We thought it was about time to put a magazine in the spotlight as opposed to a press. Alina and Jackee, the editoresses of Philly’s Bedfellows, answered our questions here, and we highly encourage that you listen to what these ladies have to say about the lit mag that they brought in to the world less than a year ago, how it serves the greater Philly lit community and vice versa, and also why you shouldn’t shy away from a lit mag who publishes work about, well, sex– or the people who publish this great journal!
1. What should attendees of PHILALALIA expect from Bedfellows?
In terms of tangible offerings, we’ll have copies of the magazine for sale, plus broadsides featuring previously unpublished work from a number of bedfellows contributors. We’re also hosting a reading on Friday, 8/26 at 3PM for attendees who are interested in some afternoon delight. Also, we’ve got hugs if you want ’em. Totally free.
Also, speaking of expectations, we hope that attendees who hear about us being a sex-themed magazine don’t shy away from our booth as a result of the risque-ish associations. There’s a big irreverent streak to bedfellows (& a political one, a humorous one, a self-effacing one, & so on), so we hope that attendees who may not have read the work we publish aren’t picturing us as like, self-serious 50 Shades of Gray devotees or something equally awful. We invite anyone & everyone to come check out the magazine & chat with us! We’re certain that you’ll find something resonant & surprising.
2. What has Bedfellows achieved this past year that you’re most proud of?
The magazine itself was launched a little over a year ago, after years of vague plotting on our parts. Since then, we’ve published two issues & hosted raucously beautiful, packed to the rafters launch parties for each, in addition to other events. The writers we solicited were totally on board with sending their work to this brand new magazine, & we received so much support from them as well as from readers. We’re immensely grateful to the Philadelphia literary community (& beyond!) for welcoming us as warmly & enthusiastically as they have.
3. What is something people might not know about Bedfellows?
From the outset, we’ve chosen to focus on soliciting work rather than open submissions. It might sound nepotistic or snobby, but even if we’re soliciting people we know/our friends/people we’ve slept with/whatever, it requires a real familiarity with the person’s work and consensus from both of us before an invitation is sent. We also make a point of it to focus on writers with a Philly connection. That said, we’re ALWAYS open to meeting new writers & checking out their work. However, we want to be clear about the fact that there’s no pretense of objectivity with us. We have a vision for each issue, & we go after what we want (cue sassy hand-wave & “Z”snap.) Also, that we speak in a creepy greek chorus voice in person, too. That’s what happens with over ten years of friendship.
4. Bedfellows’ desire to “catalog contemporary discussions of desire/intimacy” via the forum of a lit magazine is interesting– can you talk a little about how the idea of this focus came about?
We both include sex a lot in our own work, and we’ve often talked about how hard it is to write about it in a way that rings true– not clinical or flowery or stilted– and how infrequently we saw/heard this kind of work in public spaces. It exists, of course, but we hadn’t seen it compiled in one place. There’s a weird stigma to sex-focused writing in general – a mistaken assumption that ‘writing about fucking’ = ‘erotica’. We wondered what would happen if we asked people who didn’t usually write about intimacy (or who weren’t known for it in their work) to do so, and what that would look like. And before we knew it, we were drafting solicitation emails in Dirty Frank’s. We’re flattered and so so happy that people have been so supportive of us in this endeavor.