FAQ with Team Iris!

Here's a rundown of some of the most frequently asked questions Team Iris receives. Have your own question? Send us a message via the contact form, send us an email, or tweet @creatingiris with #AskIris and we'll get right back to you. 

Q. Do you moderate submissions with rubrics?

A. No. We don't have a checklist of 'must-haves,' and we edit every accepted piece individually, so a few comma splices certainly won't disqualify a submission. We ask all staff readers to choose work that speaks to them first and foremost. 

Q. Are staff members allowed to submit to the magazine?

A. Staff members may submit to the magazine under a pseudonym, to preserve anonymity during the moderating process. So, their work is read blind just like everyone else's, and subject to the same discussions as others. Because we allow (encourage!) staff to absent themselves from moderating submissions that are triggering for them, we actually don't even notice when someone does not participate.* Fun fact: our former fiction editor Apolline Weibel holds the record for longest anonymous-staff-writer - we didn't know she was the author of her piece in the first issue of Iris until a week before the issue went live.

*This is very true. All a staff member needs to do is note 'cw' on the submission - no further explanation needed - and they are not required to read the work in question or participate in any discussions. We do not ask any questions because we take trigger/content warnings very seriously. 

Q. Do you accept a piece including violence/rape/death/drugs/_____.?

A. In general, the answer is no. We cannot accept pieces that portray sex or drug use because Iris is used as a teaching tool in schools, libraries, and youth groups. There's an expectation in those multi-age spaces that the writing be appropriate for the youngest of the bunch, which means that in terms of graphic content, the magazine is produced for readers slightly younger than our target 14-17 age range. 

Now, if the question is, 'can I talk about violence/rape/death/drugs/______?', the answer is a (hesitant) yes. We welcome pieces that talk about these important issues. We just can't print graphic violence or depictions of sex and drug use. If in doubt, send us an email. I don't bite and I generally reply within 24 hours!

Q. How do you feel about personal essays/creative-nonfiction-that-is-loosely-based-on-my-life?

A. Personally, I love creative nonfiction! Favorite genre. In the magazine, however, it gets a little tricky. If you are submitting a piece of creative nonfiction, please (a) let us know, and (b) tell us in writing that it's been fictionalized. In no way can we run a story in which the people who inspired the characters might recognize themselves. When in doubt, send me an email! 

Q. Do you have different standards for submissions by young authors?

A. No. Because everything is read blind, we do not know if the writer is under eighteen. However, if I notice that I am declining a young author, I do try to recommend other publications that might be a better fit.

Q. I want to bring Iris to my church/school/library/YMCA/etc. How do I do that?

A. Let your adult leader know about Iris and ask them for their contact info. Let them know that you will pass it along to me (or, if they want, have them reach out to me - HI I'M AMANDA, IT'S NICE TO MEET YOU - directly). I'll send them an email to introduce Iris and take it from there. They can email me at amanda(at)creatingiris(dot)org.

Q. I have an idea for you! How do I share it?

A. Use the form on our Contact page, or send me an email. Send me all your ideas, guys. Providing they fit within Iris's goals, we promise we'll do our best - manpower and finances permitting - to make them happen. 

Meet Team Iris: Illinois Safe Schools Alliance Edition!

I'm really excited to be tabling, with our awesome staff writer Maria, at the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance's spring Youth Summit tomorrow in downtown Chicago! If you'll be attending the summit, please stop by and say hi! We are so looking forward to meeting some of the young activists whose passion for social justice inspires us. 

We should be pretty easy to find; just look for the pennant banner that reads 'IRIS'! Our fantastic design team has made bookmarks for you take home, and info cards for you to bring to your sponsoring teacher. 

You might remember that our first issue was inspired by the following quote from e.e. cummings: It takes courage to grow up and become who you truly are. Tomorrow, we'll be asking the teens who inspire us - at the conference and virtually - to answer the question, 'who are you becoming?' At the summit, participants will be able to write their answers on tiny chalkboards; we'll take photos of each reply and post them to Instagram. Follow Creating Iris at @creatingiris and our fearless leader at @amandacivitello to keep up. All of our posts - and those of our readers around the world - will be tagged with #iris_asks (#iris-asks on Tumblr). We hope you'll join in! 

If you'll be at the summit tomorrow, please stop by and say hello! We'd love to meet you!

Iris 1.2 Deadline is THREE weeks away!

Consider this your friendly reminder that the deadline for submissions for Iris, volume 1, issue 2, 'histories,' is fast approaching! 

The deadline for submissions of fiction and poetry is 21 March 2014. 

The deadline for submissions of artwork is 7 April 2014.

We hope you'll consider sharing your work with Iris

Out Chicago with Scott Duff

Over the weekend, I was lucky to be a guest of Out Chicago with Scott Duff, a new Sunday show on WCPT, Chicago's Progressive Talk Radio. It was a fantastic opportunity to share Iris with a community of local activists for whom youth advocacy is a major concern. It's immensely gratifying to us whenever we find a message of encouragement from a reader who not only sees the potential but the necessity of Iris. However, it means the absolute world to us when we hear, 'I wish I'd had this when I was younger.' 

Iris on the radio!

We are so excited to announce that Iris will be featured on Out Chicago, a weekend radio program hosted by actor and activist Scott Duff on WCPT, Chicago’s Progressive Talk! We are so eager to share Iris with the listeners of the program. We hope you’ll tune in on Sunday, February 23 at 12:20 CST and listen - Out Chicago streams free on the WCPT web site, and if you’re in the Chicago area, you can listen on the radio on 820AM!