The Lark is funded by its readers; those individuals who believe that support between artists and thinkers is not only feasible, but intrinsically more valuable than reliance on advertising or pay walls. Your continued support is what manifests this publication and nourishes this growing community. If you would like to support The Lark, please visit our Support page.
There’s a lot one learns from working on a magazine for a full year—especially when the only two content editors live in different states, seven hours apart.
We’ve been blessed with the opportunity to see each other often and work in the same room with more regularity than we expected, but we often work together in other ways, too—video-chatting late into the night, shared documents, a consistently active text-message thread dedicated only to The Lark. In this way, it feels ubiquitous and ever-present in my life. The Lark, as a living being— which I feel it to be— comes up often in my conversations with Em; we re-visit its philosophy, its architecture, its vision, its capacity, and its content any time we are together and often when we are not. The Lark flies into the room when we’re gesturing wildly at one another over drinks, thinking we are talking abstractly. Or The Lark settles on an arm when we are states apart, working on our respective personal projects, talking to people with whom we collaborate in other ways. The Lark perches on the stove when we are cooking dinner during a visit, flies briefly in front of the moon when we walk the footbridge in Belfast, Maine, calls a fragment of song into the subway before the doors close, lands for a moment on the windowsill of a bookstore in Ridgewood, Queens, flies with us for a mile or two when we drive along the coast, shifts weight from foot to foot when we flip a record. The Lark has quite a rousing whistle, early in the morning. The Lark has, on more than one occasion, flown out of a news article and directly into my face. Em and I are fundamentally collaborative people, and luckily, we share vision, philosophy, and adaptability. After a number of years working together on other projects, we know how we Work Together; as a result, much of this process has been both ferociously committed and enormously playful. This is reflected in everything about The Lark. Intentionally, The Lark is expansive.
Intentionally, it is without a lot of exposition, explanation, or guidance. We don’t have word limits. We don’t have genre limits. We are committed to The Lark as a being of possibility and potential, and we are committed to the asterisk and potential footnotes that sit, invisible, after many of the guidelines we have. The Lark is dangerously alive online, as we have said—we want the work that makes it to speak for itself, as itself, in a way that is not static but living, changeable, expansive. And there is risk in that. There is vulnerability in that.
That is part of why The Lark is not a print publication. It’s part of why it’s dangerously alive online, where its reach is unlimited* and it can take any number of shapes, can be formed by different kinds of media, cross-media, inter-media. It’s part of why we are building and then launching a new website with Volume 2, next year— we want the architecture of the thing to reflect this expansiveness, this collaborative nature, that was so central to The Lark’s conception.
These changes are coming, made to reflect not only the philosophy behind The Lark but to reflect the ways in which Em and I work together consistently at a great distance from one another. Such changes are not reflected in this issue, but they are coming. We have been back here, building, for many months, and that inertia has enlivened us and deepened our vision and commitment. This notion of expansiveness and collaboration is part of why we use the word “curation” when we talk about how each issue comes together, and part of why we sometimes reject work that we think is absolutely incredible. It is not just collaboration between us, as editors and makers and creators— we want there to be room for collaboration and dialogue between the works themselves. Even though it can be painful for me, as a reader who falls in love with things, to let go of something that speaks to me, it is a rather miraculous thing to watch the works call back and forth at one another, beg to be close.
This process increases in intensity with every issue, especially since we are now receiving multiple submissions per day, every day. At each issue release, those calls from work to work, across genre and medium, take on a deeper tonality, get a little bit more insistent. The changes that are coming are made to reflect and expand that dialogue, to open the possibilities that exist there. My excitement for that is immeasurable.Having sat on editorial boards for other publications, it is sometimes difficult for me to remember that we are trying to do something different. We are trying to make something with entirely different bones, and we are building, even, the bones. In conceiving of The Lark as a collaborative project, the word “editor” takes on its own asterisks and footnotes and starts to change meaning. We are trying to let other people tell us what matters; we are trying to create a space that is curated and collaborative, expansive and reflective. This takes a new kind of thinking: this is just as much about architecture and process as it is about the works themselves. I am proud of Issue III. I am proud of the entirety of Volume I, even though the word “pride” feels wrong, somehow, since I don’t feel any ownership over this moody, feathered being. Maybe it is more accurate to say: I am in awe of Issue III. There are days when I want to come up to The Lark and lay all my earthly belongings at its taloned feet. I am humbled by the enormity of submissions we have received this year, particularly for this issue. I am humbled by the quality of the work that has been submitted, changed by the things that I have read, deeply affected by the pieces that have clamored for space and ultimately claimed it. Every time I re-read an issue, I realize I am entering a different conversation than the one I did last time I read it. And so here’s to Volume II. Here’s to another year of learning what matters by putting our ear to the pulse. Here’s to thousands more words, photographs, songs, films, fragments, leaps into the unknown. It’s time to hold on.
L.K. & E.H., Editors*