Mariah Beckman is an English Literature Senior at Arizona State University and is pursuing a Technical Writing Certificate.
Superstition Review: What do you do for SR?
Mariah Beckman: I review current solicitation list and update contacts, and maintain this list so that the following issues have a solicitations list to build off of. I also work with Editors to add names to list and constantly update the Solicitation List with author responses. My job consists largely of helping to garner submissions and organize the responses to those submissions to provide clear and updated list of works to be featured in Superstition Review.
SR: How did you hear about or get involved with Superstition Review?
MB: I was fortunate enough to take a class taught by one of the managing editors/founders, and was thusly recruited.
SR: What is your favorite section of SR? Why?
MB: I think that poetry is going to be my favorite section of SR. When I was in high school I dated this boy, and his brother was featured in Hayden’s Ferry Review, another Arizona State University literary magazine, and I remember thinking how awesome it was that he was valued enough to be represented. His submission was poetry. I really love to read poetry–no matter how busy I am, I can pick up a copy of my Cummings or Hughes or Frost collection and browse through a finished project, and that is what I love about poetry. If literature is the Christmas Tree, poetry are the Ornaments that make it dazzle even without the lights. I’m so excited to read the submissions and have an opportunity to read some up-and-comers and professionals, side-by-side, and compare the changing face of poetry today.
SR: Who is your dream contributor to the journal? Talk about him/her.
MB: I think that I would love to feature Mark Danielewski (author of House of Leaves) or Chuck Palahniuk (author of the novels Fight Club, Snuff, Choke, etc). While each of these authors feature often mature content, their wit and eloquence are excellent artistic representations of Americans ever-changing and subversive culture. These authors publish challenging and exciting, often funny and always memorable works that have stuck with me and that I can relate to, and it would be amazing to feature one of their interviews or short stories to see what insights they could offer about writing in the 21st century.
SR: What job, other than your own, would you like to try out in the journal?
MB: I would like to work with contributors whose works are chosen to fine-tune and polish their work for submission. I would love to be the person who not only delivers the great news that an individual’s work is publication-worthy, but also work with them to craft their writing and to make them the best vehicles for their art form, because written word is truly a timeless and powerful art.
SR: What are you most excited for in the upcoming issue?
MB: The finished product and readings are the milestones that I most look forward to for this upcoming issue. To see all of our efforts come to fruition will be amazing, and I just can’t wait.
SR: What was the first book you remember falling in love with and what made it so special?
MB: As a reader, there are so many books that I really appreciated and grew up with. The first book, however, that I can remember finishing and then reading all over again was Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. The characters in this novel were so vibrant–who doesn’t know and love a Captain Yossarian, tragic and clever anti-hero of life’s red tape? Or a Milo Minderbinder, enterprising get-rich-quick businessman with great demeanor and no conscience? Major Major, the Chaplain, Hungry Joe–there was a piece of all of America in every character, even the most despicable.
SR: What artist have you really connected with, either in subject matter, work, or motto?
MB: “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.”–Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde in his The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of the most prosaic and devilish books I’ve ever read. I’ve always considered myself a fan of Sylvia Plath, but never of her methods–her poetry is divine, but her short works and her life fell short of what I thought her work expressed her capable of. Oscar Wilde, however, was as much a modern philosopher as he ever was a writer. Everything he said or wrote is quotable–I don’t think the man ever had a mundane thought.
“Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing.”–Wilde
SR: What are some of your favorite websites to waste time on or distract you from homework?
MB: I am loathe to say Facebook, but there it is. I think that I blow more of my time on Facebook then I do checking my email. I Can Has Cheeseburger.com used to be high on the list, not because I’m a freak but because I have a lot of pets and every one of them seems to be represented in adorable photo form. don’t judge me. T-Shirt Hell.com–it’s awful and wrong, but I love it. I only wish I could buy up the site. If you’ve never been, you should check it out–it’s the most offensive and off-color t-shirts you would ever not want to see.
SR: What would be your dream class to take at ASU? What would the title be and what would it cover?
MB: YOU: A Montage
I would like to take a class that allows a person to gather together their most favorite and expressive mediums of expression–photos, written work, audio, video, links and things and ideas and beliefs–and turn it into something tangible…like a collage that one would be graded on. The final project would be in explanation and defense of not only the project, but the personality and individual it represents. My final would be a life-size mannequin, decked out to look like me but in clothing made of my favorite works, eyes that you could look into and press my nose to see a slideshow, a button on my mouth to hear me recite something of my choosing, and spaces cut out of my arms, legs, back, whatever, to put (assuming money isn’t the issue) clips of movies like “Vanilla Sky” or “Harold and Maude” and other favorites to show viewers, in a snapshot, me. This would be like the ultimate self-exploration, and it would involve a lot of actual project work, which isn’t something that I’ve really done since high school.