The Reckon Women newsletter by Reckon South got a makeover and is now HONEY. And of course, I got a graphic tee to celebrate the glow up. Abbey Crain, the creator and editor of the newsletter, describes Honey as “a sweet spot for girls, gays and theys in the South” who want to stay up to date with and discuss the tough stuff that has been kept quiet.

Since 2019 I’ve been the curator of the Reckon Women Voices column, which publishes personal essays by Southern women each week. The Reckon Women Voices column is now the Honey Voices column with a focus on amplifying the voices of women and the LGBTQ community.

Get submission guidelines here and send your essay ideas to me at javacia@seejanewritebham.com.

To get your muse moving, check out these essays:

I like my queerness southern fried

Black women care for everyone. When will Georgia care for us?

Meet the Creator and Editor of Honey, Abbey Crain

I recently had a chat with Abbey, who’s been covering women and gender issues for Reckon South for 3 years, to discuss the inspiration behind Honey and more.

For people who don’t have the pleasure of knowing you IRL, tell us 5 things we should know about you. 

I’m pop culture obsessed. I started painting people’s nudes during quarantine and it’s become a whole side hustle that has affected how I think, report and listen to others. I come from a huge family and am the biggest empath; I thrive in intimate conversations at large, high-energy gatherings. I love being the hype woman for strangers, acquaintances, and friends.

You’ve said that Honey is meant to be a safe space for “girls, gays, and theys” of the South — which I LOVE. What inspired your shift in focus for the newsletter? 

While I began my career as a gender issues reporter, I focused primarily on sexual violence and reproductive justice. I’ll never forget when I was corrected by a brave reader who emailed me and explained why I should use “pregnant person” instead of “woman” when referring to someone receiving obstetric care. And then again when someone on Twitter explained the importance of highlighting trans and queer sexual violence in my stories about domestic violence, as the LGBTQ community has some of the highest rates of sexual assault and homicide. I learned intersectionality in my reporting, and I wanted a space that was welcome to all the folks affected by the South’s most prevalent issues.

I love the name Honey so much that I already bought a t-shirt from Etsy to celebrate. What was the inspiration behind the name — and also will there be official merch because I’m ready to buy that, too?

I was trying to think of something that you could hear and know it would include you. I hear “honey” and think of the way folks have used it patronizingly to belittle women. I hear “honey” as a rallying cry of encouragement for friends on the dance floor. I also hear “honey” as the sweet pet named bestowed on us by our elders. We know who Honey refers to. And if you think it’s you, it’s you. 

And I KNOW I can’t wait for merch. I got you. “Will it look cute on merch?” was a question I asked myself when coming up with a name.

What kinds of essays are you hoping to see in the Honey Voices column?

I want to hear your stories about you championing the causes you care about, the ones you think should be talked about more in the South. I want to hear the stories passed down through generations and how YOU changed the narrative. I want to hear your queer ballads to your child self, your celebrations of Southern culture or your journey turning away from the things you were taught. I can’t wait to hear what you come up with.

P.S. — If you want to write personal essays with me and the women of See Jane Write this summer, sign up for the Mini-Memoir Writing Workshop.