Editorial Preferences in Art: Ashlee Cunningham

To me art must tell a story, whether it is a complex one or a simple one. Looking at a piece of artwork and having an emotional response means the artist did his or her job. One of my favorite leisurely activities is to go to an art museum with my dad and try to figure out the story behind what the artist is conveying through the piece. Whether we come up with serious stories or sometimes silly ones, everyone sees art differently and that is what I love about art: it speaks to us all in a different way.
I enjoy a variety of mediums when it comes to art, but the two I enjoy a little more are photographs and oil paintings. Photographs can take you back to a memory you long to relive and a gorgeous oil painting can make your wildest dreams take flight on a canvas.
There is a beauty to complex pieces of art as well as beauty in simplicity. Picasso said, “Everything you can imagine is real.” So create it- any way imaginable. Tell a story in the craft, complexity and simplicity of it all.

Bio:
Ashlee Cunningham is a sophomore at Arizona State University pursuing an undergraduate degree in Intermedia Art. She is the Art Editor for Superstition Review and has loved growing her knowledge of art. When she is not in class you can find her capturing life through the lens of her camera.

Ashlee Cunningham, Art Editor for Issue 19 of Superstition Review.

Ashlee Cunningham, Art Editor for Issue 19 of Superstition Review.

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: Terrah Hancock

Nonfiction Editor Terrah Hancock is an English Literature major at Arizona State University. One of her nonfiction essays, Snobbery Tower is being published in the upcoming edition of Lux Literary Magazine. She has also finished a working draft of her memoir entitled Singing Myself To Sleep and is in the editorial phase of publication. She aspires to attend graduate school at Vermont College of Fine Arts where her Creative Writing Thesis Project will be the tangled biography of a 26º Freemason’s son.

1.  What is your position with Superstition Review and what are your responsibilities?
This is my first semester with Superstition Review. As the Nonfiction Editor my responsibilities are to review submissions from authors. I correspond with the authors and then submit my vote on which submissions I think should be featured.

2.  Why did you decide to get involved with Superstition Review?
I am usually on the submitting end of the publication process. I was curious to experience the other side, so I applied. I want to gain exposure to things like: the always dreaded and nerve wracking Query Letter and to witness how fellow writers develop and sustain relationships with literary magazines.

3.  Besides interning for Superstition Review, how do you spend your time?
I have a set of detailed and lofty academic and professional goals, so a great deal of my time is spent studying or writing in the basement of Hayden Library. Beyond striving to achieve my childhood dream of being a writer, I am the happy and playful mother of two beautiful sons.  We spend much of our time riding bikes, playing football or taking our three dogs to the dog park.

4.  What other position(s) for Superstition Review would you like to try out?
I could see myself trying the Superstition Review Blog Editor only if it doesn’t exclude me from being able to read all the incoming submissions!

5.  Describe one of your favorite literary works.
I get asked this all the time and I contend that one favorite is impossible! I have a strong three way tie for my favorite work: Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Each of these books left me feeling immensely connected to humanity and with a deep compassion for all the things I’ll never know about other people’s lives.

6.  What are you currently reading?
After semesters full of close, analytic readings I yearn for a story that I don’t have to dissect and appraise. My very favorite story to get lost in is Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. Like the gunslinger’s repeated journey, I read this entire series once a year. I love that I don’t study the sentence structure or even acknowledge that structure exists. Right now I’m reading The Art of Time in Memoir by Sven Birkerts.

7.  Creatively, what are you currently working on?
I am working on polishing the working draft of my first book right now. I completed my first draft over a year ago and have been following a detailed plan to achieve my eventual goal.  My manuscript is with my editor now and when we are finished with this lengthy editorial process, I’ll move along to the stage of acquiring publication and literary prestige!

8.  What inspires you?
I am inspired by the people who never gave up on their dreams. In 1888, Mona Caird wrote “Every good thing that we enjoy today was once the dream of a ‘crazy enthusiast’ mad enough to believe in the power of ideas and in the power of man to have things as he wills.” Also — one of my goals is to someday be an answer to one of The Writer’s Chronicle crossword puzzle questions!

9.  What are you most proud of?
I make sure to cherish every accomplishment in my life. Every semester, every essay, every test, every publication. I’m proud of my life collectively. Most recently, I’m very proud of my first publication. A short story of mine entitled, Snobbery Tower, was published just this month in a local literary journal.

10.  Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I wrote my first book at age six, entitled The Heart and The Ant. Ten years from now, I will still be on the path that began with that book. I will still be writing and possibly in school; hopefully on the other side of the podium by then. I’ll still be happy and proud. I’ll know that I never gave up on my dreams — maybe got distracted a few times, but I never quit.

Progress Update: Picking Up Steam

We’re concluding our third week working on Issue 5 of Superstition Review, and we’re really picking up steam: open submissions are pouring in, readings are being scheduled, the website is beginning to take shape, and our interns are hitting their strides.

Our Section Editors have prepared lists of authors and artists they would like to solicit work from and/or interview. The Solicitations and Interview Coordinators have organized these lists and are preparing to work with the editors to send out the solicitations emails. Now our Art, Poetry, Fiction and Nonfiction Editors are shifting their focus toward reading and evaluating the open submissions that have been piling up in our Submissions Editor’s inbox.

Our Reading Series Coordinator set up our first reading of the semester (details soon to come!) and is now brainstorming authors and ideas for our March reading. Our Advertising Coordinator sent out email marketing for our submissions period (keep sending us your work!), and she’s now teaming up with our Photoshopper to create some ads to exchange with other magazines. Our Development Coordinators are doing important work on grants and bringing Superstition Review to Kindle (you’ll hear about it here when we’ve got that all set up!). Our Web Designers are in the process of assembling our staff and events pages. And finally, I’m here, keeping you up-to-date on everything happening with Superstition Review. Keep reading!