Letter from the Editor: My Changing Place at the Table

Dear OTV Artists and Readers,

It has been an honor co-creating Open Thought Vortex with its founder, Shareen Mansfield, and working with the artists who publish here.

When Shareen approached me with her dream, I was all in. She said she wanted to build a publication that showcased talent both new and established and compensated the artists. At first, we weren’t sure what it would look like, but we kept on the path, publishing her work and bringing in more voices as Shareen was able through self-funding. OTV has been through name changes and visual re-branding. It has hosted numerous and diverse voices, and through its evolution, has become a survivor hub of sorts–a safe space for artists to gather and share their most intimate work.

Creating non-competitive, online safe spaces for artists and survivors to gather and deepen the conversation of life (especially as it pertains to social justice and survivorship) is my personal and professional dream. I do it with The Honeyed Quill and Survive Your Story. I do it with #LinkYourLife. I do it with my classes and coaching. I still can’t believe I got to do this with Shareen. What she invited me to establish with Open Thought Vortex is an extraordinary achievement, more than just a coincidence of dreams.

Work here absolutely contributes to discourse on matters of survivorship, social justice and is of exquisite beauty. It has been no small joy for me to be a part of this journey–working one-on-one with artists in the dual capacity of coach and editor.

What artists have placed on the OTV table for public consumption is astounding.

I am so proud of what we have accomplished. So incredibly proud. Thank you to every artist who has worked with me on this platform, who has trusted me to help safely release their story, and who has trusted OTV with the final product. Just as I am eternally grateful to the artists, I will always be grateful to Shareen for the opportunity to be an integral part of something amazing, something that will continue to grow and give back to the world. 

So much trust has been placed in me to curate and care for your stories, it is difficult to announce that I am stepping away as of November 15, 2016. Open Thought Vortex, while not in it’s final form, has absolutely achieved and surpassed the vision Shareen and I set out with. Meanwhile, The Honeyed Quill, Survive Your Story and #LinkYourLife (with Shareen’s help-another achievement beyond the coincidence of dreams) have been growing in the background. It’s time for me to turn my focus.

I know that OTV will continue to be a supportive space for artists and survivors. I don’t think I could confidently move on if I wasn’t certain it will succeed. And while the structure will change, the integrity and mission will not. Open Thought Vortex is your home, the door always ajar. As always, Shareen is right there to greet you, make sure you are comfortable and lay out a mean spread.

As for me, I will still be available to help you survive your stories. You can always find me on The Honeyed Quill, and you will no doubt find me seated at this virtual table on occasion, albeit in a different capacity than hostess.

I am more than happy to announce that longtime regular contributor Kara Post-Kennedy as the new Open Thought Vortex editor. Kara has been working behind-the-scenes for quite awhile now. It is fitting that she will step into a larger role here, especially given her writing in the areas of social justice and survivorship, and her incredible ability to put any heart at ease. Shareen will continue on as she has since she conceived the idea of this space–which is to say, expect the unexpected, and expect it to be fun. And Raymond Baxter will still inhabit his wizard robes. I promise it will be magical.

I look forward to reading your stories on this forum and watching as OTV continues to butterfly.

Please watch for Kara and Shareen’s joint announcement on next steps for OTV. Again, thank you for having me. It has been a most excellent feast.

With love,

Shawna Ayoub Ainslie

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