Lachance steps down as Editor of Word and Colour

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photo via Buzzfeed

1.The meme critiques the internet by showing a photograph of people on phones, instead of in deep conversation and eye contact (as though public transit or street corners used to be the place to make friends). The ALL CAPS caption suggests things having been better before, with that vague Trump-esque rhetoric that begs the question, “and when was everything better? Better for whom?”

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photo via Buzzfeed

2. I witness the opposite at Word and Colour when I find work from a painter in California, send their painting to a writer in Montreal, receive their new story and publish it as a new collaboration, read in the next seconds by people in dozens of cities around the world. And none of us met in person, or looked at each other in the eyes (for the most part). 

3. I understand saying fuck you to the internet because I started Word and Colour in the midst of a middle-finger to my e-mail inbox season. “Thank you for giving us the chance to read your work.” Fuck off. I realized that submitting stories is sometimes like looking for approval from strangers who you might profoundly hate if you met them. They might be like that person in my writing class who is consistently able to say exactly the opposite of what I consider decent about any possible topic. So I tried to return to what forced me to write and bought an art magazine. I’d often written in art galleries and it’s where I had composed the rejected stories. (Yes, I understand how this aligns with Lerner’s whole ‘profound experience of art’ guy.) The image on the cover was a skeleton in a grim reaper costume and I contacted the artist, Aryz, to ask if I could write from their work.

“submitting stories is sometimes like looking for approval from strangers who you might profoundly hate if you met them.”

Juxtapoz-Jan2013-AryzArt
image via JUXTAPOZ 
4. Aryz’ approval e-mail rocked me. There seemed to be this wall of fame between published artists and typical white angsty failing writer male that seemed impenetrable, as though they were gods who didn’t masturbate. Three years later we’ve featured over a hundred artists and four hundred stories inspired by their paintings, and I’ve been lucky to write from the work of about eighty illustrators, painters, street artists, and design studios. (See the full list of all our artists here.)
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5. The opportunity to write with so many artists has meant incorporating style and my general disillusionment with our advertisements, films, shows, textbooks, and novels, that seem filled with simplistic stories that exist to keep people as predictable consumer groups, or to justify massive and everyday violence against such large segments of our world. For me, Word and Colour has always attempted to counter these idiotic narratives with ‘real’ life stories, to call out the presumption of our collective stupidity and to humanize the necessarily dehumanized of the violent narrative.
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6. In my time attempting to incorporate this idea at Word and Colour I have learned that people who benefit from violence are by far the most responsible to dismantle it.

“Word and Colour has always attempted to counter these idiotic narratives with ‘real’ life stories, to call out the presumption of our collective stupidity and to humanize the necessarily dehumanized of the violent narrative.”

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(Yes: this means that white people are the most responsible to dismantle systemic anti-blackness in our Montreal institutions and culture.

read from our other writer

Yes: this means that cisfolk are the most responsible to dismantle systemic transphobia in our Montreal institutions and culture.

read from our other writers

Yes: this means that men are the most responsible to dismantle patriarchal violence in our Montreal institutions and culture.

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Yes: this means that settlers are the most responsible to dismantle colonialism in our Montreal institutions and culture. 
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Yes: this means that able-bodied people are the most responsible to dismantle ableism in our Montreal institutions and culture.
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Yes: this means that the wealthiest people are the most responsible to dismantle our current predatorial and deregulated version of capitalism in Montreal.
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Yes: those of us who have not been raped are the most responsible to dismantle rape culture in our Montreal institutions and culture.
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Why? Because it is against basic sense to give the burden of responsibility to people who have been bitten by snakes to get rid of the snakes in the house. This being said, so much of the work to rid the house of snakes has been done by those exact people and we’d probably all be bitten in bed if they stopped the incredible work that they are the least responsible to do.)
read from our other writers
read from our other writers

7. My approach has limits: while I feel that the major fault of so many of us is this ability to say nice things and do zero work against violence, à la Liberal Student, Word and Colour as an anti-oppressive magazine is simply stifled by my power positions. At best, I can direct the magazine in a way to prevent and hold those in my power groups accountable, but, whatever my intention, and whatever a partisan-party-Liberal teacher may tell me I am entitled to do, I am simply unable to fully humanize people outside of my groups because I do not understand what their experiences feel like in my body.

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8. This is one of the reasons why I’m stepping down as Head of Words at the journal. To borrow from Jason Segel quoting David Foster Wallace, I feel that the work I tried to do with the magazine was the best I could have done between 2013 – 2016. Staying would be limiting the potential of the work that everyone has put in so far, and we need to hear from new voices. 

read from our other writers

 read from our other writers
9. I use the pronoun “I” with work “I” tried to do because I feel it’s easier to read, but what I learned with the magazine is that everything is a collaboration – I didn’t invent a word of the language I’m using here. I have no clue how this wireless keyboard functions, let alone where the glass from the laptop screen was mined, and I sure as hell put zero labour into that mineral extraction. So many of my collaborators go nameless, in this way.
read from our other writers
 read from our other writers
Others include Pierre Compere, who built a magazine out of my ideas, and Paola Garces, who helped continue Pierre’s work with an internship program. All of the Ambassadors (and Shaad for the idea), who I’d like to thank for their ideas and work that has irrevocably changed the way that our magazine now looks and how our social media profiles are designed. For business sense we had Adrian Denomme, and as art curators we were blessed to have Mugluck and Melissa at different terms, who shaped what art was chosen, and, ultimately, what stories were told. 
read from our other writers
 read from our other writers

I had the luck to work with some great writers as the magazine grew, including our first skeleton crew of Charlotte Joyce Kidd, Leah Mol, Laura McPhee-Browne, Alisha Mascarenhas, and Josh Elyea. All of these writers influence how I write today. From there, I was grateful to work with Hoda Adra, Cora-Lee Conway, Jacob Goldberg, Annie Rubin, and Fiona Williams. There are so many other writers who joined afterward to thank – please take a minute at our words page to check out a roster of writers producing what I’ve often found to be provocative, stunning work.

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10. “Immersed in the beauty of the crowd.”

A commencement speech by Zadie Smith recently rocked my hungover self in its self-critique of equating success with being different from others, the product of an individualistic culture that would rather not discuss who made our screens, hungry for heroes who have never existed. Accepting that my life is a collaborative work in progress is something I learned during my time as editor, and especially concerning the learning I have done about our anti-oppressive mandate, drawing from the critical works of Son of Baldwin, AFROPUNK, Everyday Feminism, BITCH Media, Ta-Nehisi Coates, bell hooks, Angela Davis, James Baldwin, Patricia Hill Collins, and talks hosted by the Centre for Gender Advocacy, and the Black Student Network of McGill, among others.

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None of our collaborations would have happened without the massive collaboration between volunteers, writers and painters. The way that I write today is influenced by the stories from the writers at the magazine, and how I adapted as a writer within a community of strong work.

read from our other writers

 read from our other writers
I’d like to give lots of love to everyone I did not mention here, who informed my work and supported the direction of the magazine, and lots of love to everyone I did.
I’m proud of the community that we’ve built and that we’re working to grow together, and, although it’s an exercise in letting go, I’m excited to see where the new editor moves the magazine, and what new voices are heard. -LL
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Click here to apply for Liam’s position as Head of Words at Word and Colour 

Author: Word and Colour

words inspired by colour wordandcolour.com

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