On January 26, I took a blow to the head during softball practice. I was diagnosed with a concussion the next day. Not a big deal. One to two weeks, and I would be back to normal. But I wasn’t. Two weeks rolled around, and I was useless, functioning with the capacity of a four-year-old. I couldn’t leave my dark room. Couldn’t read. Couldn’t think of words. Footsteps sent me into an absolute frenzy, and the sound of my own voice was like a railroad spike through my skull.
After four months, two ER visits, a drug overdose (caused by a neurologist who was supposed to help me), and a desperate struggle to graduate without being able to read or perform basic, everyday functions, I finally began the road to recovering my health and my life.
In the wake of physical, mental, and emotional damage, I turned to fiction to tell the story that is now so much a part of me, and while I found literary publications that were interested in the resulting pieces, I found no publications specifically devoted to concussions and brain injuries.
And I began to wonder, what could a publication like that accomplish? How many lives could it change?
On the surface, the concussion cost me my senior season of softball and four months of my life. But in reality, it left scars so deep that they are difficult to describe, which is what prompted me to write about the experience. When I realized there was no publication solely dedicated to brain injuries, I began to truly consider how concussion awareness is approached—with facts and statistics—and how inadequate that is.
I can’t explain to you what it was like to have a concussion, not like this. I can’t tell you what it was like, but I can show you. I can write a story that makes you feel the fear of being alone when a flooding attack happens and wondering if you’ll get help before you stop breathing. I can write a story that makes you feel the overwhelming depression of losing the entirety of your identity. I can write a story that makes you laugh at the silliness of staring at a light for ten minutes because you believed it wasn’t there.
Anton Chekhov is attributed with saying, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” Simply telling people about concussions and brain injuries is not sufficient to nurture awareness and understanding. We need to show them.
- 80,000 words
- Black & white interior
- Original cover art
- Stories of multiple genres
- Fiction & creative nonfiction
- Each piece 500-10k words
- Also to be published as eBook
Submissions will be accepted via Submittable beginning November 15, 2016. The submission window will close February 28. Following the Kickstarter, detailed submission instructions will be available at victoriagriffin.net. All submissions will be read blind—without any identifying information—so that race, gender, and publication history play no part in the selection process. Seasoned veterans and unpublished writers are both welcome to submit and will receive the same consideration. The work speaks for itself!
Absolutely anyone can submit. There is no requirement to have experienced, or even seen, a brain injury. If a writer takes the time to research brain injuries and concussion in order to write a piece that accurately represents the experience, we have already educated one person on the realities of brain injuries.
Why do we need this anthology?
By compiling an anthology of fiction and creative nonfiction, we can use multiple genres, styles, and tones to truly convey the experience of a brain injury. Because what matters is not what it looks like or how many people experience it.
Brain injuries impact the lives of human beings in a way that is real, emotional, and permanent. But we don't talk about that. We should.
- Provide an outlet for survivors of brain injuries to express their personal realities.
- Spread awareness about concussions and brain injuries to those who have not experienced them and to those who will become victims or caregivers in the future.
- Showcase brilliant writing.
Making positive changes:
When I realized I was concussed, my first reaction was to try to hide it because I knew I would be benched. What if I had read an anthology like Flooded? What if I had known what could happen to me? I was lucky. I walked away from my brain injury with no permanent damage, and my poor decision early on did not negatively affect the outcome. But it could have. And for many, it does. Reading an anthology like Flooded may help others to make better decisions in such a situation.
If you have not experienced a brain injury, you might in the future. Or a family member or close friend might, and they will not be able to tell you what they’re going through, not until it’s over. What if you had the opportunity to gain insight into their struggles? I know my friends and family would have leapt at the chance to learn anything about what was happening inside my body and mind.
The budget includes the cost of cover art and design, interior layout, Submittable fees, editing and proofreading, promotion, and of course, contributor payments and copies.
I believe in paying writers their worth, which is why the minimum budget includes 2¢/word contributor payments. A breakdown of the minimum and target budgets are below.
The target budget includes 6¢/word contributor payments. It also allocates more money to promotion and to cover art/design.
Rewards were chosen to be as unique and personal as the anthology itself. They revolve around community, from an invitation to our private Facebook group to the perfect copy, signed by each and every US contributor.
We want to tell you the Flooded story in music, with an accompanying soundtrack. We want to let you behind the scenes with the "stories behind the stories" and handwritten thank-you letters. And we want to help you tell your own story, with a 30-minute brainstorming session and a custom journal.
Early-bird copies of the anthology will ship three months before regular copies.
Thank you for your support!
The idea for Flooded was spurred by a passion to convey truth through stories and a desire to help educate people about a widely misunderstood injury and the devastating effects it has on lives.
This project has transformed into an incredible community and support system.
Thank you to all the survivors who are passionate about sharing their stories.
Thank you to those who have not suffered brain injuries, but have taken it upon themselves to learn and grow in the wake of others' experiences.
And thank you to those friends and family members who have spent days and nights caring for those with concussions and brain injuries—you are truly heroes.
Risks and challenges
The first challenge I anticipate is selecting pieces to fill the anthology. I published my first piece my junior year of high school, and I have six years’ worth of experience with literary journals, magazines, and anthologies. The amount of talent in the literary community is astounding, and when combined with a topic that elicits deep emotionality, I have no doubt the quality of submissions will be superb—and will make choosing 80,000 words of fiction and creative nonfiction a difficult task.
Perhaps the greatest challenge I anticipate is the promotional aspect of the project. Once the anthology is complete, we will need to shout it from the rooftops and get the work into the hands of readers. I have experience promoting my own work, but this is a whole new level. That’s why I’ve allocated a promotional budget to be used for services such as a professional blog tour, cover reveal, and promotional plan. While I foresee challenges in promotion, I believe that the quality of the work and the significance of the work will ultimately entice readers.
Video music: http://www.bensound.comLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)