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2020 Update: or When You’re Too Sad for Sad Girl Review

A cake sits on the counter. It has blue and white frosting and an image of a skull and crossbones on it. The picture is ambiguous: is the skull smiling or is it a grimace?

I started Sad Girl Review after I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in 2018. It brought structure to my days and months at an uncertain time in my life. It allowed me to connect with skilled, passionate people through poetry, writing, and other creative practices. I felt invigorated by the work of others and it made me excited for the future. SGR is and always will be the result of intense personal labour and wide-reaching collaboration. I am proud of this magazine and what it has become and I am humbled by the trust that contributors place in my editorial and design skills. Because of this, I believe it is time for an explanation about the sudden and unannounced hiatus.  

I began graduate school in late 2019 and my mental health began to slip. Depression and poverty tainted all of my experiences and I struggled to adapt and socialize throughout the winter. Mental healthcare was offered through the university but it was booked up for over five months so they could not help me. Mental healthcare was offered through the province but not in the city I lived in. My artistic practice, which is what I was going to school to develop, floundered because I never felt well or comfortable enough to take risks. I had looked forward to obtaining my MFA but I was not able to adjust to life in a new province with no support network. I also could not access the materials I needed to make SGR and my heart wasn’t in it. All of this was not helped by the emergence of COVID-19. I eventually returned to my home province in spring 2020 and began to rebuild my life while also trying to meet the obligations of my degree from a distance. 

The more time I spent away from this project the more uncertain of it I became. I shared SGR with peers and professors and was met with criticism (which was sometimes valid, sometimes not). How is this magazine art? What does it endorse and what does it condemn? Who speaks and who is spoken to with these pages? What does it mean to be a global publication? How much labour can I take on and what is the future of such a project? Why is this publication digital only and should it stay that way? I am still thinking about these challenges. This magazine is an intuitive process for me and I am trying to honour that, though I will need more time to plan these aspects and refine my intentions.

In summation: Sad Girl Review is not finished and it is returning to slow and steady development. This publication is composed of many small and invisible tasks and it is made possible by the contributions of others. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude and apologies to those that have sent in work and have waited too long for me to get it together; your patience is a gift and I hope you will choose to continue to offer it to me. Most importantly, this is a publication that is created with joy and love — not sadness, despite the title. 

Thank you for your support.

Amber

PS: Normalize speaking about mental health and insist on better, more timely care. Support the rights of disabled people. Wear a mask. And while I’m at it, Black and Indigenous lives matter. All genders are valid. End speciesism and fight for the environment. Be tremendously kind and love with abandon, sad girls & friends. 

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