In the previous post, I shared some of the history behind why Immanion Press has published the particular anthologies we’ve published. Now I want to share the rest of it and discuss how these anthologies fit into the core ideology of Immanion Press. After Shades of Faith came out, there was a lot of positive reaction to it, enough so that it got listed in Huffington Post’s 2012 list of Pagan books to read, along with another of our titles Graeco-Egyptian Magick. It made me happy to hear this. in 2013, at Pantheacon, Crystal and I chatted about Shades of Faith and she told me that her and some of the other contributors wanted to put out another anthology called Shades of Ritual, which would be a continuation of Shades of Faith, but would focus specifically on the spiritual practices of the contributors. It sounded interesting and when she asked if Immanion would be up for doing another anthology, I told her we would. I didn’t assume that she’d automatically want to place it with us, because as I tell all my authors, we never assume that your next book will come to us (and I’ll explain that further in my next post), but she told me that both she and the contributors had really liked how we worked with them. They felt respected by Immanion and our hands off approach to the editing. We respected their voice and how the writing needed to appear, as opposed to trying to sanitize it in order to sell it to the lowest common denominator. So Crystal and I came to an agreement and it was decided Immanion would publish Shades of Ritual. Now there was something very important about this moment…
For the last few anthologies, I’d played a particular role…I saw a need for an anthology on a topic and I approached someone to edit and I backed off and let them do what they needed to do. This time…someone approached me and told me what they wanted to do and I loved it. I loved it because what it demonstrated was something essential the Immanion Press ideology and brand: We empower our authors to be successful, to be heard in their voices…and to me to have someone else say they wanted to do an anthology was a signal that the brand and ideology were doing exactly what they were supposed to do. I’m actually in the process of doing the layout for Shades of Ritual and I’m really excited about this book. I’ve copy edited the essays and I’m really impressed at what is being expressed in it and how the various voices of the contributors speak to their own experiences as people of color in the ritual work they do.
Over the summer of 2013, I noticed a lot of focus on the topic of racism and it got me to thinking that while we’d published one anthology on People of Color and their perspectives on Paganism and another one was being worked on, we hadn’t focused on that topic of Racism. Racism is a charged topic, but I felt Immanion needed to contribute to the conversation and how better than to do another anthology, this time focused on racism. I got a hold of Crystal and bounced the idea off of her. She thought it was a good idea and asked who the editor would be. I said I didn’t know for sure, but she told me she’d be willing to edit, but only if there were co-editors. I said ok, and then she told me I had to be one of the co-editors. I was surprised at that and I asked her why and she told me, “Because you’re doing a lot of work in the background that no one really knows about and you obviously care about these issues. I want you to edit because I want people to know the role you’ve played in the anthologies.” I didn’t expect that answer and didn’t know how to respond. I’d never done any of this for recognition and in fact didn’t feel that any such recognition should come my way. I’ve written books, so its not like people don’t know my work and the whole point of these anthologies was to focus on these social issues. Plus I felt that one of the best ways I could help was to simply be in the background, helping to facilitate. Nonetheless she insisted that I had to be one of the editors…so I agreed, with the understanding that she’d be the contact person. We also agreed that Brandy Williams could be another editor for this topic since she was doing some research around these issues herself. She happily agreed and currently we’re in the process of starting to edit the anthology Bringing Race to the Table, which will explore the issue of racism and the Pagan community in more depth.
In February of 2014 I met Shauna Aura Knight for the first time in person. I’d seen her online, but we’d never chatted. I briefly saw her at Pantheacon and because we were going to be at Convocation the flowing weekend, we agreed to meet up for lunch or dinner and talk about writing, publishing and the Pagan community. We met for lunch and over the course of three hours we bonded over topics that included writing, magical mishaps, pagan leadership and ritual facilitation. By the end of our discussion I asked she’d be interested in co-editing an anthology with me on Pagan Leadership (We’re still taking submissions). I was impressed with her take on the topic and as always I was also curious as to what other people would say…and of course I have my own take on that topic I’d like to share.
Our anthologies are reflective of our core ideology. They are quality works that contribute to our readers and to the community we are apart of. They are works designed to raise awareness and empower the writers. The creation of these anthologies is a labor of love by all involved, because we want our readers to have access to ideas that make them think about their community and get involved in the conversations that can make it better than ever before.