17th March 2020, and the Pushing Out the Boat crew sail into new territory – a virtual team meeting.
Only the most hermit-like reader wouldn’t be able to guess why: the corona lockdown of course.
We embarked on this latest stage of our voyage with some apprehension.
The immediate question was could the team manage the vagaries of Zoom between us so we could continue to ‘meet’? Well, three meetings, a few unintended sightings of passing pets, one member’s exotic (electronic) background of sea and sun and a dropped laptop or two later, the answer’s a definite yes. Of course, we miss the social aspect of a face-to-face encounter but on the plus side our meetings are at least half an hour shorter.
The bigger question was did we have the resource to produce a next issue under potentially extended lockdown conditions? Even here, technology came to our aid. At the time, we lacked a magazine designer. Luckily, the online recruitment resources of Aberdeen Council of Voluntary Organisations/Volunteer Scotland and Creative Scotland identified a number of promising volunteers and after a Zoom getting-to-know-you session, we were pleased to welcome Claire Martin as our new magazine designer. We decided it was all systems go for our 16th issue
The prescience of other team members (not this one) means that authors, poets and artists submitting work to Pushing Out the Boat no longer have to wrestle with paper or canvas, packaging, getting to a Post Office during lockdown, and the tender mercies of the Royal Mail to deliver their precious cargo to us. Submissions have been completely online for a while now: registering an interest and uploading text and graphic files couldn’t be easier. If you’re tempted to try your hand at submitting work, just go to our Submissions page before 30th September and take it from there.
Less positively, corona has had an impact on the steady stream of sales we usually enjoy between issue launches. Most of our wonderful vendors have been closed or operating under severe restrictions for some months now. If you need a magazine fix but can’t visit them, you can still order a copy of Issue 15 online, as well as earlier issues available at a discounted price.
Finally, those of you in the North-East of Scotland may have attended one of our reading events in the past. Frustratingly, these have had to be put on hold at a time when physical gatherings have not been possible. But technology and Aberdeen University have come to our aid: we are sharing an online platform with Leopard Arts for an hour’s online performance at the WayWORD Festival at 7 p.m. on Sunday 27th September. You can register here to view the session. It may be a precursor of other online events to come …
Footnote. Before this article went to press, a further local lockdown was introduced in our hometown of Aberdeen as there was a spike in corona cases associated with the hospitality industry (pubs, clubs and restaurants). All at Pushing Out the Boat hope you’re safe from the virus wherever you are in the world.