‘Humans in the Wild’ anthology is Complete… We Just Have to Publish It

By: Jen Russon

Anthology cover page
The artist’s Cuban-born father rejected the draft, for which he faced political imprisonment. After President Carter’s deal, he was able to find that freedom and democracy he yearned for in the U.S.
Art by Ashley Matarama

The following pieces were selected to appear in Swallow Publishing’s first anthology, Humans in the Wild: Reactions to a Gun Loving Country. My sponsor for this project, Mythic Picnic, sent payment to the writers involved in this project, and I thank him profusely for making the culmination of both literary and artistic talent possible in this upcoming publication.

The image you’re seeing at the top of this post was chosen for the anthology cover, and artwork dividing the sections is by the artist, Stephen Mead, whose titles are listed below.

There were a few names on this list that have required second attempts to render payment, but I should get to the bottom of it long before we go to print. For the hundreds of you who submitted works for consideration and never heard anything from me, please know how sorry I am.

As the sole editor on a project that exceeded my wildest expectations in terms of how much action it would get, I simply lacked the time and savvy to acknowledge receipt and give feedback to everyone.

As I said the last time I posted about this, I didn’t receive a single poem, story, art piece or essay that I didn’t find extremely moving. Culling things down to this list was one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced as an editor.

If you’d like to reach out to me or Mythic Picnic – anybody reading this is encouraged to contact us.  

For those who don’t know, Mythic Picnic is a hybrid cross between a literary magazine and twitter: a twitterary magazine. MP hosts tweet story contests and giveaways for indie authors who need help getting noticed.

Last fall, Mythic Picnic helped me promote my own novel that opens with gun violence, Persephone Underground. It wasn’t long before we put our heads together, found Kathy Fish, and decided to make the world a better place with an anthology about how vulnerable we humans are in a broken world that still manages to sparkle with beauty and grace.

We are hoping to publish the anthology before the end of 2020, a year that – in spite of being marred by a global pandemic – has at least been free from the number of mass shootings we saw in years before.

I think I read that March, 2020 was the first month in eight years that passed without any school shootings – but all of you artists who have come together to rail against senseless acts of violence and donate to organizations that fight it, are still so important and will continue to be into an unknowable future. Thank you all!


  1. A Peaceful Place by Mike Sullivan
  2. April 3 by David Cody
  3. Balancing the Scales of Justice by Marie Anderson
  4. Beside the Dying Fire by Carlton Herzog
  5. Thoughts and Prayers by Justin Short

Flash Fiction

6. Collective Nouns for Humans in the Wild by Kathy Fish

7. Hard Hug by Sherry Morris

8. Police Calls by Christine Whitlock

9. Target Practice by Martha Patterson  

10. Hot Shot Golf by Robert Nelis

11. A Teacher Prepares for a (Bombogenesis) Live School Shooter by Jen Karetnick


  1. “How Came These Things to Pass?” by Annie Dawid
  2. Iraq Double Take 2003, by Kelly Hayes-Raitt
  3. A Professional Performance by Lindsey Byars
  4. GOING HUNTING by Cynthia Close
  5. The Man with a Gun by Cynthia Graee


17. Lesson Plan by Cate Mcgowan

18. Guns Don’t Kill People Fast Enough by Steve Sibra

19. Rifle by Mike Baldwin

20. You Cannot Know by Philip Brent

21. War & Children by Fabiyas M V

22. A Broken World by Monique Hugo

23. Memo to the Powers That Be by Janet M. Powers

24. SNIPER  (Viet Nam) by Ray DiZazzo

25. “When Despair for the World Grows in Me” by Dina Friedman

26. I Toast a Most Solemn Occasion by Ruth Sabath Rosenthal 

27. Ode to Cecil and Others of Similar Fate by Hardarshan Singh Valia

28. Stick by Your Guns by Gerard Sernat

29. Divorce & Mass Shootings In The Time Of Trump by Alexis Rhone Fancher

30. Maybe by Laura Rodley


31, 32, 33. Stephen Mead: Sleight of Hand (Just to Get Away), Listen, Kiddies, Well, Seeing as How You are the Leader of the Free World and All

34. Ashley Mantararma: Anthology cover

**Anthology includes a short forward by Jennifer Russon and backmatter that should consist of 32 author/artist bios

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