State of the INK: Another Term Ends

State of the INK 2020

It’s a tradition in the Inkubator Community to provide a kind of editorial statement about the community and to highlight individual statements of our outgoing Board members. I think it is fair to say that 2020 has been one heck of a year and it isn’t over yet. Together we have gone through the Covid-19 pandemic (still not over) and seen yet another murder in a string of murders and unlawful killings by US police of a man who was not afforded basic rights as a human being by those who were entrusted by society to serve and protect him simply because he was a black man–because of the color of his skin. Despite the pandemic, people have rightly shown their outrage and are even now on the streets in peaceful protest. So lest it be lost in the diffusion of thoughts and competing interests let us be very clear: Let not one more black person have to live in fear of the state that supposedly has their best interests at heart. Let the headwinds be vanquished. Let the ground not just be leveled but reshaped to address hundreds of years of systemic oppression. Let our community do everything we can to make this happen. It’s a conversation we all need to have. Pulling down structures of oppression will take all of us working together. It’s a revolution.

Black lives matter.

This year, despite the pandemic, the Inkubator Community has continued to support our members. We’ve all dealt with the feelings and hardships caused by the health crisis in different ways but we are all writers and so much of this has found its way into the writing of our members. We will continue to showcase these writers on our blog and we encourage you to seek them out. There are some amazing up-and-coming writers in our community with unique voices and things to say that are worth hearing.

Board Statements

The following are personal statements from each member of the Board talking about what this term has meant to them:

Anike Kirsten

Can you believe it’s been over 2 years since INKubator began? I’m still trying to wrap my head around that. It feels like just yesteryear. But in that time, we’ve shaped the server and community into one that is adaptable and encompassing, encouraging and self-sustaining. I couldn’t be more proud of what the members of INKubator have accomplished both personally and for our community as a whole.

Sure, there have been hard times, though that goes with any group of people with a myriad of differences and interests, but we’ve pulled through them, figured out the issue, and addressed it with the feedback of our members. Valuable feedback that makes what the Board do so much easier and better informed. And now that INKubator has over 200 members, making it possible and easier for every member to give feedback or raise concerns and suggestions is, I think, ever more vital to the continued success of our community. We’re all human and prone to slip-ups as a result, however we try. We’ve tried our damnedest and continue to do so.

I look forward to seeing what the future holds in store for INKubator and its members. And I’m glad to be part of it all, no matter how small the ripples we make are.

Rowena Harding-Smith

No one could have been more surprised and delighted than me when I was first nominated, then elected to the Board as a community member. I was initially unsure how I could contribute, so I decided to devote myself to my two loves—writing and critiquing. Peer Review became my focus. I felt it was important to ensure that all pieces posted by members received a diverse range of opinions, so I attempted to read and comment on as many as I could, while also posting chapters of my own novel. Because INK creates a safe environment, writers of all skill levels were confident enough to submit their fiction and creative non-fiction for peer review; beginners who had never before had their work critiqued as well as experienced writers. It was an excellent twelve months. Peer Review was frequently full to bursting with well-written, engrossing pieces, many of which went on to be published in equally excellent magazines. And I finished my novel. What a great year. It was a pleasure and a privilege to be a part of the Board. Thanks INK!

Peter Philleo

After a full year of being part of the INKubator board, I have come to the conclusion that time passes differently for writers. Like others that measure out their life in coffee spoons, writers measure their lives in turnaround times from the markets to whom we ply our wares and in the cycles of writing and editing and peer review.

It’s been a full year of watching myself and others cut off little bits of their experiences and opinions and emotions and squish them together into stories that reflect who they are and how they see the world. A full year of watching their successes, frustrations, pleasures and failures. A full year of being amongst people passionate about the craft of writing and willing to invest themselves into becoming even better at it.

During that year we’ve seen a wide variety of real life topics flow through our myriad discussions, sparking debate, laughter, insight, and sometimes anger. As a group, I’ve seen us overcome the inherent difficulties of mixing so many different people and opinions in one place, and as a group I expect INKubator to continue to strive towards being an inclusive, comfortable, successful, and encouraging rest stop on our respective journeys through life.

Ultimately, it’s been a pleasure to watch so many people grow and succeed during the time I’ve been on the Board.

Jasmine Arch

Has another year really passed already? It can’t have. And yet, the calendar doesn’t lie. It has been a great joy to see our little band of merry writers and poets grow and flourish–to see creatives of all ages, backgrounds and time zones come together and cultivate both their writing skills and their budding careers.

Nothing makes me happier than to see one of our writers rejoice over that long-awaited acceptance (except maybe to see one of those land in my own inbox).

Is it always easy? No. Not for the community, and not for the individual writers. For every acceptance one of us celebrates, another may be thinking, “Why them and not me?” And that’s OK. Everyone has those thoughts now and then. But our connection–the passion for storytelling we all share–is so much stronger than that.

Not only do we believe in the rising tide that lifts all boats. It’s a daily practice. Each lesson one of us learns is shared freely and absorbed eagerly. When new markets or anthologies open, those submission calls make the rounds. When a story comes back for the fifteenth time and a writer says “That’s it, I’m trunking this thing,” there will always be someone on hand to commiserate, look for ways to revise the story, find that sixteenth market, and encourage their friend to submit one more time.

When new members join our family, INKlings will jump in and take that extra step to make them feel at home. Nothing makes me prouder than to witness everyone pitch in to make our community the warm, safe nest that it is for all of us.

It’s been both an honor and a privilege to have stood at the cradle of something so amazing, and to be a part of the seven-headed team governing our community into the future.

Thank you all for your faith in us, and know it is wholeheartedly mutual.

R. Jean Bell

This past year has not been an easy one for me personally. In many ways INK and the people in it have been one of the cornerstones of the foundation that has helped me get through the year. They have been more than writing buddies and words on a screen, but friends and shoulders to lean on and voices of reason when reason was nowhere to be found in my own head.

No one can deny that I am among the slowest writers among us, especially lately. But no one has ever made me feel like I was less of a writer for needing months to finish that first draft or even longer to face that next revision. And when rejections got me down, they reminded me I didn’t suck and encouraged me to find the strength to keep going even when I felt like it was a waste of energy to even try.

And I love every one of them for this.

We have our good times and our bad times. The world being what it is right now means that everything seems a whole lot harder. But we keep trying and we keep doing the best we can to make INKubator what we always meant for it to be.

Damian Jay Clay

This has been a great year for INK. We’ve found and have been found by some great new writers who’ve become a solid part of our community. We’re in the midst of our first competition and that’s had a great response.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen our review channel as busy as it has been lately, and that’s also a very positive thing. Same goes for all our members who’ve had work published and those who haven’t but also haven’t stopped trying. I’m seriously proud of every one of you.

Ad Victorium!

Andrew J. Savage

I’d like to thank all of our members for a great year and in particular I’d like to say a huge thank you to the volunteers who keep everything running: to the members who greet people when they first join, giving them our Inkubator welcome, to the mods who work tirelessly to ensure a safe and inklusive (See what I did there?) community, to our Board members for all their work over the last 12 months and finally to my fellow admins without whom this server would not exist. Huge thanks to you all. Writing is a solitary endeavor but made just that little bit better and more endurable due to all of your efforts and thanks to the wonderful writers who have chosen to build a community with us. Wishing you all a safe rest of the year. –Andrew (Zombie)

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