'The Shipwreck' (1772), by Claude Joseph Vernet
"There are no sure oaths between lions and men." — The Iliad
Join the conversation.
The Journal of Wild Culture is here to serve and create a new global community of like-minded thinkers. We want to give this community a voice, so if you have something you want to contribute — an essay, a piece of commentary, a short or very short story, poem, or photo essay, etc. — then we'd like to hear from you.
What is 'wild culture' to us?
Wild Culture is a term that represents a paradoxical coming together of two words whose meanings are in apparent contradiction to each other . . .
WILD: the untameable, what’s come undone, weather (climate, climate change), a tiger or serial killer gone missing in the community, mental illness, behaviour that causes others to flee your presence, beauty or ugliness in the untouched wilderness, Nature, unprovable metaphysical occurrences or notions, and so on . . .
CULTURE: what humans make, positive or negative outcomes of civilization (schools, highways, cities, cyber territories, etc.), religion, having to pay the rent or mortgage, civility: common and uncommon, (the culture of) science, technology, and so on . . .
When these two words are juxtaposed they present a third idea that, for some, might be a cause for reflection about a number of things. For example . . .
. . . our distress about society's general disconnection with nature.
. . . my personal need to be more (or less) loose in the way I live my life.
. . . a need to restore balance in the world or in our own lives by getting a better hold on things that are unduly destructive.
SOME DEFINITIONS OF 'WILD CULTURE'
1. The articulated space between what humans do and what they cannot control.
2. A particular way of thinking and feeling triggered by our simultaneous consideration of the everyday business of the world and our passion for the wonders of nature.
3. The mental imaginative space outside the fence of what each person views as 'things conventional' or belonging to 'the mainstream', whereby those things are seen with a deeper understanding than they could be without the benefit of that view.
What is 'wild culture' to you?
1. We've been on this enjoyable dig for a definition for as long as we've been doing wild culture, which is part of the fun. However, even more interesting to us is what you see it as, and how and where you see it. If you can, please tell us, or send us something that is an example of your view of these two words that belong and don't belong together.
But such definitions only go so far in our appreciation of what 'wild culture' is to us. There is much fertile expression to be found in the space between wild and culture, as there is between . . .
The raw and the cooked
The natural and the constructed
The everyday and the cosmic
The rational and the unfettered spirit
The hot oven and the Baked Alaska
The need to pay the rent and the possibility of being free to do whatever we want
A place of tension exists within oxymorons — between opposing forces and contradictory yet often harmonious notions (concordia discors) — that can be applied to almost any area of our lives. We are interested in the many interpretations of ‘wild culture’ that are available to everyone, and the opportunity that exists when our experience of the world is viewed through this bifocal lens.
For us, one aspect of it is what we call ‘new future practice’: how we can live today for the future we envision — a future that we want for ourselves and generations to come. The Journal of Wild Culture wants to be part of the discussions and stories that are at the center of this visioning and rebalancing work. We exist physically in the quadrant of Toronto, London, New York and Tokyo, inviting members, contributors or volunteers of any sort into a stimulating, playful, and moving exploration of the space in between . . .
Or, forget all this and ask yourself the question: From what I personally think about what 'wild culture' is, for me, and from what I've read of The Journal of Wild Culture, would my contribution fit there?
(Daniel in the Lions' Den, P. P. Rubens, c. 1614-16)
What do we want?
As a consequence, we want many things. We're looking for things that navigate the edge between wild and culture, or any two or more disciplines, and we want things that cross boundaries; for instance, between the arts and the sciences; that explore the relationship between humans and the environment. And we'd like to bring academic thinking outside of the university and mobilize it in new and creative ways. All in all, we’re also looking for incisive journalism, strong and well-thought out opinions, inspiring stories, personal recollections, jottings and other assorted writings that directly or indirectly scratch the ‘wild culture’ itch. Where possible, we also want you to make us laugh.
We want writing of all kinds that are hard to put down when you start reading and photographic essays that inform the viewer of your original and convincing artistic personality and technical awareness.
FORMATTING YOUR SUBMISSION
Use double or 1.5 spacing between lines and include a word count, title and author, and pages numbered. Do not use double spaces between words in your manuscript. Our style uses m-dashes — the dash like this — with a space before and after surrounding words.
Please include a bio of 4-5 sentences, based on reference to existing bios of JWC contributors. Tell us where you live at the end of the bio.
Send your ideas or manuscripts to journal [AT] wildculture.com
Send your manuscript in a .doc or .docx or Pages (Apple software) file. PDFs are acceptable but not preferred, though sometimes necessary with precise formatting of poetry, and would be a good addition to the former file formats.
In the subject line of your submission email, write: Submission to JWC
What length of article do we want?
It depends. If it's well-written our readers will gobble it up, however long it is. A common guidepost for articles and columns in most newspapers is between 700 and 800 words, which works well for writers and readers. But that doesn't mean we only want pieces of this length. How long does it take you to get your point(s) across and hold the reader to a satisfying end where they are left feeling your piece was worth putting the time into? If you write a long piece and it is longer than it should be, we can help with that. We work closely with our contributors. That said, please do not send very long pieces that have not been rigorously edited by you; before it gets to us you need to have done your work and feel it's as good as you can make it.
We also publish batches of poems or very short pieces (flash prose) that can comprise a full article. Please submit a full batch, which might be one or two longer poems. See this section for examples of what we call a poetry 'batch'.
If you have a piece of writing that fits no categories you can think of, or that you see here, and you think it would be interesting to our readers, don't be shy — send it along.
What is the relationship between contributor and editor?
Before you send it, ask yourself this question: Am I willing to listen to what a good editor thinks about my piece? If not, best to send it elsewhere.
If your submission is accepted by The Journal of Wild Culture, editor and writer will take it through an editorial process to make it ready for publication.
If you have a longer piece, and we like it but it needs work, you might want to be prepared to collaborate with us to get it to the level of quality that our editors and readers expect. We seek to publish works that are at the highest standard of journalism anywhere, online or in print — a tall goal, indeed, but a reflection of our respect for our readers and writers. So, based on this, writer and editor sometimes have to work quite hard to bring a piece to that standard. As a contributor to The Journal of Wild Culture, what you get is a great deal of concerted attention to your work by an experienced editor.
In the editing process there is often a lot of back and forth. Depending on how experienced you are, your manuscript may undergo extensive editing if you are relatively new to this discipline. Writer gets final approval.
Though we may use the title presented by the writer, often we will choose what we deem a better one; it's all about how to best present your work to our readers. We know what they expect. The editor also does the following: writes the introduction, or stand first; writes the home page summary; finds and edits the images and produces the layout. Images sent or suggestions of good images is greatly appreciated by the editors. If you take good photographs, all the better!
We work outside of conventional commercial publishing and advertising models and inside a pro bono economy, and within that, in everything we do at The Journal of Wild Culture, we strive for the highest possible level of craft in the fields of journalism, writing, photography and editing. Sometimes we miss the mark and sometimes we fail, however we are always eyeing the prize of very fine work that satisfies our readers. Doing so engenders a mature attitude in the relationship between writer, photographer and editor.
Do some good work and send it us. Let's see what we can do together.
Who owns what you publish in The Journal of Wild Culture?
The copyright of what you contribute to JWC is owned by you. No piece of yours will be knowingly placed anywhere else online or in print by us. We own the presentation. If you are going to place a piece you have published with us with another publisher, we ask that you let us know and ensure that the other publisher will include a link or credit to the appearance of the article in The Journal of Wild Culture.
What is our schedule?
We publish from the end of September to the end of June, with breaks during holidays between Christmas and New Years, and April. Our newsletter, the Wild Culture Sunday Edition is sent to subscribers (Join the Mailing List) every two weeks.
Those who like what we do send us donations that help to keep the technical side of our publication running smoothly.
The Journal of Wild Culture
Photo by Tom Medwell. ©Journal of Wild Culture, 2012.