Past Intern Updates: Eric Hawkins

Eric HawkinsEric Hawkins from Issues 2 and 3 is in the process of applying to graduate programs. He shares with us these words:

When I graduated three years ago, I was unsure of what the future would hold for me professionally and academically. A degree in English carries with it few obvious career paths, especially for someone like me whose focus was in poetry. All I knew for sure was that I wanted to be involved with literature as much as possible. I sought advice from one of my professors, who recommended I take at least a year before enrolling in graduate school to explore possible career paths and see if anything spoke to me.

My overwhelmingly-positive experience with Superstition Review led me to the world of publishing. I moved to New York City and set about applying at publishing houses, magazines, and advertising agencies. I eventually landed an internship with a literary agency, where my job was reading and evaluating manuscripts from writers seeking representation. It was enjoyable and interesting work, but it was temporary (not to mention unpaid) so before long I had to move on.

It is no secret that the job market is tough across the board, but print media has been hit especially hard. I had no illusions that finding a great job in the hyper-competitive environment of New York would be easy, but I was still stunned at just how grueling the process was.

Ultimately I came to the realization that I was going to have to fight very hard to build any kind of career that would satisfy my passions, and I decided that a job in publishing was not something I wanted badly enough to justify the struggle. With that in mind, I left New York to further develop my poetry and determine my priorities. Since then I have been writing extensively, and have even had a few poems published.

When I think back to my favorite parts of studying English at Arizona State, the thing that stands out the most are the poetry workshops. I love discussing the thematic and technical complexities of poems, and those sessions really helped me overcome my shyness with regards to my own work. These fond memories led me to realize that I wanted to be a teacher, and toward that end I have decided to go for my Master’s degree.

Even though I find myself now in the same position as if I had gone straight from ASU to grad school, I will always be grateful to that professor who advised me to wait. Would I give the same advice to someone else in my former situation? That would depend on how clear of an idea they had about their future. Coming out of college I had only vague notions and scattered ambitions, and these past three years outside of an academic environment have taught me a lot about myself as a person and a writer. Most importantly I now have complete confidence that teaching is what I am meant to do, and it is worth the struggle.

Guest Blog Post, Patrick Madden: Finding My Way

So without stopping to choose my way, in the sure and certain knowledge that it will find itself—or if not it will not matter—I begin the first memory.

— Virginia Woolf “A Sketch of the Past”

Patrick MaddenOne of the earliest writing lessons I learned (I refer to creative writing, not elementary school writing) is this: that I should allow my writing to guide itself instead of beginning with my conclusion already in mind. This is common advice, something you’ve likely heard yourself, but I repeat it here because I can remember how I struggled with it, how I tried to believe it in theory without putting it into practice. And I see again and again student pieces that seem to be transcripts (sometimes elaborations) of a predetermined narrative and meaning with no room for detours from “the point.” The writing in these is sometimes very clean, even beautiful, but it simply serves the goal, without being part of the process.

Now I would not say that I have arrived at any fully formed writing abilities, but I have learned to trust in the notion that I should write without knowing where I’m going. Whereas I once tried to express in words the lessons I’d already processed from highlight-stories I’d experienced, I now attempt to find or create connections between seemingly dissimilar things that flit into my consciousness coincidentally. The act itself is as fun as it is rewarding, and even when it fails, it gives me good exercise.

One recent example, among many, came to me as I was sitting in Montevideo’s Estadio Centenario watching the Uruguayan national team play a World Cup qualifier match against Ecuador. I knew I wanted to write something about Uruguay’s improbable and, frankly, amazing soccer tradition, going back nearly a century and including two Olympic championships followed by two World Cup championships, and I wanted to tie this to the team’s recent resurgence as a FIFA powerhouse. Soccer is a great source of pride for Uruguayans, and I, who’ve lived in the country for four years and who’ve married a Uruguayan, share the sentiment. But I did not want to write a straightforward narrative (“I went to the stadium to watch Uruguay play against Ecuador… It was a 1-1 tie… Let me tell you about Uruguayan soccer history…”). So I kept my eyes and ears open in the stadium for other entry points to help me essay the theme instead of simply writing the story.

I thought I found my hook when I was startled by a loudspeaker promotional jingle playing all through the stadium during the middle of the match. It was hawking ball bearings. How strange, I thought, that someone would think it worth their advertising pesos to blast such a commercial to a stadium filled not with auto mechanics or race-car fans, but futbol aficionados.

But just as I didn’t understand the advertising strategy, I couldn’t see how ball bearings and soccer could work together in my essay, other than in a superficial way (the one happened during the other). So I began to write. The sentences themselves suggested what might come next, and from the process of stringing words together I got to what I think is a halfway decent connection. I’ve not achieved literary brilliance, but I’ve discovered something I didn’t see before, and my essay is a new creation that never was in the world before. In any case, it’s reaffirmed the lesson about letting the writing find its own way, which I took so long to learn.

NOTE: The essay I refer to can be read at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, along with others I’ve written, at this link: http://www.mcsweeneys.net/columns/dispatches-from-montevideo

#ArchiveDive: A Glimpse Into the Past

Each week we feature one of our interns at Superstition Review. This week’s piece comes from Advertising Coordinator Daniel Redding

A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just begins
to live that day.
– Emily Dickinson


A piece of writing can be judged as truly great when the reader can go back to it again and again, while still having a unique reaction to it. A work will not fade if it can stay alive long after its initial presentation. As a writer, I often judge my pieces by how I respond to them months and years down the road. As a young adult, my favorite novels would become worn at the seams, ultimately falling apart, highlighting the impact they had on my development. It was then, early on, that I began to realize the long-term effect of literature, and in turn the power of the writer, and for me there was no looking back.

As a part of our Twitter presence, Superstition Review has been conducting an #ArchiveDive campaign, going back through our past eight issues to find pieces that strike us today as much as they did then. Every piece published in SR is powerful in its own way. However, these recent selections for #ArchiveDive highlight the breadth of SR’s publishing history.

Among the recent highlights have been Christy Puetz’s three-dimensional beaded art from Issue 7, as well as John J. Clayton’s “Darkness Visible,” a short story from the same issue. Also rediscovered were Hilary Masters’ essay, “Working the Vineyard,” from Issue 2, and Nathaniel Miles Millard’s poetry of Issue 1.

We hope you will join us in diving back into our archives to enjoy the wide range of work we have been privileged to publish over the last four years.

Meet the Review Crew: Daniel Redding

Each week we feature one of our many talented interns here at Superstition Review.

Finally completing a journey that began in January of 2008, Daniel Redding will be graduating this May with a B.A. in English from Arizona State University. Upon graduating, Daniel will pursue a Master’s Degree in English with an emphasis that will be determined by the location of his future graduate school.

A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Daniel is 26 years old and has been married for over three years to his wife, Leanne. They recently welcomed their baby daughter, Emma Jane, into the world on November 9, 2011. While in the Marine Corps, Daniel served as a combat correspondent, with responsibilities ranging from journalism, photography, videography, layout and design editing, media relations, and much more. In 2006, Daniel deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also served as head Marine layout and design editor for the Camp Pendleton Scout Newspaper on two separate occasions.

Daniel currently serves as Advertising Coordinator with Superstition Review. Working with SR has been an invaluable experience for him; combined with his military background, his understanding of how newspapers and literary magazines similarly work has grown.

Daniel is serving as an English tutor at the ASU affiliate, Metro Tech High School Writing Center, which is helping prepare him for what he will experience when he begins his career as an English professor.

A native of San Diego, California, Daniel is an avid sports fan. He stubbornly wears his San Diego Padres baseball cap regardless of what enemy territory he is in. As a diehard follower of David Sedaris, Daniel will laugh out loud when reading a good piece of satirical lampooning.

Note from the Editor

Founding Editor Trish Murphy and Poetry Editor Emily Beckley  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As most of you know, I started Superstition Review because I wanted my writing students to gain practical experience with a literary magazine before going off into the working world or on to graduate school. I wanted to teach students to correspond with authors, meet deadlines, make editorial decisions, design websites, organize events, and advertise through email, Facebook, Twitter and blogs.

This week marks the launch of Issue 7 of Superstition Review, which gives me occasion to look back on those goals I had when I first started the magazine. In seven semesters I have mentored 95 students, many of whom have gone on to jobs in publishing, or spots in grad school, or teaching careers.

Recently I had the opportunity to do one of my favorite things: act as a reference for a former intern. “Oh I’m going to make your job easy,” I said to the hiring manager. “Throw away all the other applications because you need to hire my student.” I backed that recommendation up with a story about a task the student accomplished despite my complete inability to tell her how to do it. My interns work hard. They earn their 3 credit hours. And they earn their glowing recommendations from me as well.

I have now had seven semesters of managing students as we put together each issue in only 14 weeks, and it occurs to me that while I was training my students to run a magazine I was getting a crash course in mentoring. Trust me when I say for certain that putting together Issue 7 was 95% easier than putting together Issue 1. We’ve passed a learning curve. And I think you’ll agree that it shows in what we do.

I hope you enjoy the new work of 48 artists and authors in our Issue 7. And please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have a job waiting for one of my student interns.

Meet the Interns: Tyler Hughes

Advertising Coordinator Tyler Hughes is a senior at Arizona State University. He will be graduating in 2011 with a degree in English Literature. After graduation he would like to be able to apply his skills and experiences learned at ASU and interning for Superstition Review into a career in publishing and editing. He also has a passion for writing fiction and hopes to be able to find a home for his writings. This is his first year working for Superstition Review.

1. What is your position with Superstition Review and what are your responsibilities?

My position at Superstition Review is Advertising Coordinator. I am in charge of the Superstition Review Blog. Some of my responsibilities include managing the blog, writing posts, and editing the posts that our editors write for the blog.

2. Why did you decide to get involved with Superstition Review?

My interests include writing, both creatively and for an audience, and along with that I am interested in pursuing a career in the publishing field. I thought that Superstition Review would provide some great hands-on experience.

3. How do you like to spend your free time?

In my free time I enjoy reading and writing, spending time with my friends and family and hiking with my dog.

4. What other position(s) for Superstition Review would you like to try out?

I would love to try out the position of Fiction Editor. They get to do a lot of fun stuff like review submissions and read pieces from great authors.

5. Describe one of your favorite literary works.

This is a hard question as there are so many great stories out there. One of the stories that I have always loved is Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Ender’s Game is a science fiction story about a boy named Ender who is sent to a military run space station to train in tactical warfare in preparation for an alien encounter. It has some great characters and writing and the premise is pretty unique. It is hard to pick just one but Ender’s Game is definitely in my top five.

6. What are you currently reading?

I am currently re-reading World War Z by Max Brooks. It is an account of the zombie apocalypse through interviews with people from around the world. It is all treated very seriously, but not too seriously, and is a really fun read.

7. Creatively, what are you currently working on?

I have been a little bit swamped recently so I haven’t really had time to work on anything. However, I am in the early stages of brainstorming a short story project as well as editing some old stories.

8. What inspires you?

I am inspired by stories about people. People and their experiences are fascinating and I never get tired of hearing people’s stories.

9. What are you most proud of?

Right now, I am very proud of my accomplishments in school and being so close to earning my bachelor’s degree in English Literature.

10. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years I hope to be working in a job that I enjoy, hopefully something in publishing or editing.

Submissions for Issue 7

It is time again to gather your works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and art and ready them for submission to Superstition Review Issue 7. The submission period for Issue 7 is from February 1 to March 31. This marks the second issue that we will be using Submishmash, an online management tool that allows our staff to view and handle submissions. For information on submission guidelines go to http://superstitionreview.submishmash.com/Submit.

The staff at Superstition Review has just completed their second week of work on Issue 7. Our Section Editors for art, nonfiction, fiction and poetry will soon be receiving and reviewing submissions via Submishmash in the coming weeks during our submissions period beginning February 1 and ending March 31. Advertising Coordinators are busy researching new advertising opportunities, composing blogs and updating our Facebook and Twitter pages. With an eye towards later in the semester our Reading Series Coordinator is researching authors to feature.

As you can see, we are already making steady progress on Issue 7. Keep an eye on the blog in the coming weeks for updates on our progress.