In an effort to continue the conversation of speaking up, I thought spotlighting a magazine that does just that could benefit us all.
For those who may not know, Grub Street is a student produced Literary and Arts magazine that is funded by the Provost Office/College of Liberal Arts. This magazine has been publishing students for 65 amazing years and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
Grub Street is special because of its dedication to hearing what YOU have to say. Each year they receive hundreds of submissions that extend from artwork to non-fiction. The great thing is that anyone is welcome to submit and it’s all blind (meaning that they don’t include names when first reviewing the submissions to prevent bias, discrimination, or preferential treatment)!
I am proud to say that in the Fall I had to opportunity to work with the Grub Street despite having a busy schedule (Fun fact: in order to be on the staff you have to take the class. It’s not a club). Since I was on the fiction team, we had to read and critique all of the submissions as they were being received. As you can imagine, this took a very long time. In a group we would then collectively come together and discuss what the future Grub would actually look like. This included the front cover, type of paper stock, how the artwork should be placed, and so much more!
Skip forward to May 2016 and the new edition is here! Last week I had the pleasure of attending the release party for Grub Street Volume 65 where the staff, authors, and many more were present to enjoy the nights festivities .
Picture taken from Grub Street Facebook page
In order to continue the celebration, I had the honor of interviewing this year’s editor, and a very good friend of mine, Katie LaHatte.
Q: What motivated you, personally, to get involved in Grub Street?
A: I learned about Grub Street on my first visit to Towson, but I didn’t know it was a class until my sophomore year. I decided to sign up my junior year because I was really interested in the idea of working with and editing submissions, and then putting everything together into an actual book. Unlike a few other people who took the class, I knew I would be working on GS, but I didn’t realize how involved the class really was. My first semester, I ran the social media accounts, and then I was promoted to managing editor last spring. After a successful 2015 launch, I was able to keep going as editor for the 2016 edition.
Q: About how much time do you put into the journal every week?
A: It really depends on the time of year. During the first semester, I spent about 5-10 hours a week meeting with my managing editor and the class adviser, reading submissions, and communicating with contributors. During the spring semester, I was still doing those things, but then I had to start copy-editing, ordering the pieces, making final selections, reading through the proofs, sitting with the designer, and other smaller things. At the busiest time of the year, I’d say I was putting in about 30 hours a week. Luckily, that only lasted for a couple of weeks. Now, since we’ve launched, we’re back down to about 5 hours. So, in a round-about way, I’d say about 10-20 hours on average.
Q: After being a part of Grub Street in the Fall semester, I remember there being a lot of conflict regarding a designated theme and ultimately throwing the idea out. That being said, where did the inspiration from this issue come from?
A: We had a lot of inspirations this year, especially focusing on three anniversaries: the 150th anniversary of Towson University, the 65th publication of a literary magazine at Towson, and the one-year anniversary of the unrest in Baltimore. We wanted to celebrate the passing of time, but we also wanted to dive deeper into the real struggles of people throughout history. So this issue is a blending of generations and stories, stories that are gritty and elegant, dark and colorful, old and new. As we explored these themes and the different decades, we realized that humans have always faced similar experiences. We’re all very alike.
Q: How do you feel now that it’s all done?
A: I feel relieved, proud, and accomplished. It absolutely amazes me (and this is my second year!) how the journal eventually comes together. At the beginning of the year, there’s almost no way to imagine how it will all turn out. You hope that it goes well, but you really have no clue. And then, suddenly, as we all work together and spend weeks trying to make it perfect, you start to realize what you’re doing. You’re making a journal, an actual book that will forever exist. It’s an awesome feeling.
Q: Finally, do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Maybe someone who hopes to get published one day in a literary magazine like Grub Street?
A: I would tell aspiring writers to never give up. I know it sounds pretty silly, but it’s true: the more you practice and write and send your stories out to journals, the better chance you could get published, or at least get your story read. Sometimes a journal will come back to you asking for revisions. Sometimes you’ll just get rejected. But it’s what you do after rejection that matters. Will you send your story out again? Will you revise for more depth or clarity? Or even if you’re not ready to submit your work, just have someone else read what you’ve written. Getting feedback from someone you trust/look up to is extremely helpful.
I hope everyone now knows what Grub Street is and will look for new ways to get involved in the future! They need YOU to make a difference. Without submissions from the public, there would be no journal. Without the staff to put anything together, there would be no journal. Everyone is important.
Thanks again Katie and I’ll see you next time Tigers!