Taylor Swift Who? (or What's In A Name?)

When Blank Spaces was in the earliest stages of gestation, it was literally that: a blank space.

As I navigated thoughts surrounding the potential of a magazine, I wasn't close to finding a name until I asked myself:

Why start a magazine? What did I hope to accomplish?

taylor swift, blank space, blank spaces, magazine, what's in a nameMy answer came quickly and painlessly: I wanted to help fill the gaps left by major players in the print industry with art that might otherwise go unnoticed.

There are a bajillion artists out there (that's a real number - I looked it up!) — writers, painters, poets, crafters—and until they've built a name for themselves, prestigious titles won't give them the time of day.

A preposterous tragedy!

So the tagline came to me before the name: FILLING THE GAP WITH STORY AND COLOUR.

And what describes a gap better than a blank space?

So, against what I can only imagine is all the marketing and small business advice in the entire world, and with an astounding (and perhaps embarrassing) lack of familiarity with the pop sensations of our current musical climate, I named my baby while she was still in utero; I introduced her, showed off ultrasound photos, bragged about the BIG IDEA that ultimately knocked me up.

"Oh, like Taylor Swift?" someone asked, when I tried to cast my vision-net upon them.

I laughed like I knew what they were talking about and said, "Phht!" Then I ran to Google and typed in [Taylor Swift] [Blank Spaces]

Of course, the wonder that is the internet took me directly to Ms. Swift's critically acclaimed song, Blank Space. 


But then I thought about all those mothers who named their babies Britney in 1989 (I looked that up, too!). The abundance of a shared name never lessened the love any of them had—at least not until they started emulating Britney Spears and her outfits...

So, thanks to all those Britney's, I can shrug off the shadow of Taylor Swift's 1989 Album (see what I did there? I didn't even plan that! Blank Spaces is obviously touched by the Nine Muses) and I can proudly own the early choice I made. (And for the record, I'm not about to change my outfits or style to emulate Taylor, even though she's basically all-that-and-a-bag-of-chips — I'm more of a eat-a-chocolate-bar-while-wearing-yoga-pants kind of girl!)

Blank Spaces is still a name that boasts what I stand for and ultimately, that's the purpose of a name. And there is that line in the song..."I can read you like a magazine," so perhaps it's providence.

I just wish 'Blank Space' didn't dominate Google with such aggressive overpowerment. (I invented that word. I know because I tried to look it up as well. I've poured a lot of research into this post. You're welcome!)

From conception (WHEE!) to birthing pains (groan) to holding that fully baked, glossy babe in my arms (*sigh*) Blank Spaces was, is, and will remain fully mine—no...fully ours. Because without you, I'd just be staring into a big black void and there's nothing very inspiring about that now is there?!

Taylor can have her Blank Space. We're about all the other Spaces!

A name is only as important as what it stands for, and I'm confident in saying that Blank Spaces (with an 'S') stands for something pretty amazing!

Want to see how we've filled the gaps for September? Grab our first GORGEOUS issue right here

Want to be part of the crazy? Submit your work!  

I've got a blank space, baby.
                       I'll write your name.

Blank Spaces - September 2016
Blank Spaces Magazine: Blank Spaces - September 2016
Volume 1, Issue 1 of Blank Spaces is a celebration of Canadian talent, featuring the work of artists—writers, painters, photographers, poets, etc.

  Alanna Rusnak is an author, a blogger, and a seeker of the extraordinary. Living with her husband, three children, and an overweight cat (who's kind of an idiot), on a small patch of untamable land in Southwestern Ontario. Trying to do it all with some measure of grace.
(She is also the founder and Editor-In-Chief of this pretty little magazine!) [author website, twitter, facebook, instagram]

Writing To Find Me...

by Andrea Scoretz

A lot of people have hobbies they use to escape from the stresses of everyday life. I default to writing when stressed, but I don't consider it a hobby, or an escape. 


I write to find myself.

using writing as a tool for self discovery

I've struggled with intense bouts of anxiety since childhood. (Referring to it as "bouts" makes it sound like it was intermittent, so I'll be real here: it was constant.) I worried about everything, to the point that I felt consumed by my thoughts. I was always considering the worst case scenario, peering around the corners of my mind with dreaded expectations of trauma. And I was told I was "too sensitive," which was funny, because the people who labeled me could have benefited from being a little more supportive and sensitive themselves.  #justsaying ;)

I have a brain that craves logic.

A lot of the scenarios I watched play out during my childhood didn't make sense to me. There was a whole mess of illogical stuff going on all the time, and it stressed me the **** out! Because I have a brain that craves logic. I desperately want to fix things that don't make sense, which is an impossible feat at times. I've heard it said that I care too much, which sounds quite negative, but there have been times when I wish I didn't care at all. Still, to this day, I'm learning how to manage this dynamic mind of mine.

As a kid, I had no clue how to manage my anxiety. No one talked about stress or anxiety back then, we just put on the "everything is cool" front and hoped we would fit in (FYI: I am sick of trying to be cool; its soul-stifling work.) What I did do was write, as it was the only thing that slowed down the mental roller-coaster I was constantly riding.

Writing was my loyal comrade.

I had a stash of poems, essays, and journal entries under my bed and in my closet. I wrote every night. If I had a particularly bad day I wrote more than usual. Writing was my loyal comrade, because when I wrote I felt safe and in control, two things I rarely felt during my forced, day-to-day activities. And I was proud of what I wrote. In my heart I knew my writing was worth something, and that there was something special going on in those notebooks.

Writing gave me a fragment of confidence big enough to keep me going when the depression set in.

But then came that one fateful day, when I met alcohol.

I'm not going to get into all the details of what happened next as it's unnecessary. Instead, I'm going to attempt to be succinct and tell the truth, which is this: escaping from your problems instead of facing them is a poisonous plan. You will suffer. Your loved ones will suffer. Every single aspect of your life will suffer if you do not face your pain.

You don't have to do what everyone else is doing: if it doesn't suit your soul, leave it where it lay and move forward.

If you are suffering in any capacity and find yourself reaching for outside sources to numb yourself (drugs, alcohol, shopping, eating, etc) dig deep. Start reading books that inspire you, and open your mind to other ways of existing. You don't have to do what everyone else is doing: if it doesn't suit your soul, leave it where it lay and move forward. Find some new friends. Stop trying to fit in. Consider the idea that you being you is a good thing (because it is!). The sooner you accept yourself, the sooner you can learn to love yourself (which, let's face it, most of us need to learn how to do).

Writing helps me exist on a more peaceful plain.

So now I'm here, with a more positive and productive outlook on life, after many years of struggling. I still deal with anxiety on a daily basis, but I've got a better grasp on that thanks to a meditation practice, and of course, my writing. Writing helps me exist on a more peaceful plain, and brings me back to myself when I get caught up in all the craziness that goes on in this unpredictable world.


Writing makes me a better person.

Writing is not a hobby or an escape for me, it's a zone that I get in, every day, to some degree or another. When the thoughts spill out onto the page, the only word to describe it is magic. I'm not sure where the words come from, they just appear, and something inside tells me I need to write them down (funny enough, this often happens as soon as I start driving). Writing helps me make sense of the things that trouble me. It's also helped enhance my ability to be compassionate, particularly for people I'm not sure are capable of compassion. Overall, writing makes me a better person.

I'm hopeful...

I am very grateful that I was able to come back around to my writing practice. There were scenarios and situations I went through that, if played out differently, might have kept me from being here today. I'm grateful to be here, right now, sharing my journey with others. And I'm hopeful that my words will inspire others to push through the fear and let themselves be known and shown.

Andrea Scoretz, western Canada writer and poet
Andrea Scoretz is a writer from Vancouver Island, BC. Writing since childhood, she took a minor detour from her passion for poetry and self-reflective essays by way of studying computer science and technical writing in college. After working as a technical writer for many years, she decided to return to her creative roots, beginning with the creation of her personal blog, mustlovecrows.com, where she shares stories, poetry, and insights on life. She guest blogs on occasion, and when she’s not writing, reading, dancing, singing or cooking, she’s working as an office manager at a local architectural firm.

You can follow Andrea on twitter @andreaswrites and on Instagram @andreaswrites.

Andrea has an article (Confessions of a Reformed Hater) published in our premiere issue. You can grab your copy here and read how she overcame her anger, encouraging positive living and forward choices through her words.

Do you want to know how you can be a guest blogger on the Blank Spaces blog?
See our sidebar for blog submission guidelines.

Flash Fiction Write Prompt Challenge (December)

If you read our premiere issue cover to cover, you would have found this full page spread on page 41, introducing what we hope will be a regular feature for us here at Blank Spaces.

lady and her dog

It's simple.

  1. We provide an image
  2. You provide a story

The prize? 

Publication in the December issue of our magazine and a complimentary print & digital copy.

The rules?

  1. Write a piece of flash fiction (up to 1000 words) using the image below as inspiration. Our favourite will be published in the next issue of Blank Spaces. Honorable mentions will be showcased right here on this blog. 
  2. Submit to blankspacesmag@yahoo.com with 'Write Prompt Challenge' in the subject line. (There is no fee for this submission)
  3. Deadline to enter is October 10, 2016.
  4. Open to all Canadians.

write prompt challenge, flash fiction inspiration

Questions? Feel free to use the comment section to get any clarity you need.

Good luck!

From the Editor - September, 2016

as shown on page 5 of Blank Spaces Volume 1, Issue 1 - September, 2016

http://blankspaces.alannarusnak.com/p/meet-editor.html When the inspiration for Blank Spaces struck I found myself heady with anxiety: would people actually care? What a thrilling surprise to learn that yes, in fact, they do! Canadians are hungry for content that reflects who we are and what we stand for, and I am beyond excited by the great pieces that came across my desk as I sent out feelers, looking for talent and collaborators.

One of my goals in this venture was to create a platform that is open to people just testing the waters with their craft. The encouragement I can administer by saying yes to a newcomer may birth a bravery within someone looking for a future in their chosen art. I count that an incredible privilege and I’m proud to be able to offer a space in which potential can be groomed.

This is only the beginning. I’m thrilled you’re here, holding this heart-project in your hands, dedicating your time to read and enjoy the work of some amazing artists.

I’m excited to see how far we, together, can take Blank Spaces.

        Alanna Rusnak—Editor in Chief

To purchase the issue this letter from the editor appeared in, click the link below:

Blank Spaces - September 2016

Blank Spaces Magazine: Blank Spaces - September 2016
Volume 1, Issue 1 of Blank Spaces is a celebration of Canadian talent, featuring the work of artists—writers, painters, photographers, poets, etc.