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  • C.M. O'Slatara

Journeying Together

A few months ago, some friends from an online writing community I frequent, embarked on a project to write an anthology. It was unlike any writing project I have worked on in the past. It wasn't a call for submissions and waiting for the day it was published. It was a community effort with Edward as our fearless leader and Joanna working hard to keep the train moving.

As a group, we decided what the theme should be, the layout, and the cover design.

Everyone submitted stories or poems. We then traded works, commenting and offering solutions to make the writing tighter. Then we each took a turn as a copy editor before submitting them to a professional.

This was a bit daunting for me. Copy editing is not my strong suit, but I love learning and I really wanted to be a reliable member of the team. With each work, I checked and double checked how the mechanics of language was supposed to work. Often I would be sitting at my computer, scratching my head and saying things like:"Isn't there something about a list of two needing commas sometimes but not always?" Then I would research to check myself.

I was determined to get my hands into every story because I wanted to see this succeed. I didn't want the burden of work to fall on one or two people, as often happens with projects. But just as I remembered far more grammar than I thought I did, I didn't have to worry about help. People pitched in. Even people who were busy still did their part, leaving Edward and Joanna to worry about the multitude of tasks that would befall them as the anthology's editors.

The result? For a Breathe I Tarry, a compilation of short stories and poetry held together by a multi-part story and the thread of connections from one life to another. The writers are a crew who represent everyone from prize winning authors to those for whom this book marks their inaugural publishing credit.

It didn't just work, it worked well. Joanna and Edward's complimentary leadership styles had a great deal to do with it. Everyone's willingness to see the project through was an undeniably important facet. What's more, there was a stunning lack of hubris. Differences of opinion were met with discussion, not feet stomping. We were all in one boat, each with an oar, trying to get to one place. We all had to row together to make it work. And we did.


For a Breath I Tarry is available on Amazon. My story, 'Prison of Doubt', is an allegory that focuses on the consequences of covering an ugly truth with a pretty lie told in the voice of a snarky peasant named after a weed. Please consider supporting this stunning project by purchasing a copy.


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