The Origin Story of 'Brave Voices Magazine'

Creating Brave Voices Magazine was both spontaneous and planned decision. This blog post will hopefully do its story justice. 

I like to think it started the moment that I heard Sara Bareilles' song Brave. In a way, that was the moment where I decided that I wanted to be brave. It feels cheesy to admit that that song is where it started, but in a way it's true, even though 16 year old me had no idea that she would go to Ball State University, study creative writing, and become editor in chief of her own literary and arts magazine.

"Say what you wanna say, just let the words fall out. Honestly, I want to see you be brave." It felt like those words were written just for me (even though they weren't). It became my motto. I would mean every word I spoke and wrote, even if it terrified the shit out of me. 

I had been through a lot of difficult things before hearing that song and I would go through a lot of difficult things afterwards. I struggled with my identity, grief, feeling left out, mental health, and poverty.  However, writing helped me to be brave. I hope that Brave Voices Magazine can help others be brave too. 

In a lot of books and essays about craft that I've read, the advice is to not let the "inner critic" take over. In other words, it means to tell your story without filter, even if it scares you.

During my sophomore year, I would find myself contributing to some online magazines and the art community. One of these publications was A Feminist Thread (an intersectional feminist arts collective). When it became live on the internet, I was envious. Why didn't I come up with that? I wanted to start a project like that, but I simply couldn't due to the demands of the education program I was in. 

Almost two years later, I changed my major to creative writing. Even though I was still busy, I knew I could take on such a large project and wanted to. One day, I came up with the name, the logo, the website, the mission, and roles that I wanted filled so I wouldn't run the publication all by myself. The process of doing this took about seven hours, but I loved it. That night I couldn't sleep because I was thrilled that people were interested in this project. After most of the groundwork was laid, I ordered Chinese takeout to celebrate. Life was (and is) pretty dang good. 

I don't know how successful this project will be or how long this new adventure will last, but I'm looking forward to all of it. The ups, the downs, the chaos, the pride of putting out issue after issue, and the sheer enjoyment of doing what I never thought I could. 

Audrey, proud Editor in Chief of Brave Voices Magazine


Audrey Bowers