painting by Janine Pickett, acrylic fluid art on canvas. Method balloon dip.
“My heart said, You.”
“My heart said, You” is a quote from a poem by Isabel Chenot that is included in this issue. It seemed to set just the right tone for Spirit Fire Review’s 5th anniversary. We celebrate what God has done in these 5 years. And we are so thankful for all the wonderful people who have submitted work, had work published by us, and who read the poems and essays, and enjoy the artwork.
It touches our hearts that so many previous contributors have responded to our invitation to submit work for this anniversary issue. We value our relationships with such a talented group of writers and artists. Plus, we’re thrilled to welcome new contributors—and at least get to think that we “discovered” them!
As we celebrate this anniversary of Spirit Fire Review, who better to interview than its founder, Janine Pickett! Janine started this journal in 2016 and was its editor-in-chief for over three years before passing that role to yours truly.
Janine, it’s been such a pleasure knowing you these past several years. Tell us, what made
you start this journal in the first place?
Thank you, Cindy, and it’s been a pleasure working with and knowing you, as well. Having been involved in the literary scene for quite a few years, including founding and publishing another online journal, Indiana Voice, I was aware there weren’t many venues available for Christian writing and I wanted to do something about that. I prayed about it often and God put the desire in my heart to start a journal that glorifies Him, and hopefully, blesses others.
I was struggling at the time with what I was finding in so many churches that based their knowledge of God on sin, fear, and religiosity. I knew this journal was supposed to bear witness to the goodness, the power, and the beauty of God while adhering to scripture.
I wanted to see people meet Jesus and share those experiences with us, and with each other, whether it’s through poetry, art, an essay, a song, or a testimony.
When you started out, did you have any idea that five years into the future, Spirit Fire Review
would still be an active journal?
Nothing was guaranteed, but I am extremely delighted that it still exists, and is, in fact, thriving. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to you, Cindy, for keeping it alive and on track,
and to God for blessing us with such an amazing pool of contributors.
What are some of the things you’ve learned along the way?
Publishing a journal takes dedication, hard work, long nights, no pay, but it is extremely rewarding. As Cindy mentioned previously, discovering a new writer is so exciting, and
such a blessing! I believe in letting the poet, artist, writer speak in his or her own creative voice. I’ve always encouraged beginners to edit and polish their works and to not fear rejection slips, but also while editing, don’t lose that “flow” or “little silver thread” running through the works that give the piece that impact! Never give up. Read, submit, consider advice from editors, and listen to that still small voice inside you...in life and in art!
Would you share with us your thoughts and feelings as we recognize this anniversary?
I am extremely proud of this little journal! Pertaining to the groundwork and the business side of getting Spirit Fire Review established among the literary scene, I needed to get
us listed at the major venues. With the exception of Duotrope (thank you, Duotrope!), all
of them declined to list us (although they did list Indiana Voice Journal) stating, “We don’t list or promote cliché magazines written by a select few.” Well, that’s fine. First of all, God
is not a cliché, and so we just kept on publishing. And we are still here, five years later! Praise God!
How has the Lord used this journal to His glory?
The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is alive in us! I believe the poems and photography and essays recorded in this journal are steeped in truth and light. You can’t help but wade through them and feel his love calling us to go deeper! Cindy has a keen sense of selection and God’s beauty shines through each page. We’ve also had readers who have happened by, and after reading through the journal have sent us a message asking for prayer! We love that, too! We carry His kingdom in us, and through our art,
our poetry, our prayers, our words, and declarations, just maybe we bring a little bit of Heaven to Earth.
What have you been up to lately? What are some things that, God willing, you hope to do
in the future?
I’ve been working on restoring my health, my home, and painting with acrylics and resin lately. I refurnished my countertops in this way, with paint and resin, and they turned out beautifully! Creating artwork while meditating on scripture is so calming and restorative
for me. I am fascinated with the way the colors blend and flow! I’m trying out different techniques, such as painting with straw using only my breath, or painting with a chain or
a string. It’s fun, and the results are sometimes astonishing.
In the future, I would love to travel a little more and spend my days with my children, watching my young grandchildren learn and grow. I will also continue writing, painting,
and who knows what else God has in store for me! Thanks, Cindy, for taking the time
to interview me, and thank you for all the work you do for Spirit Fire Review!
Thank you for your kind words, Janine. As we know, God is the one who enables us to do His will. It is our hope and prayer that everyone who hears, or reads, or sees, or even hears about this journal—actually, every person, whether they hear about us or not—will choose Jesus as their Lord and be able to tell Him, “My heart said, You.”
August 2021 issue