And Then It Shifted: Women Open Up About Leaving Men for Women (Seal Press, 2010)
Payment: Upon publication. Amount will vary, depending on experience and other variables ($50 and up). Please include a list of any previous publication credits with your query or submission. Contributors will also receive two copies of the published book.
Deadline: December 1, 2009. That said, we strongly encourage you to send us a query well beforehand, so that we can review it, give you helpful feedback, and have a good sense of what will be coming our way that month. If you are able to submit the piece earlier, we prefer that you do.
Editors: Candace Walsh and Laura André. Candace Walsh is the editor of the recently released anthology Ask Me About My Divorce: Women Open Up About Moving On.
As Dr. Lisa Diamond’s recent groundbreaking book Sexual Fluidity makes clear, women’s sexual desire and identity are capable of shifting. Cynthia Nixon, Carol Leifer, Wanda Sykes, Portia de Rossi, and countless others have left the fold of heterosexual identity to enter into or pursue same-sex relationships.
Although this book will evolve as we receive submissions, we welcome first-person essays from women
1) who were aware that they had always felt robust same-sex desires, but wanted to try to make it work in the straight world, and also
2) who identified as heterosexual at one time, but found that the situation they were in just naturally led to embarking on an intimate romantic relationship with a woman.
We seek a diversity of voices, and welcome submissions from a variety of perspectives.
We also welcome essays from women who don’t fit precisely into the above descriptions.
Here are some questions that we’d like answered in your piece. It may be one of the questions, or you may touch on most of them, and throw in some extra, great stuff that didn’t even occur to us. Please don’t feel like this is an essay question test and that you have to cover them all—we want the format of your essay to feel organic and not be explicitly dictated by our questions.
How did you come to your moment of truth?
Did your perception of yourself change?
Do you feel that others’ perceptions of you changed? Did they surprise you with either an unexpected positive or negative reaction? How did this affect you? Did their reactions change over time?
Do you feel like you surrendered heterosexuality or elements of heterosexual privilege? Do you feel like your new life with a woman has yielded rewards? What were the rewards you expected and which ones were surprises?
What do you miss? What do you not miss? Everything from in the bedroom to out at dinner, at a wedding, as a parent, as a family member, at the gym, in the workplace, on a picnic—whatever comes up for you.
What is this journey like, in general and for you? How did you feel as you were setting out on it and how do you feel now? How do you mark your progress? Were there stages? Illustrative moments? Looking back, do you feel like you went through certain phases?
What is it like to shift your identity? What about you is the same and always will be? What about you has changed or altered?
How did you feel as you began your relationship with a woman? Did you get flak from individuals who second-guessed you? Did you feel like you had to prove yourself? How did you keep your internal balance?
How did your socialization as a straight woman prepare you (ill or well) for pursuing a woman or being in a relationship with a woman?
How did your cultural/religious/racial/ethnic background shape your experience?
Do you like, or are you attracted to certain things that your partner or girlfriend, or gay women do that are traditionally labeled as masculine? Feminine?
How do you define yourself? Do you feel like the current “labels” work for you or that what you are is not yet defined by a word or phrase? What paradigm do you imagine?
Are you still with the woman you left your previous relationship for? Was she just a catalyst, or a rebound, or something else, or “the one”?
As editors, we value specificity, detail, “showing, not telling,” honesty, epiphanies, clean, polished, yet real and un-prettied-up writing, and the sharing of insights.
Please send your submission (Word document, double-spaced), along with a short bio and full contact information to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website: And Then It Shifted