There's a call for submissions posted for a lit mag called The New Anonymous, "a print journal whose contributors and editors will remain forever nameless." The stated intention is to serve as a "safehouse" where writers can "question the creative process but also, ... 'play'."
Now I just don't get this pride in anonymity. Am I in deep space or totally out of the conversation or do any other writers also find this secretive measure questionable? How is secrecy a lure? Particularly to a writer who is established (has publishing credits)?
When the words "safe" and "anonymity" are paired, I get the distinct image of FEAR. If a writer is fearful of either her words or the reactions to her words, then isn't her poetic impulse stymied by that fear? Should that inhibition be encouraged among writers? If fearful writers speak the truth only under a mask of anonymity, then at what point will that fear disintegrate? Well, the answer is "Never." Fear will always be present. The best one can do is to acknowledge it, accept it, and keep on writing. Either that, or remain a closet writer, which is to say, remain an egocentric writer.
As far as anonymous editors, well that comes across as a meaningless gesture, some approach toward parity. What's the benefit? Do I want to submit my writing to a panel of unknowns? Do I want my writing judged by these unknowns? Would I feel satisfied if my submission was rejected by these unknown editors? How would I handle acceptance by unknown editors? Would I allow unknown editors to edit my work? No.
This is not about "play," this is about lack of responsibility. The submitting writer accedes to editors who may have no experience, no expertise, no integrity, etc etc. Who in the world would do that?
Play doesn't require secrecy. Experimenting with forms, subject matter, etc should be an exercise that either works or shows where more poetic deliberation may be needed. But it's certainly not an activity that must be shrouded in secrecy. More to the point, if I am experimenting, writing outside my "normal" range, then I do not want this work evaluated by a mystery editor who may or may not have an appreciation of poetic variety. What if I sent a new work steeped in Imagism and the mystery editor was fascinated with the Romantic model or judged successful poetry by rhyme schemes?
This is a reactionary post, and I may dwell on the subject a little longer and find some merit in anonymity. But I do not believe I can accept anonymous "editors." Submitting my work to an unknown arbiter is just foolish.