Interview With Phree Write Magazine
Author: Philicia Montgomery
How did you come up with the idea for Phree Write Magazine? What was the inspiration for the name of the journal? Tell us all about how this mission started.
The idea for Phree Write Magazine came out of sheer frustration. Like many aspiring writers, I scoured through literary journals on NewPages, Every Writer’s Resource, Duotrope and other writing resources to try and find a magazine I enjoyed reading and wanted to submit my work to. Some journals were boring and I couldn’t get through a poem without my mind drifting. Others were strange and accepted work that included bizarre things just for the sake of including bizarre things. But what I found most often were journals that accepted work that made little to no sense. Now, this is not to discredit all of the amazing work that did get published. For every strange piece, there was another story or poem that was beautifully written, complex, and powerful. But the fact of the matter was I read far too many strange pieces that had no business being published with the exceptional stories. These poems and stories were purposely abstract—included many ideas but never quite connected them; many images but they were random and barely related to the plot. The more pleonasms it contained, the better. I didn’t understand the author’s purpose nor did I care because the writing was so frustrating and confusing. Some stories were simply pedantic, pretentious, and contained sesquipedalian prose in order to sound “artsy” and smart. The prose felt similar to this:
“The two red birds copulating.
The girl played with scissors, the Exit sign screamed.
Flags bled green retaliation and plants danced,
She had a larruping good meal.”
The worst part of it was they actually got published! What were they talking about? Was this piece supposed to make sense? I created Phree Write Magazine to feature simple and beautiful writing. I wanted the pieces to be well-written and follow the idea that “less is more.” Of course, I didn’t want the writing to be transparent or crafted with little effort, but I did want the reader to be able to understand, relate, and connect. I wanted these stories and poems to remain in readers’ minds for the rest of the day. The tag line “Simplicity at its best” for Phree Write is the perfect explanation of the mission of this magazine. The inspiration for the name of the journal came from the freedom to write without apprehension. Writers are free to express themselves without the pressure of having to sound abstract or academic. They don’t need to use every word in the dictionary to sound like a high-brow literary writer. I spelled Phree with a PH as a reference to the spelling of my own name.
What is the readership like for Phree Write Magazine? What do you imagine your typical reader is like?
I imagine the typical reader to be someone who just enjoys reading and writing. They love language and appreciate all that can be said in very few words. I assume that many are writers themselves and commend Phree Write’s mission statement.
Do you have a specific aesthetic preference? How would you describe that aesthetic?
I don’t have an aesthetic preference, I prefer when writers just express themselves and the result is just the result, regardless of what that may look like. The homepage of Phree Write Magazine is artwork accepted by artists of that submission period. I believe it is equally important to catch readers’ attention through art as well as through prose so I like artwork to be the first thing readers see when they visit the website. I am not an expert in art so I tend to just gravitate toward anything I find interesting to view. This helps in my tendency to publish a variety of different styles and have many different people connect to the art.
What adjective would you hope would be applied to Phree Write Magazine?
The adjective I hope would be applied to Phree Write Magazine is quite simple really: “refreshing.” I want readers to visit my website and be able to snuggle up with their tea, blanket, and cat and look forward to reading the new submissions. I want it to be like a good book that they are excited to begin. I would hope the adjective applied to Phree Write Magazine is refreshing because I want my readers to find it refreshing that they are reading something they can understand and connect to.
What is the next exciting thing happening at Phree Write Magazine?
The next exciting thing happening at Phree Write Magazine is our upcoming contest! The Phirst Sentence Short Story Contest is a competition where writers must create a piece under 1,000 words beginning with a sentence we provide. This year the first sentence is “The ride to the police station took longer than I expected.” I am excited about this contest because it is amazing how different people think and write. People interpret quotes, books, and expressions so differently and by providing this sentence, it will be interesting to see how writers will tackle their story.