I’m finishing up reading submissions for Anomalous #3 and have noticed a trend in submissions. In fact, this is something we’ve talked about before, my editors and I, how sometimes you see things (themes, details, words) come up over and over in submissions.

For issue #1 we noticed a repeated interest in the end of the world. Issue #2 it was species names for bugs. And now I’ve noticed a preponderance of spiders. Not just spiders, those common truisms about spiders, like everyone inadvertently swallows a certain number in their sleep throughout their life, or that you’re never actually more than a certain number of feet away from a spider. This is why I clench my teeth closed every night so hard that I need a mouth-guard, so hard that I’ve already destroyed the elastic holding my jaw together on one side. Because someone told me this as a child, and I determined that I would do everything I could to protect myself. This is also why I’m motion-sensitive – specks of dust in the air catch my eye and make me jump, just long enough to determine it’s not a spider. Because I know they’re everywhere.

Of course, I’m arachnophobic. I learned last summer that I’m more afraid of heights than spiders, though I am induced to panic by both. I learned this summer that the technical term for when hundreds of spiders pour out of your ceiling is a hatching. I learned this while my partner was away for the weekend, and dozens of little tiny microscopic baby spiders were floating past me in the bedroom. “Why are you still in the bedroom?” He asked reasonably. “Get out.” And I did, and in the hall I looked up and saw a swarm of tiny spiders coming out of the ceiling light in the hallway. It might have been the worst thing I’ve ever experienced.

But back to the submissions. It’s kind of awesome that we see these recurring things, I think. Because it means that people are actually thinking about what they send us, what they think we’ll like (and we have consistently had bug-related pieces). And that can only be good.

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