A Creative Approach to Raising Awareness About Concussions and Brain Injuries
As a writer, I believe that facts and statistics do not relate the truth about the impact of brain injuries on people's lives. Stories can change that. Flooded is an opportunity for writers and survivors to express the realities of brain injuries through a literary avenue.
The Flooded Story
In January 2016, I took a hit to the head during softball practice. The next morning I had difficulty speaking and walking. My trainer assured me the symptoms would be gone within two weeks, after which the doctor assured me they would be gone within three. After four months, two ER visits, a drug overdose (caused by a neurologist who was supposed to help me), and a desperate struggle to graduate without being able to read or perform basic everyday functions, I finally recovered.
On the surface, the concussion cost me my senior season of softball and four months of my life. But in reality, it left scars so deep they are difficult to describe—which is what prompted me to write about the experience. When I realized there was no publication solely dedicated to brain injuries, I began to truly consider how concussion awareness is approached—with facts and statistics—and how inadequate that is.
So the idea for Flooded was born.
Initially, I intended Flooded to be a print anthology of creative writing dealing with brain injuries. After a failed Kickstarter campaign, the project was put on hold. However, the failed campaign only convinced me more thoroughly of how much the world needs a project like this. People don't know how powerful these stories are.
Now, Flooded will be reborn as a digital magazine that provides artists and survivors the opportunity to share their stories and improve public awareness of brain injuries.
What could someone who has never experienced a brain injury gain from reading Flooded?
The anthology is not simply for survivors. When I realized I was concussed, my first reaction was to try to hide it because I knew I would be benched. What if I had read a publication like Flooded? What if I had known what could happen to me? I was lucky. I walked away from my brain injury with no permanent damage, and my poor decision early on did not negatively affect the outcome. But it could have. And for many, it does. If you have not experienced a brain injury, you might in the future. Or a family member or close friend might, and they will not be able to tell you what they’re going through, not until it’s over. What if you had the opportunity to gain insight into their struggles? I know my friends and family would have leapt at the possibility of learning anything about what was happening inside my body and mind. Concussions don’t just happen to athletes. They happen after a fall or a car accident. They are a part of life that needs to be addressed in literature. At the very least, gaining empathy for another’s pain and struggles makes us better, more understanding people. Who doesn’t need that in their life?
While I was concussed, I experienced a phenomenon I came to know as "brain flooding." Too much stimulation—the light of a candle, the sound of footsteps, trying to read—would overload my brain and force it to shut down. I would wind up curled in a ball, unable to speak, in survival mode. The fear that I experienced during those moments is one of the defining memories of the time I was concussed, and I doubt I am alone in that.
How to Submit
What are we looking for?
Previously unpublished (including on your blog or website) fiction and nonfiction between 500 and 10k words. The story must in some way reflect the experience of a brain injury. There are no restrictions on genre. These types of stories can be expressed through fantasy, realism, horror, or humor. This project is about revealing all sides of the experience.
We are also looking for accompanying photography and artwork.
Who can submit?
Anyone. There is no requirement to have experienced, or even seen, a brain injury. If a writer takes the time to research brain injuries and concussions in order to write a piece that accurately represents the experience, we have already educated one person on the realities of brain injuries.
When is the deadline?
The submission window is open indefinitely. A deadline may be set, depending on the number of submissions, in which case this page will be edited to reflect the new deadline.
Simultaneous submissions are perfectly fine. Let me know if your work is accepted elsewhere. No multiple submissions, please. If your work is rejected, you are welcome to submit again.
How will this be published?
The anthology will be published in a digital format, and it will be free for readers. This is a labor of love. Nobody is making money off Flooded. This project is about supporting the community of TBI survivors and educating people about a widely misunderstood injury. If there comes a time that money is involved, all profits will go to contributors and concussion research.
Because of this, there is currently no payment for contributors.
Ready to Submit?
Email your submission to Flooded@VictoriaGriffin.net. Format your subject line "Submission: Last Name - Story Title" or "Submission: Last Name - Visual Art" Attach your piece as a Word document, double spaced, Times New Roman.
Attach photographs or artwork as png, jpg, or pdf files.
After your submit, you will receive an email confirmation. If you have not received a confirmation within forty-eight hours, please follow up. Your confirmation will also include an invitation to a private Facebook group. This project is about building a community and supporting each other. The group is one way we do that.
Interested but not ready to submit?
Subscribe below for email updates about the project, including the latest call for submissions. When you subscribe to email updates, you will also receive an invitation to the Facebook group. See you there!