S.Y.S. (Send Your Saudade.)

We're seeking submissions for our very first anthology! The theme: saudade.

If you don't know what that means, don't worry. Saudade famously has no direct English translation; it’s a Portuguese word describing the nostalgic longing for something that may never return, or may not exist. This feeling can be strangely comforting; research (read: Google) leads us to a description from author Manuel de Mello (or de Melo, depending on the website), who calls it “A pleasure you suffer, an ailment you enjoy.” It permeates the music of Brazil, another nation steeped in slavery and sadness and the hope for a better life; one can easily hear it in the songs of João Gilberto or Antonio Carlos Jobim. (This NPR piece is a great primer for anyone interested in learning more about this emotion and its musical manifestations.) Yet this heartsick yearning’s already very familiar to those of us born and raised in North America; we often call it “the blues.” (B.B. King’s “The Thrill Is Gone” is a prime example; even if you couldn’t understand the words, every note of the guitar rings with desire and ache.)

We’d like to get your saudade down on paper.

Our crack Tortoise Books team is assembling a collection of pieces exemplifying this universal emotion. Poetry, stories, essays, drawings, you name it: we’re less concerned with form than with feeling, and as long as it fits the mood, we’d be glad to have it! (And probably also a little sad and wistful, once we read it.) We're collecting submissions through the end of the year; you can either submit a quick note about your work via the form on the "Why Tortoise Books" tab, or email a copy to editors at tortoisebooks dot com. (Sorry we can't put the proper email in...the robots are watching!) For any piece published, the author will receive $10 or three contributor copies.

We're looking forward to reading your work!

- The Tortoise Books Staff