These days, the news feels like a relentless cycle of horror. Every day, every hour, brings something new and terrifying. It’s hard not to cringe, while looking at social media or scanning headlines, reflexively tensing for whatever new blow is sure to fall.
But I’m not here to talk about the bad things. I’m here to talk about one very good thing, a lovely thing that has been bringing joy and art and beauty into the world for thirteen years – Shimmer Magazine. While this post is a celebration of a fine publication and the hard-working badgers who bring its digital and physical pages to life, it is a bittersweet post as well. A farewell. Recently, Shimmer announced it will be closing its pages for the last time this coming November. It will be very much missed.
Since 2005, Shimmer has consistently published gorgeous, dreamy, gut-punching, heart-wrenching and haunting stories. These are stories about outer space and unseen realms, the living, the dead, the possible and the impossible. Its pages are full of realms that were and might be and never were – magic, love, friendship, ghosts, witches, birds, and so much more. Above all, stories that were and are undeniably…shimmery.
I’ve had the good fortune to be published by Shimmer on several occasions. When I was first starting out as a baby writer, Shimmer was a publication I aspired to. My first acceptance from them was a dream come true, and that thrill never went away. Publisher Beth Wodzinski, Senior Editor E. Catherine Tobler, and the entire Shimmer team have always been a joy to work with. My favorite piece of editorial advice, in fact, came from Shimmer, and it was simply this: add more tentacles. That, my friends, is never ever the wrong answer, no matter the situation.
Even though the era of Shimmer is ending, it will always have a special place in my heart. Rather than mourn its loss, now seems like the perfect time to celebrate its exsistence by highlighting some of my favorite Shimmer stories (or least my favorites since I started keeping track). There are a lot to choose from. In these dark times, may I suggest pouring yourself your favorite beverage, snuggling up with a pet or a loved one, and reading something beautiful as an act of resistance? Browse through Shimmer’s vast archives, and you’re bound to find something that strikes your fancy. I certainly did.
The Earth and Everything Under by K.M. Ferebee – a beautiful and haunting story of magic, birds, love and loss.
Be Not Unequally Yoked by Alexis A. Hunter – a powerful story of first love, transformation, and finding your place in the world.
A Whisper in the Weld by Alix E. Harrow – the story of a woman working under brutal and punishing conditions, and the fierce love for her family that transcends death.
In the Rustle of Pages by Cassandra Khaw – a bittersweet story of honoring family members at the end of their lives, and keeping loved ones with us, even though they are gone.
The Star Maiden by Roshani Chokshi – an otherworldly and fairy tale-like story of a grandmother, a granddaughter, and a magical dress.
States of Emergency by Erica L. Satfika – a unique take on an apocalyptic tale.
A July Story by K.L. Owens – a story full of longing, about a strange and impossible house that steals people away.
Red Mask by Jessica May Lin – a story about death, ghosts, survival, and the origins of a super hero.
.subroutine:all///end by Alex Acks – a gut-punch of a story about an AI caregiver and the messy, complicated nature of human relationships.
Painted Grassy Mire by Nicasio Andreas Reed – a highly atmospheric story of monstrous creatures and the call of blood.
Glam-Grandma by Avi Naftali – a delightful and stylish story about old ladies who take no shit, make no apologies, and live life to the fullest.
Only Their Shining Beauty Was Left by Fran Wilde – a dreamy and poetic story of transformation, longing, and nature reclaiming its own.
Shadow Boy by Lora Gray – a take on Peter Pan that explores identity and who we are inside versus how we appear to others.
The Cold, Lonely Waters by Aimee Ogden – a journey between the stars in search of survival, or, simply put: mermaids in spaaaaaaace.
The Creeping Influences by Sonya Taaffe – a beautifully written story of desire and fear wrapped around the mystery of a bog mummy.
The Triumphant Ward of the Railroad and the Sea by Sara Saab – a story of hunger, journeying, and trying to outrun hurt on an impossible and fantastical train.
As I said, these are just a few of the fabulous stories Shimmer has published over the years. Which ones are your favorites?