Twice a year, something extraordinary is created at UNF. It’s a combination of letters, words and sentences which deliver feeling, passion and meaning into the world of creative writing; it is called Fiction Fix.
The first five issues, starting in 2002, were printed annually, but due to minimal funding, Fiction Fix went to online-only publication in 2009.
The staff is looking at this as a positive move, with endless space online they can accept longer stories and add color and vibrancy with artwork, said Fiction Fix’s fourth editor in chief, April Bacon.
Mark Ari, a UNF creative writing instructor, founded the publication nine years ago, with help from the students involved in his writing workshops. July 4 marked the release of the seventh issue.
“If I didn’t have students with fire in their belly and the motivation to succeed, none of this would have happened. Fiction Fix wouldn’t exist,” Ari said.
The people involved solely fund the publication, and volunteers make up the staff.
“To get on the staff, we go by recommendation from a writing teacher or someone with experience. FF is eclectic; we want people with all different visions to be on staff, it’s just a matter of dedication. We need to be able to depend on people once they’re in,” Ari said.
The most recent issue features artworks by UNF art professor Louise Freshman-Brown and her former student UNF alumni Devin Balara. Freshman-Brown submitted 11 mixed-media photographs and Balara contributed 13 nebular and galactic-inspired finger paintings.
“I took her senior portfolio class, and each week she would tell us tons of things to apply to,” Balara said. ”Since there was no fee to apply for Fiction Fix, I sent them some digital images and they responded by telling me that I got it. She’s one of my favorite professors. I felt really honored.”
Bacon calls the spring issue the ‘special issue,’ not only because of the featured artwork but because it’s so short. Normally running nearly 100 pages, the new issue is just 43, with stories running between one and four pages.
The only other issue to feature artists as well as authors was issue six, which ran last fall online. Although the art has drawn a large increase in the amount of readers, the publication’s main focus has always been creative and fictional short stories. Marianne McKey, a UNF English junior, has written a story called “The Christmas Present,” which was published in issue seven.
He crouched; beads of sweat began to gather at his hair line. The laundry room closet. He had seen her put the bright red shiny wrapped box on the top shelf next to the bleach. Every day, since mama had placed the present on its makeshift pedestal, he would make up a reason to go to the laundry room, searching for lost socks or getting a towel for bath time. All just to get a look.
“[The story idea] was mostly just a random fluke of inspiration,” McKey said.
Fiction Fix continuously accepts story and art submissions by authors and artists at UNF, around North Florida and from all over the world. It is a unique outlet for the creative writing community.
“It’s been a great vehicle for students. They do the driving, and I sit in the back seat,” Ari said. “We’ve made something very special. Real writing communities come from people working shoulder to shoulder, being able to ask each other for advice, collaboration and spreading the word. It comes from the ground up.”
For the rest of McKey’s story and others, check out the publication online at ficitonfix.net