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Call for submissions: the YES issue

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aAh! – your arts and culture magazine

Millennials, listen up again: our lovely, liberal generation is also unfocused and vague. We think we know everything – which we kind of do – but mostly we don’t. This magazine hopes to present the opportunity for readers and writers to interrogate their own ideas about the world we’ve fallen into. Each issue will interrogate one important contemporary notion through our regular features, opinion pieces, spotlights, interviews, previews, art, poetry, flash fiction, photography and music.

This issue: YES.

“I am not a ‘yes’ person. No matter who you are married to, you still need to lead your life.” – Melania Trump

“By the side of the everlasting Why there is a Yes – a transitory Yes if you like, but a Yes.” – E.M. Forster

How often do you say yes? …yeah, yah, yep, yup, yus, mm hmm, uh huh, that’s right, indeedy. Is there really such a need for so many? Yes is a big, exclamative word – or can be. Some yeses are small and insincere. Yes can be a no in disguise. Yes is a yellow word, a family of nods and winks. A yes can be the selling of a lie.

Yes is a word of consent, permission and agreement. Yes is political word, something chanted by an angry mob. Yes is the ultimate hippy word, maybe more so than LOVE, as in: open yourself up to all, man: say YES. Which is like the yes of YES, the British prog band, or Yoko Ono’s famous yes, a small word at the top of a ladder written on the ceiling. At this point, yes could sound like nonsense, just a meaningless sound – which it is. Yeah, yeah, yeah…

In Old – and Middle-English, yes was a stronger, more forceful alternative to the word yea. So what happened to yea? Imagine your teenage self answering parental questions: Did you do your homework? Yes. How many different yeses sleep in the one word? Do you love me? …yes.

Yeses are full of nuance and personality. A yes can be dramatic, climatic, destructive, creative. In Molly Bloom’s famous soliloquy closing Joyce’s Ulysses, yes is more of a gesture than a word. Yes seems to be, as well as an answer, an experience of the world and the body, of simply being alive –

‘I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish Wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.’

This issue is about optimism, hope, affirmation (and its lack). Yessir! About conformity, belief and rebellion. So tell us, why yes? If not, why no? What is there to say yes to, and how can we be sure?

We are looking for features, previews, interviews, creative prose, poetry, artwork and photography that offers a critical, insightful and creative slant on the word YES. We are looking for inventive and thought-provoking perspectives in the hope to create a magazine that opens conversations and breaks convention.

We are open to all submissions related to the theme, but here are a few ideas to think about:

  • Consent and permission – it’s a small word that can completely change a story. What happens when the word YES is missing from a situation? What happens when we find ourselves saying YES to things we don’t want to?
  • Relationships – explore the balance between give and take. What happens when we say YES to another’s needs over our own? What happens when we say YES for all the wrong reasons?
  • Deal-makers and deal-breakers – YES is a word that can open up your world to something wholly different. Have you ever said YES to a person, a trip, or experience to find your life turned upside down?
  • The YES people – in politics, in business, in our everyday lives. Have we become the YES generation? And do we always understand what we are saying YES to?
  • When YES means NO – there can be a lot of deceit behind such a small word, and YES can become dangerous when misused as a cover-up or to keep others quiet.
  • Saying NO – sometimes we choose to say no, and say YES to anarchy, activism and protest. When? Why?
  • History – there have been moments in history where certain decisions have made us who we are today, and also times where a no should have been a YES. Talk to us about those moments.
  • Art – is there a type of art or music that is said YES to more than others? Why does some art make the cut over others? What do you think we should be saying YES to?
  • Psychology – we crave confirmation on social media, in relationships, in the concept of fame and stardom. What does it mean to need people to say YES to us? Why do we want to say YES to others?

Have an idea? Email us at to discuss.

Deadline: November, 2018

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aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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