Welcome to La Concha, the quarterly magazine of American Pilgrims on the Camino. You’ll find interesting news about the national organization, activities that our chapters sponsor and updates about the Camino de Santiago. You’ll also find member-submitted essays, photographs, art and poetry about their Camino experiences. We regularly publish book reviews, recipes and more. Each issue is emailed directly to members.
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2024 La Concha Themes
“Rhythms of the Way: Lighten Your Load”
The Annual Gathering of Pilgrims marks the unofficial start to a new pilgrimage year. The theme for the 27th Annual Gathering of Pilgrims (March 7-10 in Hunt, TX) is “Rhythms of the Way: Lighten Your Load.” We have drawn on the Gathering’s overarching theme to form a cohesive set of quarterly themes to guide a year of shared reflections, poetry, and imagery in La Concha. We invite you to think ahead to how your personal experiences, scholarship, creative works, and insights intersect with these themes La Concha will explore in upcoming seasons:
- Rhythms of the Way (Spring 2024): How do you experience the cycles, repetitions, or patterns of pilgrimage? In this issue, we will consider the cadence of Camino. Did your steps fall in sync with a Camino family? Or did you prefer to march to your own beat? What lessons did you discover as you lost your pilgrim footing? What routines or practices helped you find your pilgrim flow? What ancient vibrations did you sense as a modern pilgrim?
- Lightening Your Load (Summer 2024): What did you choose to jettison on pilgrimage? In this issue, we will explore the ways we strip away the unessential and lay down our burdens to make way for magic. How did a fellow pilgrim or hospitalero help lighten your load, literally or figuratively? How did a practical decision or disciplined practice open the possibility of pilgrimage for you or allow you to experience the Camino’s primal simplicity?
- Adding to Your Pack (Autumn 2024): What did you pick up and carry on your journey? In this issue, we consider the tangible and metaphorical souvenirs we collect on Camino. Is there a cherished trinket you acquired along the way or a talisman that helps you sustain your pilgrim spirit. What lessons did you bring home from your journey and how do you apply them in daily life? What Camino experiences indelibly stamped and changed you?
- Keeping Time (Winter 2025): Returning home, what rhythm and tempo did you set? In this issue, we explore the ways we bring the rhythms of pilgrim life and daily life into syncopation. How did you cope with the post-Camino blues? How did you recalibrate your back-home routine to keep your pilgrim heart beating? Did you make radical changes or more subtle shifts? How are you keeping your connections to the Camino vibrant back home?
We invite American Pilgrims members to share their pilgrim experiences and insights on these themes over the coming year. Watch your email for our call for submissions and associated deadlines for La Concha. If you would like to submit materials, but are not yet an American Pilgrims member, learn more at AMERICANPILGRIMS.ORG/MEMBERSHIP.
Your contributions can take the form of:
- Personal reflections, essays or poems,
- Original artwork,
- Photographs, or
- Personal interest stories on the events and people that have provided that spark you needed to deepen your engagement as a pilgrim.
Please limit essays to a maximum of 400 words.
The submission deadline for the Spring issue is March 30, 2024.
Please use only our online submission form for your submissions and be sure to review our submission guidelines below before sending us your item. Click on the button above to submit your reflection or image.
La Concha includes as many submissions as possible in each issue, but we may defer some to future issues.
Members always receive direct email delivery of the latest issue. Please consider renewing or join and become a member today!
We are volunteer editors eager for your submissions to our publication. Please read these guidelines carefully to save yourself—and us—work:
What we accept:
1) Material from current members of American Pilgrims only. If you want to submit your work and your membership has lapsed, please renew. Make sure you include your town/city and state of residence with your submission.
2) Work submitted via our online form as a Microsoft Word document. If you don’t have access to Microsoft Word, please contact the editors by email for other options.
3) Articles with a 400-word maximum, with one exception: we may include one tightly written article of up to 800 words in each issue. If more than one submission meets that 800-word criteria, we will select one and hold others for future consideration.
4) Links to a website or video with your submission only if these do not have commercial content.
5) Up to three photos with your article that follow these specifications. Please ensure that the photos are the correct size. We cannot run images that are too small.
a) Format: 300 dpi, JPEG or TIFF image files. We cannot use PDF files or photos embedded in a Word document.
b) File sizes should be between 500 KB and 2 MB.
c) Photos should include the following information:
- Photographer’s name.
- Photo location and date, even if you are only sure it was between places X and Y and, for example, in the spring of a certain year.
- Identity of people in the photo (please specify “from left to right” or “from top to bottom”), unless it is a group photo. If that’s the case, don’t list all the names.
d) Photos that stand alone, without an accompanying article, are limited to two per submission. They must meet the size specifications listed above.
What we cannot accept:
- Submissions that are promotions or advertisements.
- More than two stand-alone photos in one submission.
- Photos embedded in a Word document.
- Submissions as PDF files.
If you have questions or feedback, please send an email to our editor.
Whether you are an oft-published author or will be seeing your writing and name in print for the first time, we want to hear from you!
- A poem, song or blessing reflecting a pilgrim’s perspective
- A special photograph or original artwork
- A Camino recipe
- A work of research or scholarly observation
- A book, video or CD review
- Camino-related activities in your part of the country
- Money-saving tips and practical advice on packs, clothing or medical issues
- Vignettes or nuggets of information, even if only a few sentences