Issue 04: (neg)entropy

Submissions are currently open! Click here to submit your work to Issue 04.

Disorder. Organization. Chaos. Composure.

As COVID-19 has raged on, the structures in our lives have gone through processes of wild transformation. While the pandemic has spurred certain kinds of mere adaptations, such as many work-from-home changes, it has also dismantled our old set of norms and forced us to create new forms of being, from our individual quarantine choices to our collective institutional responses. It has shown us that there is no “new normal.” Instead, we each deal with the (de)constructions in our own way.

We see entropy as the absence of order, where chaos and chance run wild. Negentropy is its opposite: order and structure are queen. Entropy is falling apart, and negentropy is coming together. Entropy is uncontrolled happenstance and negentropy is sustained motion. Right now, we are in the throes of (neg)entropy. In some ways, we are broken down by the chaos – in others, we piece ourselves into a whole.

For Issue 04, Cicada Creative Magazine calls on undergraduates to reflect on our individual and collective experience of (neg)entropy. We intend Issue 04 to be a catalogue of moments, experiences, and reflections on order and disorder as our lives continue to be broken apart and restructured.

Here are a few ideas of what you can engage with. It’s a starting point, not a prompt; feel free to meditate on (neg)entropy in any way you wish.

  • The social media world is abuzz with “self-care” tips that sometimes skew neurotypical or don’t account for the breadth of suffering being experienced around the world. Are institutions crafting narratives of resilience? Are we forcing resiliency onto ourselves?
  • Chaos theory believes that what appears to be random or unpredictable might actually be a complex result within an ordered system. Is chaos natural? Are chaos and order truly opposite? Is chaos a form of order itself?
  • Despite the changes that we can’t control—such as universities deciding what mix of in-person, hybrid, and virtual courses they’ll have—there are transformations we’ve individually experienced that give us agency within a constantly shifting environment. What are little ways of reclaiming ourselves? How do we bring order to our own lives?
  • What is the intersection of (neg)entropy and identity? When we break down and/or pick ourselves back up, are we the same as we were before, or are we something entirely different? To what degree does (neg)entropy construct the self?


Cicada Creative Magazine publishes two issues per year. Our Spring issue has a May 15th submission deadline and publishes in late June. Our Fall issue has a November 1st submission deadline and publishes in late December. Every time we release an issue, we will also announce the theme for our next issue.

Submission guidelines are short and sweet; we're all about being open to any work of any type. When submitting to us, please keep the following in mind:

  • Our only eligibility requirement is that you are an undergraduate student. If you are a recent graduate, you may submit within one year of your graduation, and you may only submit work that you completed during your undergraduate degree.
  • Submit a maximum of 3 works per issue.
  • Works must be previously unpublished. You may simultaneously submit, but please let us know immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere.

  • Submit now!