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January 2008


by John Clay, editor-in-chief

Happy New Year to all of Bhag's artists, writers, and viewers around the world. As we begin our eighth year, we continue to provide a unique forum for publication on the web: A web magazine which is open and welcoming and, at the same time, critically responsive.

We human beings are social animals. We need each other for happiness, inspiration, and prosperity. Bhag.net is built on the principle that critical feedback is essential for our development as artists and writers. Feedback, from any source, is neither pure enlightenment nor plain rubbish. Just as others sort through our art and make a variety of judgments and choices about what works and what doesn't, so must we sort through their feedback and choose what, among their reactions or comments, works and what doesn't. We must never be ruled by feedback from others. The final choice—what to do, how to do it—rests with each one of us alone. And that principle is built into bhag as well: Our editors provide feedback, and as long as the work does not contain threatening or hate-based content and recipes for violent acts or tools of destruction, we leave the decision to the artist or writer to incorporate all or some or none of what we say.

And the fact is that the writers who submit work to bhag often perform one more draft of revision and polishing after receiving bhag's editorial feedback. And the artists—whose works, by their physical nature, typically are fixed in place and not easy to revise—often digest the food for thought for their future artworks. Why? Because bhag's editorial feedback is thoughtful, constructive advice—for free—something most artists and writers are desperate to find but have trouble finding from friends, family, and associates.

Bhag's artists and writers tell us we are on the right track, providing an important service to creative people through our editorial feedback and publishing.

One writer, to be published this year in bhag, shared these thoughts

I really appreciated the feedback you sent. I was trying to get feedback like that for quite a while just after I finished it (three years ago), and no one was able to really provide any creative criticism...just a few comments here and there, so thanks for reading it and taking the time.... I hope to make some major revisions to the screenplay.

One of our published artists had this to say

Thank you so much for your wonderful review of my art. it was so refreshing receiving some outside views for a change.... I usually expect slightly harsher reviews since my art is not academically based but experimentally charged, and it was great reading a review that places a positive light on that. You gave incredibly constructive criticism. Stephanie's analysis was also fantastic. Thanks a lot to both of you.

And another of our artists

Thank you for your comments, I appreciate them very much. Especially from a person who sees as much in the realm of arts as you do!

Want to publish? Get the details from our Publish Here page. Just exploring? Enjoy recent posts in bhag's Art and Writing, including photography and jewelry by Elizabeth Bache in Visual Art, poetry by Jo Ann Nay in Literary Art, and previously unpublished material in a new edit of bhag's interview with anthropologist Mary Douglas in Interviews.

© John Clay

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