Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

OLLI Reflections Magazine

Submit Your Work to Reflections 2020

Reflections is OLLI’s annual journal of literature and art created by OLLI members. You can send in your submission between now and April 1. You do not have to have taken a writing or art or photography class at OLLI to submit. You do have to be a current OLLI member. Below are the rules and regulations about submitting; be sure to follow them closely.

Submissions are “blind.” You submit them by e-mail, without your name on the submitted work. The e-mails and submissions are given matching code numbers and are kept in separate folders. After the deadline, the submissions are sent, without submitters’ names, to the selections team.

These rules may seem very complicated. But they were designed so that you can submit your best work, and so that we can keep track of names and submissions. Please read them through before you start: we don’t want to lose track of you!

(Hint: Print out the rules so you can check off each step as you complete it.)

First, prepare your submission

How many? You may submit up to two items in each of the categories: Poetry, Prose, Photography, and Art.

Written submissions

  • Prose: 1,000 words or less, 12-point type, double-spaced, one-inch margins, pages numbered
  • Poetry: 12-point type, single-spaced, pages numbered
  • Microsoft Word format (.doc or .docx) or Rich Text format (rtf) We can NOT process Apple Pages or Adobe .pdf files!
  • We cannot accept revisions to your submission after we receive your entry.
  • Make sure that you name or rename the electronic file of your written piece with the same title as the actual submission. If you don’t do this, we may lose track of your submission! For a story titled “Joe’s Boat House,” send an attachment (see below) with the file name doc

Photo and art submissions

  • Photos: Submit an electronic (digital) file in .jpg or .jpeg format (this is the regular format for most cameras).
  • Artwork: Take a digital picture of your non-photo artwork. The PhotScan app from Google Photos is very useful and is available for both Android and iPhone devices. For sculpture or other 3-D items, take a digital photo against a suitable background.

Make sure that you name or rename the electronic file of your photo (or the photo of your art) with the same title as you list in the actual submission. If you don’t do this, we may lose track of your submission! For a photo titled “Sunset at Biddeford Pool,” send an attachment with the file name sunsetatbiddefordpool.jpg

Some notes about artwork

  • If your name or initials are on a drawing, painting, etc., take two pictures — (1) the item as-is, and (2) the item with your name or initials hidden. A little piece of paper or sticky note will do the trick.
  • Note: We will conduct one or more artwork-scanning workshops at OLLI before the deadline. Watch your e-mail and the OLLI Newsletter.

Some notes about photos

  • It’s O.K. to manipulate the image: crop, straighten, adjust contrast and lighting, etc.—even create an abstract from it.
  • Most cameras today produce photos that are sharp enough for publication. Two factors can result in a photo that is not sharp enough to print (even though it looks O.K. on your computer or phone).
    • First, make sure you send the original and not the little thumbnail.
    • Second, if you crop a photo too much, the result may not be sharp enough.
  • One rough measure of the sharpness of your photo is the size of the .jpg or .jpeg file. More is better—at least 200 KB (kilobytes), but one MB (megabyte) or more is preferred.


Second, start an e-mail with some information about you

Write an e-mail with the following required information in the body of the e-mail. (You can copy and paste this section into the body of your e-mail.) Don’t send it yet!

  • Your name
  • Your phone number and e-mail address
  • A short third-person biography (“Sam Jones is a writer who…” not “I am a writer who…”) 35-word maximum)
  • The category of work you are submitting
    • Art (Include the medium—oil, watercolor, pastels, ink, pencil, sculpture, etc. Please include a few words, 20 maximum, about what prompted the artwork.)
    • Photography (Please include a few words, 20 maximum, about what prompted the photo.)
    • Poetry
    • Prose (include genre—fiction, memoir, essay)
  • The title of your work (same as the file name of your electronic submission)

Reflections may include some of your comments about the artwork or photos, subject to editing for length.


Third, review the following rules

Deadline is April 1, 2020.

  • You must be a current OLLI member.
  • You may submit up to two works in each of the categories: art, photo, poetry, prose.
  • Each submission must be sent as an attachment in a separate e-mail. If you send three items, you will send three e-mails.
  • Each work you submit must be your own creation and must not have appeared in another publication.
  • Do not put your name anywhere on your written or visual work. All submissions are judged “blind.”
  • If you submit elsewhere, you must let us know if your work is accepted. If we accept your work, you must inform anyone else to whom you submitted your work.


Fourth, send your submission

  • Attach your submission to the e-mail you just wrote and send it to the Submissions Manager at tbaehr@aol.com with Reflections in the subject line.
  • Compose a separate e-mail and attachment for each item you submit.
  • NOTE: Submissions will be acknowledged starting sometime in March.
  • If you run into technical difficulties: Attaching a photo to an e-mail can be tricky if you’ve never done it. If you have questions or problems, you will probably find the solution with a Google search, or a visit to Apple’s Genius Bar, or by consulting a friend. As a last resort, get in touch with our Submissions Manager, Tim Baehr, at tbaehr@aol.com or 899-1043. Get help early, not in the final rush to the deadline.


Fifth, wait patiently

After the submissions deadline, the Submissions Manager will forward the (anonymous) submissions to the selections team on the Reflections Committee.

The selections team will complete their work around the end of summer. Submitters will be notified a few weeks later, after the layout for Reflections has been completed.

Some final notes

  • USM will copyright Reflections. But members will retain the copyright to their own works. For this to be accomplished, members whose work has been accepted will be asked to grant first-publication rights to USM. This is a common practice in journals with multiple contributors.
  • If Reflections is offered as an online version, art and photos will be reproduced at a much lower resolution to discourage appropriation or use by others.