Literature + Mortality + Design

By Renata Louwers, Editor and Co-Founder

Welcome to Months To Years, a forthcoming digital literary journal! It will serve as a creative space for writing about mortality, death, and dying. American culture excels at churning out excessive noise. It is relentlessly quiet when it comes to exploring mortality. We want to counter that silence.

And so, we welcome you. If you are human, you belong here. We strive to publish creative nonfiction (as well as poetry, photography and art) that explores the human experience as it relates to mortality.

Why dedicate a journal to writing about death? Contemplating mortality – be it by a terminally ill patient, a hospice nurse, a bereaved person, a recovering cancer patient – sparks profound and compelling writing rich in insights about the human condition. It seems it is nearly impossible to contemplate dying without also reflecting on how to live well.

Our inspiration includes voices such as Paul Kalanithi (When Breath Becomes Air), Oliver Sacks (On Gratitude), Nina Riggs (The Bright Hour) Atul Gawande (Being Mortal), and Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking).

This is a space for creativity and big questions. How do we live well when we face terminal illness? How do we maintain hope and joy when the odds are not in our favor? Why is it so hard to live in gratitude and appreciation when we are not facing a crisis? Why are we only acutely aware of our deaths when we are diagnosed with a dreaded disease? How can we cope when death or loss is foremost on our mind yet it seems no one wants to hear about it? How has our culture’s view of death impacted our experience? How do we survive the sudden death of someone close to us? How could the dying and bereaved be better supported emotionally? How might creativity help? Why are the dying often more in touch with living than the rest of us? (See our Submission Guidelines for specifics on how to submit your work.)

We have observed a yearning – among those facing terminal illness and those who have suffered a loss – for a culturally acceptable way to share those experiences and explore their meaning. And we have observed the power of creativity in healing and comforting.

Months To Years is a pending 501(c)(3) nonprofit. It is a digital space dedicated entirely to creative expression. We do not sell advertising. We created Months To Years with a greater purpose. (Read about our history on the Backstory page.) In time, we will build up our Resources page with information to help spouses of terminally ill patients (with a special focus on younger spouses). The Resources page will also include links to writing and healing resources.

With this “soft launch” we introduce the literary journal and our website to you. We will soon post contributors’ work as it is ready. Look for our call for submissions in the November/December issue of Poets & Writers magazine that goes on sale October 11!

In late winter 2018, we will post our first quarterly digital journal issue to the site. It will compile the prior web posts and other submissions into a digital magazine format.

We look forward to interacting with you soon. We hope you find inspiration here and will contribute to the conversation. Drop me a message at May you be peaceful and find joy in reading and writing.