Hello my dear masoch... ahem, I mean--
Hello brave soul! Welcome to the killing fields known as the literary journal slush pile. You think you want to weed through it? Well, expect to see it all here. You'll see some truly amazing submissions in your tour of duty--and you'll be forced to make many a tough decision.
You'll also see a fair amount of stories about talking pets (no disrespect to talking pets).
Being a reader can teach you a whole lot--it shows you the behind the scenes agonizing that takes place, gives you that insider knowledge of this disgusting industry. It forces you to look critically at writing in a way no workshop can quite imitate--you're the final stop on the line, and it is no longer about improving the art but instead you are forced to thumbs-up and thumbs-down people's emotional labor like Caligula, ranking the sweat of fellow writers and deeming which piece most deserves publication.
Basically what I'm saying, is that the slush pile is a direct reflection of the sick, late capitalist hellhole we live in. It's a zero sum game with limited space and time. You'll love it.
The good news is that at least you're not an Editor, who get no end of textual abuse and fun threats from angry writers. Which, by the by, we're recruiting for Editors soon too! Be sure to check out future issues/our social media for announcements about that.
The other piece of good news is that it can be truly inspiring. You'll be seeing writing from all over the world from all sorts of writers at all sorts of levels and as you agonize over decisions, if you're paying close attention, you will absorb some of the core concepts about what makes a piece sing, what makes it stand out. You will be bombarded with unique ideas and daring writers who take a chance on walking the high-wire and fall half-way through, but damn what a spectacle, what an attempt! When you're reading through submissions, you can't help but reflect on your own writing and ways to improve it. The slush pile can be your primeval pond where you evolve as a writer and come out as a frog or something.
"But," in the words of LeVar Burton, "you don't have to take my word for it!" Give the application a shot and see if the killing fields are for you.