pflug-Black, explaining that they all translate roughly to church spirit or ghost from various Scandinavian languages.
“This idea of a living thing being killed for the sake of a church spoke to me deeply about the ways in which suppression of pagan religions and suppression of queerness were part of the same political process in that part of the world. Christianity and patriarchy tried to kill these things off, and build a civilization on top of them, but they’re always going to be there because they’re part of the land,” says Pflug-Black, adding, “Queerness is part of nature, so it can never be eradicated.”
Thinking back to her time at York, Pflug-Black remembers there being “a vibrant queer population and that a collection of short stories, such as those found in Queer Little Nightmares, is more manageable in a student’s reading schedule rather than a novel.”
“In school, you’re often expected to just hide your struggles and keep powering through and I’ve seen that culture of constant overwork really mess people up,” says Pflug-Black.
Pflug-Black’s explains that her workshop is, “a beginner-level primer on navigating the publishing industry. I’m teaching it through Workman Arts, which is a peer-to-peer arts organization supporting people with lived experience of mental health and addictions.
“People often tell me the section on dealing with rejection is their favourite. I always say, the goal is not to stop getting rejected, because that’s not going to happen — the goal is to put rejection into context so it doesn’t hold you back from continuing to submit your work.”
Pflug-Black continues that university is a great time to begin to get familiar with submission processes for aspiring published writers.
“This installation of the workshop is specifically for writers who have mental health and addictions experience — I think it’s really important to have those spaces where you can be open about those experiences.”