When I first heard about Melissa Tedrowe‘s new project, Letters to a New Vegan — for which she and a collaborator are currently seeking submissions — I became nostalgic for my early days as a vegan. I remembered with fondness (and some pain) the wonder, the confusion, the excitement, the sadness, the horror, the hope, the lack thereof, and the deliciousness of my new reason for being alive. Had this book existed then, I am sure I would have devoured it in the ferocious kind of way only a new vegan can — clinging on with everything I had to each new fact, figure, and friend to join me on my journey.
It is likely that each of us reading this has had someone in our lives influence our own veganism. Or perhaps we’ve been lucky (and effective!) enough to influence someone else, to be their “Vegan Maker.” Nothing makes me happier these days than watching someone whom I had known prior to their veganism really thrive in their advocacy. I become a proud Mama Hen.
Letters to a New Vegan looks like it will fill a void. I can imagine having a stack on hand at all times, eagerly handing them out — along with a pat on the back and a dairy-free, egg-free cupcake — to the newest vegans to join the cause. I encourage you to submit to this book. I have no doubt that your words and sentiments will be savored by those who truly need your support. Community goes a long way, and so does mentorship.
Letters to a New Vegan — Call for Submissions
Deadline: November 15, 2013
At the turn of the nineteenth century, a 19-year-old military student wrote a letter to a famous author seeking advice on how to live. ‘Nobody can advise you, nobody,’ Rainer Maria Rilke replied. ‘There is only one way. Go into yourself.’ Having said that, however, Rilke would go on to offer ample advice to the young man, writing him no fewer than ten letters in which he shared his thoughts on thriving in a complex, insensitive world. These letters would become the small but widely-treasured volume Letters to a Young Poet (1929).
Rilke’s bipartite response to his young poet exemplifies the human paradox: we need to go deeply into ourselves and we need each other. Those of us living on the edge of a ground-breaking social movement especially need each other. We need each other’s encouragement and insights; we need to hear how others have made their way — detours, stumbles, and all. Combining the stories of others with our own experience and inner wisdom, we cultivate the sustenance for lives that matter to ourselves and to the wider world.
With that, you are invited to submit your own story to an edited collection called Letters to a New Vegan. The intention of this volume is just as its allusory title suggests: we are looking to create a community of words that can encircle new vegans everywhere, from all walks of life, as they embark on their own journeys. Letters should be no longer than 1000 words (short letters are as welcome as long ones), begin with the salutation “Dear New Vegan,” and end with your name (first or full, your choice) and place of residence. Between the salutation and closing we ask that you write in your own voice, with authenticity, honesty, and compassion.
A possible place to begin as you contemplate your letter: What would you have wanted to hear when you were a new vegan? What would have helped?
Submission guidelines: Please email your letter (Word documents preferred) along with a short author bio to veganletters [at] gmail [dot] com by November 15, 2013. Questions can be directed to this address as well.
A final, important note: we’re eager for letters from people of all ages, backgrounds, and perspectives. The vegan story is nothing if not multi-vocal. Thank you for helping us distribute this call widely.