Intern Spotlights: Week 1, Wrap-Up

Where are they now?

We are so proud of our past and present staff here at Superstition Review, and we’ve decided to celebrate the accomplishments of our past interns throughout the month of April. Each day, we will feature an intern on social media and share what they’re up to now. Then, at the end of each week, we will share a wrap-up post of all our featured interns from that week. So, without further ado…

1. Kelly Vo: Fiction Editor, Issue 1 (Spring 2008)

April 1: Twitter and Facebook announcements, find Kelly on LinkedIn

Kelly VoMore details: Kelly is currently the CEO of Kevo Writing (May 2015), her own firm, where she is also a freelance writer. She shares, “I love working for myself and doing something that I love. Writing has been a passion of mine since I was a kid, and now I get to write full time, which is something I never thought would happen. Even better, I run my own company and clients, so I can take the jobs that I want and keep the clients that I love. When I first decided to start Kevo Writing, I was terrified out of my mind. I had no idea if I could freelance and run a company on my own. I’m an introvert, and the idea of finding my own clients was horrifying, to say the least. Thankfully, I didn’t let the fear stop me, but that didn’t mean it was easy. It took a while to get started. I spent a month building my website and writing free articles to make a name for myself, but about three months into it, things started to come together. I got a few clients and started to get more. Now, I have a full list of clients who keep me busy and supplied with coffee and books. I write everything from news stories for MBA candidates to business e-books, magazine articles for the marijuana industry, social media content for a leading personality, and everything in between. Recently, I just wrote an article on getting rid of wrinkles! It’s an interesting job that always keeps me on my toes. I spend a lot of time researching topics and then crafting pieces that fit my clients’ needs. And, since I work for myself, I’m also able to dedicate a few hours every day to personal writing. I’ve been working on an Urban Fantasy novel, that I hope to (eventually) send out to book agents and publishers. I just have to finish it first. 🙂 That’s the thing I love best about being a freelance writer, the freedom to pursue my own dreams.”

2. Megan Richmond: Art Editor, Issue 13 (Spring 2014)

April 2: Twitter and Facebook announcements

Megan Richmond

More details: Megan shares, “Since graduating from ASU and finishing my internship with SR I’ve applied my BFA and magazine experience in two different jobs. I work at the Heard Museum as the E-Commerce Administrator where I am in charge of running their online shop as well as photographing Native American art for digital and print marketing for the museum shop. My images have been used for shop ads in the AZ Republic, Native American Art magazine, First American Art magazine and the Heard Museum magazine, Earthsong. My second job is a seasonal photographer position for a portrait company called PortraitEFX. With them, I primarily work weekends photographing youth sports leagues, weddings, school photos, etc.”

3. Dustin Diehl: Nonfiction Editor, Issue 4 (Fall 2009)

April 3: Twitter and Facebook announcements, find Dustin on LinkedIn

Dustin DiehlMore details: Dustin is currently working as a Senior Editor and Content Strategist at Casual Astronaut, a local content marketing agency. He shares, “I also write freelance editorial content for several online newspapers and magazines, keeping my creative juices flowing! I love that I get to work with words for a living. Actually using my English literature and creative writing degree (and the skills I gathered during my time as an editor for the Superstition Review) makes me feel very fortunate; not everyone gets that opportunity! Helping people create content, tell their stories and encourage action keeps the day job interesting and fulfilling.”

4. Ofelia Montelongo: Student Editor-in-Chief, Issue 17 (Fall 2016)

April 4: Twitter and Facebook announcements, find Ofelia on LinkedIn

More details: Ofelia shares, “I’m still a freelance writer for different magazines, Phoenix New Times, So Scottsdale and freelance blogger for Phoenix Magazine. I also teach Spanish and do some translations and I also just got accepted in the PhD Spanish – Mexican American studies at ASU.” Ofelia is also writing her first novel, Almost a Pilgrim, and she has her own business in Scottsdale, Arizona (Chocolate Tour of Scottsdale) – yum!

5. ChristiAnne Lunsford: Poetry Editor, Issue 10 (Fall 2012) and Issue 11 (Spring 2013)

April 5: Twitter and Facebook announcements, find ChristiAnne on LinkedIn

ChristiAnne LunsfordMore details: ChristiAnne is a copywriter and social media manager. She shares, “I write blogs and website content and manage social profiles for small business owners across multiple industries. A lot of my work revolves around search engine optimization but I also write a fair amount of creative content as well. My goal for this upcoming year is to expand my business and take on additional staff members. I love the challenges and flexibility that come with my role. I can work anywhere that I have to access to wifi which makes traveling and visiting home easy. I work independently which means it’s up to me to make sure everything gets completed on time and to the client’s standards, but I also get to be creative and exercise a fair amount of autonomy. It’s also my responsibility to stay current with digital marketing trends and advancements. I also love that I get to learn about so many unique trades and industries and that I get the opportunity to know my clients on a personal level.”

6. Riki Meier: Fiction Editor, Issue 4 (Fall 2009)

April 6: Twitter and Facebook announcements, find Riki on LinkedIn

Riki MeierMore details: Riki shares, “A lot has happened since interning as Fiction Editor at Superstition Review. Artistically, I’ve gained an MA in English & Creative Writing and I continue to write fiction. Professionally, I am now working as an internal auditor at Harvard University. Even though my current academic degrees aren’t related to business or accounting, I found the key to success is having a love of learning and a curious mind. I love that I am always learning in my job. One week, I could learn about Athletics, and the next I could be in a scientific lab or a museum. Each project is different and I get to interact with people in all areas and in all levels across Harvard, so I am continually learning and growing. Before I go to my day job at Harvard, I teach English on a one-to-one basis to children in China over the Internet. I find it incredibly fun and rewarding, as the children are adorable and I am learning so much about culture in China. Additionally, teaching ESL forces you to look critically at the language you use and at the nuances of meaning. I’d like to think it’s making me a better writer as a bonus!”

7. Colleen Stinchcombe: Social Networker, Issue 11 (Spring 2013)

April 7: Twitter and Facebook announcements, find Colleen on LinkedIn

Colleen StinchcombeMore details: Colleen most recently worked as Community Editor at SheKnows Media. She shares, “I’ve worked at SheKnows for just over three years. I started off as the Sponsored Content Editor, which I loved because it was fun to try to find the right balance between what clients wanted in order to promote their products and what the editorial team knew was good content that would perform. Then I became the Community Editor, which shifted my focus to be about helping fledgling writers or people who were working to promote their business or passions find their footing in digital media. That feels very meaningful. That said, I’ve turned in my resignation letter at SheKnows in order to take on a completely different adventure – hiking the Pacific Crest Trail this April. It will be five months straight of hiking from Mexico to Canada. I’ve been immensely grateful to have found career opportunities after leaving college (especially as a Creative Writing major!), but I feel the need to shake things up for myself. I don’t know yet what I’ll do when I return. That’s both exciting and terrifying.” Colleen will be documenting her journey on the Pacific Crest Trail on her website and on Instagram.

8. Sarah Brady: Blogger, Issue 14 (Fall 2014)

April 8: Twitter and Facebook announcements, find Sarah on LinkedIn

Sarah BradyMore details: She shares, “Even before I graduated with my English Lit degree about a year ago, I knew I wanted to try working for myself. This is something I think most writers/creators want, because we have a hard time fitting our artistic minds into rigid boxes. I currently own my own freelance writing business, Key Rat Creative, and work from home. I’d already been freelancing on the side for a company blog during my senior year, while also finishing up my thesis and working at Make-A-Wish as an intern. I think the biggest thing I learned about myself through school and in-person internships was that traffic road rage and the 9-5 might actually kill me. So I knew I would have to at least try to create a sustainable career that enabled me to live as healthily as possible. I got most of my initial clients through my mother’s connections. Funny enough, she’s a dentist who knows many dental professionals/dental organizations who need copywriting. Leverage what you got, right? I’ve branched out to using freelance matching services like Upwork and have found amazing clients in the PR/marketing realm through that platform. Honestly, what I like most about my profession is the freedom it gives me in other aspects of my life. My true passion is creative writing, but writing in general is what I’m good at, so running my own business that draws on my degree and ancillary interests is self-affirming. I love that I don’t have to set an alarm and that I can live by the natural rhythm of my mind. There’s no ‘running out the clock’ because my salary is defined by completing projects, rather than filling up a certain amount of hours in the day (boredom is my worst nemesis). I can write for myself in the morning, exercise mid-day when everyone else is tied to a desk, actually prepare a real meal, and then spend my afternoon on tasks for Key Rat Creative. I’m still growing a client base and receiving support while I’m in this transitional period, but the most important thing is that I’m not giving up on this dream while I’m young and independent. If I have to get a “real” job someday, I’ll know I gave myself the opportunity to construct my own terms. The hardest part about my career is the unpredictability of the work (and the fact that a lot of people online think $5 for 500 words is reasonable, or expect writers to be experts in the subject, rather than the craft), but that’s also the wonderful thing about it too. I used to think having a lot of money would equate to happiness, but honestly, these quiet hours with my computer and being able to make my own rules are crucial to my personal well being.”

Thank you so much to these interns for their service with us; you are all doing such amazing things, and we’re so proud!

Intern Post, Riki Meier: The Marginalia of David Sedaris’s “Repeat After Me”

I usually try to buy all of my marginaliabooks new. It isn’t because I necessarily like the crispness of the pages (which I do), or because I am a supporter of the publishing industry (which I am). These are admittedly added bonuses, but the main reason why I purchase books new is to escape the insidious chattering of the book’s former readers, namely through marginalia. I do not want mystery Reader One’s thoughts on what the dog food is a metaphor for, nor do I care that mystery Reader Two felt the man with a limp was “scary!!!” These are discoveries I prefer to find—or not—on my own.

As such, I was extremely disappointed when I was unable to locate a reasonably priced new copy of the Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction for my online writing class. In truth, I could find some new copies, but none that matched the ISBN that the university indicated on their “Required Reading” list. I took a chance and ordered a “Used – Very Good” copy through the university bookstore website, believing—erroneously—that “Very Good” meant the pages would not be littered with the comments, thoughts, highlights, musings, speculations, and condescending judgments of former readers. Unless the university bookstore believes it is “very good” for its students to know that one of the book’s previous owners felt a character “spends sooo much time talking about Henry,” I have to wonder if the bookstore even bothered to flip through the pages of the book before declaring it “Very Good.”

This is how I began reading David Sedaris’s essay “Repeat After Me.” Sedaris’s humorous essay explores his visit to Winston-Salem to tell his sister, Lisa, that one of his books had been optioned for a movie. Sedaris’s book (the potential movie) is a memoir piece that features his family—including Lisa—so Sedaris wanted to tell his sister in person that an actress may play her on the big screen. While traveling to his sister’s place in the essay, Sedaris reminisces about the “roles” he and his sister had been assigned growing up that—in Sedaris’s words— “effectively told us who we were.” As children, Lisa played the role as the one in the family with the most potential, while Sedaris was viewed with much lowered expectations. Later in life, as they grew and matured, Sedaris and his sister found themselves playing nearly the opposite roles.

As I settled into my sofa to begin reading Sedaris’s essay, I felt my excitement begin to grow. This was the first thing I had read by Sedaris and, as of late, I had been hearing his name quite often since he was in my city for another (different) book signing. I opened the anthology to the beginning of the essay “Repeat After Me.” I immediately tried to immerse myself with Sedaris’s brief bio and the start of his essay, but the word “ALLUSION” was printed in pencil over the top word in the first sentence, as if calling out in a neon-blinking sign that said “LOOK HERE!” I did my best to ignore the “allusion,” but I soon found myself flipping through the pages for a marginalia preview.

As far as I can tell, based on the pencil/pen type, handwriting and diction, there were at least three distinct former owners who felt obligated to critique the grammar, make snarky comments about the characters, bullet themes, and incessantly underline text (in ink, no less). While I did get into the rhythm and the humor of Sedaris’s essay, I ended up finding the marginalia equally humorous. I normally consider marginalia to be simply irritating, but perhaps I was primed to find their comments funny because the essay itself was categorized as “humor.” Thus, I began to read the marginalia as its own kind of “text”—a text that is superimposed on Sedaris’s text and full of meta-cognitive awareness.

Reader One was so exasperated by Sedaris’s choice of grammar and consumed with his/her judgments about Sedaris that she failed—in my humble opinion—to take note of the truly funny moments in the essay. Reader One chastised Sedaris “Why is his superlative in lower case?!?!” when Sedaris wrote that “to this day, as far as my family is concerned, I’m still the one most likely to set your house on fire.” Given that superlatives—as a general rule—aren’t supposed to be upper case, Reader One’s comment had me wondering whether or not she is the one “most likely to set your house on fire” in her family. In the same paragraph, when Sedaris wrote that while he accepted “ lowered expectations, Lisa fought hard to regain her former title,” Reader One snipped as if she had known Sedaris’s family her entire life, “Easier for him – always been that way.”

Yet, for some mysterious reason (that I, personally, find incredibly funny), all of the Readers who came before me failed to comment on the part of essay where Sedaris’s sister “land[ed] a job in the photo department of a large international drug company, where she took pictures of germs, viruses, and people reacting to germs and viruses.” Sedaris was telling the reader about his sister’s varied—and seemingly unrelated—series of jobs. At that line, “people reacting to germs and viruses,” I imagine people reacting with mock horror at the sight of an enlarged squiggly Ebola virus, and doubling over with their hands clutching their stomach at the sight of salmonella bacteria. I imagine people “reacting” by running in slow motion, yelling “Nooooooo….” for the benefit of the photography camera, pushing everyone else away to escape the horror they saw through the microscope in the Petri dish. Alternately, to take a more somber view of the line “people reacting to germs and viruses,” I imagine people laying in a hospital bed or dry heaving over a toilet. There is so much imagery—so much potential “funny”—bound up in that one tiny line, yet the book’s former Readers chose to ignore that line and, instead, underline the fact Sedaris’s sister earned “an English degree.” Reader One later noted in a space between paragraphs, “Lisa throws herself into things she really isn’t passionate about.” Yes, Reader One, I agree—that part is very clear.

After initially looking at marginalia with disdain, I now have to admit there is more to it than irritating spoiler alerts and banal judgments. It is like a two, three, or (in my case) four-way conversation about an author’s work. It is the benefit of a book club without having to get out of your car. I no longer view marginalia with complete disdain—but I still prefer to read a “clean” copy first. Moreover, I am sure it is only matter of time before someone will mock my marginalia as well, and wonder why in the world I drew a smiley face next to the line about people reacting to germs and viruses.

Catching Up with Past Interns

I am happy to bring you an exciting post this week that has been in the works for a while– an interview with Superstition Review interns from previous semesters. Here’s what they had to say about what they’re up to now, how SR helped them get there, and what they wish they had known when they were interns. Enjoy!

Superstition Review: What have you been doing since your internship with Superstition Review?

Sara Scoville: After graduating from ASU in May ’09, I have continued to conduct research for a collection of essays I’ve been working on since my last semester. The topic focuses on interaction and the relationships that form in the online gaming community amongst alpha males. I also work full time as a supervisor at a direct marketing company.

Melissa Silva: I’m now applying to work as an intern for Nordstrom. As a Capital Scholar, I’m applying to work for NPR and other media outlets in DC this summer.

Riki Meier: I’ve been working full-time at ASU during the day, and also taking a few independent study courses. Late last fall, I completed several graduate school applications, and I’m excited to say I was just accepted into the English PhD program at Tufts University! They are offering me full funding for five years. I’m absolutely thrilled as I know Tufts has an excellent program and I also love the Boston area!

Carter Nacke: Since working at Superstition Review, I have turned my focus to graduating. I’m pleased to say that I’ll be graduating in May with a degree in Print Journalism from the Cronkite School.

Alex Linden: Since my internship with Superstition Review, I finished my last year at Arizona State and applied to MFA programs for Poetry. I now attend Oklahoma State University and this semester will finish the first year of my MFA.

SR: Do you think your experience with Superstition Review has helped with what you’re doing now? How?

SS: I believe it most certainly has. I’ve worked for the same company for 12 years, so it was definitely nice to do something different. Trish is an amazing person and I absolutely loved learning from her! One thing that I appreciated most about her is the amount of trust and faith she had in me. It’s because of her belief in my abilities that I have a stronger sense of confidence in both my writing and professional life.

MS: Experience with publishing and Excel I think has helped reassure companies that I’m qualified to work for them.

RM: I do think that my work at Superstition Review helped my admission chances at Tufts, as Tufts has a reputation for wanting well-rounded (and diversified) applicants. Although I am going for a research degree, I think the fact I worked as an editor at a national literary magazine demonstrated that I don’t have only an analytical mind; I have a strong creative inclination as well.

CN: I think my experience did help. While I was in charge of financing and fundraising (which I’d never done before), SR helped me learn to balance work and school. I also saw first-hand how magazines are produced, which is extremely helpful for my magazine writing class.

AL: My experience with SR has definitely helped with what I do now. I believe my chances of getting into MFA programs would have been much less had I not done the internship. More importantly, I was exposed to the literary world and inspired to pursue similar work in the future. I now read for the Cimarron Review.

SR: Is there any advice you’d like to give current Superstition Review interns?

SS: Have respect for everyone involved throughout the entire process. Ask for help if you need it, and be willing to help if someone needs you. The success of the issue is dependent upon every single intern, so open lines of communication are of the utmost importance. Also, be proud of and enjoy what you’re contributing to the literary community.

MS: Work hard and try to learn as much as you can. I learned a lot about communicating professionally online and using Excel.

RM: For the current editors soliciting work from writers, I would say that one should approach soliciting writers like they should approach applying to graduate schools. One should have a number of “long-shots” writers on the list that one dreams of publishing, but the chances of publishing that person may be slim. Soliciting someone like Toni Morrison or Salman Rushdie may be analogous to applying to graduate school at Princeton or Harvard. If you diversify your solicitation list, you have far greater chances of getting lots of great literary pieces for review!

CN: Current interns: Get your stuff done early. Take it from someone who knows, assignments and work can pile up on you before you know what’s going on!

AL: Take advantage of every opportunity your internship provides. Research other literary journals, contact the writers you admire, and don’t read all of the submissions at once. 🙂

Meet the Interns: Riki Meier, Fiction Editor

rikimeier_0Fiction Editor, Riki Meier, is a senior majoring in English Literature, part of The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

Superstition Review: What do you do for SR?

Riki Meier: I’m a fiction editor, so I get to solicit work from authors I like, read submissions, and help determine which stories will be published in the next issue.

SR: How did you hear about or get involved with Superstition Review?

RM: I first heard about Superstition Review through WORD: Creative Writers @ ASU, another internship for which I’m serving, filling the role of President. As WORD’s President, I helped advertise the reading series to our members. I later learned through the Honors College listserv that Superstition Review was accepting applications for interns, and the opportunity just seemed too fantastic to pass up!

SR: What is your favorite section of SR?

RM: The Fiction section is my favorite, of course! Fiction is my passion. I love reading fiction (it’s a requirement for Literature majors) and I also write fiction as well.

SR: Who is your dream contributor to the journal?

RM: Oh–I have two dream contributors! There’s no way I could choose between them. I would absolutely love to be able to publish Toni Morrison or Gabriel Garcia Marquez. They are both my literary idols.

SR: What job, other than your own, would you like to try out in the journal?

RM: Honestly, I’m so excited about my work this semester as fiction editor that I find it hard to consider any other positions at the journal!

SR: What are you most excited for in the upcoming issue?

RM: I am most excited about getting to contact my favorite authors and asking them to submit work. I think it’s a chance of a lifetime. When else will I be able to contact Nobel Prize winners, Pulitzer Prize winners, etc., and ask them for a story or an interview? Just the thought of being able to interview someone like Marquez or Morrison is absolutely thrilling to me.

SR: What was the first book you remember falling in love with and what made it so special?

RM: Actually, the first thing I remember falling in love with when I was little was Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s short story “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.” That story introduced me to magical realism, which I absolutely adore. It was also the first piece of literature that really got me thinking about larger social issues.

What are you currently reading?

RM: Right now I’m reading a lot of books on feminist theory, postcolonial theory, and cybercultural studies for research projects I’m working on. Other than my work at Superstition Review, I don’t have time to read anything else this semester, unfortunately. However, I have a copy of Kurt Vonnegut’s Welcome to the Monkey House, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, and Carlos Fuentes’ The Death of Artemio Cruz piled up on my nightstand just waiting for the day after final exams!

SR: What would be your dream class to take at ASU? What would the title be and what would it cover?

RM: That’s easy! It’s an MFA class currently being taught at ASU by Alberto Rios called “Magical Realism.” Not only does the class study great works written in the magical realism tradition, but you get to learn magical realism writing from a great magical realism writer!

SR: What are your feelings on digital medium?

RM: Oh, that’s a loaded question for me as I’m studying an online book discussion group for one of my big research projects. New media allows for a new hybridity of virtual/physical, public/private, sacred/profane, work/play, and even male/female. It is through narrative discourse that discursive and cultural practices are formed and diffused throughout society, and these practices, in turn, work to form the framework within which identities are constructed. As media types and forms of expression evolves and extends to virtual environments, a deeper exploration of cybercultural studies is necessary to deconstruct and understand the new identities being formed.

I believe there is an intrinsic connection between literature studies and rhetoric studies, and that there is an evolution of literature and narrative in progress that is the result of technological advancements. Today, multiple narrative forms—including literature—are evolving and adapting to online and multimodal environments. I maintain we must study communities of practice to understand the impact these virtual environments have on narrative and on the people who produce and consume these narratives.