I was curious how and why this began, so I asked Founder Tara Sage a few questions to find out. See my interview with Sage and a link to submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about Sheulogy.
SAGE: First, thank you so much for sharing Sheulogy with your community, Trish. I so appreciate it. Sheulogy.com is a passion project. It’s a writer’s gallery and global community of shoe lovers who connect through walk-a-mile-in-my-shoes stories about life’s jouney. The ultimate mission behind Sheulogy is to promote empathy and understanding for different experiences and points of view, something I think the world really needs right now. It is designed to be a place of participation and connection.
Something to know about me, is that I’m a lover of made-up words. As submitted to Urban Dictionary, I define sheulogy as “a speech or piece of writing that memorializes a favorite pair of worn out shoes.” A good eulogy is a celebration of life. A good sheulogy is a celebration of life and shoes. A sheulogy conveys simple elegant truths, giving us a glimpse into the unique journey of an individual, and their shoes.
HOPKINSON: How/why was Sheulogy originally started?
SAGE: The concept and heartstrings behind it has roots in my own family. When the idea for Sheulogy first came to me, I chuckled at it, bought the domain for $10, and then filed it away where it sat untouched. Perhaps in the future I’ll do something with it, I thought.
The idea came on the heels of my having written a eulogy for my father after his death in 2018. His running shoes were central to the story that I told. Time and again, I have personally experienced how healing it can be to write poignant personal stories of life, death, lessons, and legacy. Even moreso when they are shared.
After having set it aside, Sheulogy reemerged when my sister – who had no knowledge of the idea – shared a story about Mira, my 5-year-old niece, who was mourning a favorite pair of worn out shoes. If you go to the website, sheulogy.com, you’ll see a picture of my niece in the header. She’s holding her cherished red sparkly shoes that, sadly, she had outgrown. Mira’s touching story is now one of our featured sheulogies. It’s proof that, at all ages, we love our shoes and it can be hard say goodbye.
HOPKINSON: Who is your target reader audience?
SAGE: People who appreciate well-crafted, true, personal journey stories. And shoe lovers, of course. My big vision for Sheulogy (see it with me please) is Humans of New York appeal + the art of true storytelling rivaling The Moth Radio Hour. I think sheulogy taps into something universal. We all have a story to tell, and we all can benefit from gaining a window into the personal journeys of others. It can be so enriching and a way to really promote a sense of appreciation for our shared humanity. Together we really are so much more.
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
SAGE: Anyone can submit a story and be considered for publishing at Sheulogy.com. Authors and non-fiction writers are especially welcomed. We delight in poignant stories of those who’ve walked a path less traveled or have had an extraordinary experience along their journey. Stories that, through their telling, enrich, inspire, move or entertain the reader. Pieces that touch our soul and tap into something universal, whether it makes us laugh, warms our heart, or inspires us to be more kind — these are the submissions that we are eager to publish.
We have published prose, poetry, and even a personal letter. For anyone considering sending a submission, we recommend reading some of the published sheulogies on the site first to get a sense of the tone and feel we’re looking for.
HOPKINSON: What do you wish you’d see submitted, but rarely comes in?
SAGE: Well, although the submissions so far have been great, I will say that a lot of them are rather heavy. Which is totally welcomed, of course, but I would love to receive a few truly hilarious sheulogies, sheulogies that are equally heart-warming but of a lighter nature, mainly just to balance the content.
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite lit mags/journals?
SAGE: Much to the chagrin of your readership, I must admit I’m not an avid literature magazine reader. Most of what I read is by self-help authors and “how to” books about life hacks. As much as I love the craft of writing and, since childhood, writing has always been part of my life … my professional focus is my work as a life and business coach. Since 2004, that’s been my business. I am a three-time published author, with a forth book in the works, all on topics that are in some way related to my profession. This week I picked up a copy of City of Girls for some pleasure reading. I hope that doesn’t disqualify me.
HOPKINSON: Where can folks send submissions?
SAGE: Hop on over to Sheulogy.com and you’ll see in the menu at the top Submit Your Story. Whether you submit a story or not, I will say too that we so appreciate comments from our readers. Sheulogy is a growing community and a place of participation.
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
SAGE: Yes, of course! On sheulogy.com, in the menu at the top, you’ll see Contact. There’s a form on that page to send us a question or make a request.
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Always open, year-round
SUBMISSION FEE: None
FORMS: prose and poetry