This morning I have something a little different for you. I’ve been following the pagan writing community for quite a few years now. Along the way, I’ve met some very talented authors and poets, made some good friends, and wanted to introduce you, my readers, to a few. Recently, I had the pleasure to interview editor of Eternal Haunted Summer, Rebecca Buchanan. Rebecca is the editor-in-chief of Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and the editor of pagan fiction and non-fiction ‘zine Eternal Haunted Summer. She has been published in Bards and Sages Quarterly, Cliterature, The Future Fire, Into the Great Below, Fire Jewel: A Devotional For Freyja, Linguistic Erosion, and Luna Station Quarterly, as well as Beyond the Pillars, The Shining Cities, Unbound: A Devotional Anthology for Artemis, Written in Wine, and other venues. She blogs semi-regularly at BookMusings: (Re)Discovering Pagan Literature.
Hi, Rebecca! Thanks for being here. I know you’re busy and I appreciate your time! What would you like people to know about Paganism?
Rebecca Buchanan: Primarily, I would like people outside of Paganism to understand that — whichever path or tradition we follow — we are completely serious and sincere in our devotions. This is not playacting or a phase.
Most pagan writers have a personal pantheon they’re dedicated to, and to which they dedicate their art. How did you connect with your personal pantheon?
Rebecca: I have loved mythology since childhood, especially Greek and Egyptian; those were always the books I lugged home from the library (along with the fairy tales). I would read the stories over and over again, study the paintings and sculptures, the photographs and schematics of the old temples.
Since my earliest exposure to the Gods was through books, I guess that is why my devotions now primarily take the form of writing and publishing.
Can you tell us a bit about how your path influences your own writing?
Rebecca: My devotion to the Greek pantheon has a *huge* influence on my writing. I would say ninety percent of what I write — poetry, short fiction, essays — is about the Gods and Goddesses. Plus, the fact that I could not find a market for my writing led to the creation of Eternal Haunted Summer; I wanted to offer a venue for other frustrated Pagan writers. It also led me to accept the position of editor-in-chief at Bibliotheca Alexandrina, so I could oversee the production of anthologies in honor of the Gods and Goddesses.
As a writer, is there any genre you haven’t tried that you’d like to?
Rebecca: Oh … tough one.
I try. ;)
Rebecca: Aside from the poetry, most of my writing could be broadly defined as science fiction or fantasy; there are a couple of dark fantasy/horror pieces, too. I guess I would like to try my hand at a mystery, an old fashioned, honest to goodness murder mystery. Maybe starring a modern-day devotee of Nemesis … or priest of Thoth ….
Ooh that’s does sound intriguing! What inspired you to take on the editorial spot of Eternal Haunted Summer?
Rebecca: Frustration! Pure, unadulterated frustration! I had written dozens of poems and short stories in honor of the Gods and Goddesses, and yet there were no reliable venues in which to publish them. The majority of religious publishers out there are Christian in their focus, and my stuff was *too* religious for the fantasy publishers. I heard the same complaint from other Pagan writers. Thus, Eternal Haunted Summer was born. It’s been a real honor to host so many talented authors.
It’s been an honor to find you too, Rebecca, and I have to agree. I have had the same experience in my path to publishing too. I’m glad to see that changing a bit. Next question: Is there anything/any aspect of Paganism, or topic you see little of in the submissions that you’d like more of?
Rebecca: I would love, love, love to receive more submissions which deal with myths, heroes, and Gods from outside Europe. I can appreciate a good Dionysus poem or an essay about Freyja as much as the next girl; but there are so *many* pantheons. I want Aztec-themed poems! Essays about the kami! Short stories centered on Spider Woman and Sedna and Marie Laveau. Reviews of books and comics and movies about Mongolian shamans and La Llorona and Maori tattoo traditions.
I would also love more essays which tackle difficult topics. I am not afraid to run a controversial piece; animal sacrifice, veiling, abortion, hexing, whatever. If it is articulate, thoughtful, correctly cited (as necessary), and respectful in tone, I am happy to consider it for publication.
What would you say to encourage a young Pagan writer to apply their path to their art?
Rebecca: Many people feel especially drawn to one or two Deities within a pantheon (though which Deities may change over time). In the case of a writer, my first suggestion would be to focus your writing on that Deity/ies. Create a poem listing the Deity’s epithets, or a short story retelling a favorite myth; or, write about anything you want, but dedicate the work of creating the story and the story itself to the Deity. Oh, and pray before you start working on it.
Same goes for any kind of art, and even such things as exercise and cleaning; dedicating any kind of work or creative act to a Deity will make it more meaningful.
What would you like readers to know about Eternal Haunted Summer?
Rebecca: That I am open to just about everything. There are very few restrictions when it comes to submissions. Sex and gore should be appropriate to the context of the story. The tone should always be respectful (no bashing other people’s Gods). Pieces about Atlantis or Mu or subterranean civilizations or aliens don’t interest me. Submissions with a monotheistic or Abrahamic focus wouldn’t really be appropriate either. Other than that, any format, any genre, any myth, any Deity, any pantheon.
What’s next for you? Any exciting new projects to tease us with?
Rebecca: Bibliotheca Alexandrina has new anthologies in honor of Demeter, the Morrigan, and the Muses, which will be available soon. I am currently editing the Spring Equinox issue of EHS, which is shaping up to be an awesome edition. I personally have a short story which will appear in the next issue of The Future Fire, and I’m working on a few other stories. Um … basically I am keeping busy. Must write!
I hear that! Thank you again, for being here. Good luck with all you do. I can’t wait for the Spring issue! ;) It should be out by the Equinox, if I’m not mistaken. In the meantime, friends, do check out some of Rebecca’s work. I think you will enjoy it! :) You can find out more about her at:
Eternal Haunted Summer: http://eternalhauntedsummer.com
and the EHS Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/268696863150514/
or Bibliotheca Alexandrina’s Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/24893808890/