It has come to our attention that our recent announcement regarding the upcoming anthology But You Don’t Look Sick conveyed a tone that could be interpreted as dismissive to the 239 writers and artists who responded to the original call for submissions, as well as invalidating to those who live with an invisible mental illness. It is never our intention to make anyone feel less than and we are deeply sorry that anyone reading the announcement may have felt devalued, dismissed, or invalidated.
We know better, and we should do better.
Co-founder Christine E. Ray drafted the announcement solo and was so focused on being direct and clear that kindness and compassion suffered. That was unacceptable.
We would like to respond to those who make the argument that PTSD, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, etc. are important invisible illnesses that are often stigmatized, ridiculed, and misunderstood. You are absolutely right. We never meant to imply that they are not. The goal, however, has always been to assemble an anthology about the lived experience of writers and artists doing battle with such invisible medical conditions as Lupus, MS, CFS, Fibromyalgia, chronic migraine, etc. All of the editors involved with project live with this type of invisible illness and felt that it was important to assemble these stories into a single volume, to create room for these voices that are rarely represented in literature.
This is not to imply that we have no interest in producing a mental health anthology in the future; simply that we believe that such a compilation deserves to be a standalone volume that fully embraces that vision and those voices.
We understand that in choosing to rename the anthology But You Don’t Look Sick: The Real Life Adventures of Fibro Bitches, Lupus Warriors, and other Super Heroes Battling Invisible Illness we are making a very decided statement about the tone of the intended anthology. Individually as writers and collectively as a micropress, Indie Blu(e) Publishing embraces the fierce, the raw, the profane, the real. Those who write in this style are often not welcomed by major publishing houses. That is a shame. It is our honor to provide an outlet for those important voices to be heard.
Finally, we would like to reassure you that we are never cavalier about rejecting a manuscript or a piece of writing or art. We understand intimately that writing and art are expressions of someone’s soul, their very being. It is very difficult to send out rejections even though we know that rejections are often an issue of fit, not quality. We never mean to diminish anyone’s experience. It is our job as editors to weave individual pieces together into a strong whole.