Today’s Intern Update features Sarah Murray, who worked as a fiction editor on Issue 9 of Superstition Review.
With both a BA and MA in Creative Writing as well as involvement in various communities from HEAL International to the LGBTQ Coalition, Sarah has been directing the AIDS Walk in Los Angeles for the past year, promoting the event and overseeing its execution to help combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
She also works as a Digital Operations Editor for Fairy Tale Review, co-managing communications and outreach in addition to supervising the submission-to-publication process.
We are so proud of you Sarah!
If you’d like to learn more, you can visit Sarah’s LinkedIn page here.
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…
More details: Heidi shares, “Since serving as Fiction Editor at Superstition Review, I’ve explored a couple careers, and finally landed on the law. I am currently a Staff Attorney in the Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in Washington, D.C. In a probably surprising way, my experience at Superstition Review and studying English in undergrad really prepared me for law school and my current job. The GAO is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress. For my job, I frequently conduct legal research, read reports, statutes, and case law, analyze this information, edit, and help draft the reports to Congress that GAO creates. My experience at Superstition Review helped me develop all of these skills. What I love most about my current job is the ability to work in both policy and law and to work on exciting topics that are in the news. I also am happy that my job provides me with great work-life balance (for the legal field) and enables to me still pursue my creative passions. Outside of work, I’m currently obsessed with painting and have been exploring different styles and mediums on my Instagram account (@ccl.creative). Superstition Review was such a great experience for me in college and has really propelled me forward creatively and in my career.”
2. Sarah Murray: Fiction Editor, Issue 9 (Spring 2012)
More details: Sarah shares, “I received my MA last year from UC Davis’ Creative Writing Program, and since then I have been writing, working on some stories and poems, I’ve been teaching writing to elementary students, and I’ve been working with Fairy Tale Review as one of their associate digital editors. We just started accepting online submissions for the first time, so I’ve been working a lot on that. Exciting stuff! It is, quite honestly, a dream come true to be working with them; my graduate thesis was on Mexican fairy tales, and I have been obsessed with their publication since I was at ASU. Teaching also has been a dream of mine, longer even than writing, and so it’s a bit unbelievable that here I am, working with kids, and sharing a skill to which I feel so intimately attached. I still do a lot of volunteer work too, with 826LA and with AIDS Walk in both Los Angeles and San Francisco (if you see me at one of the walks, come say hi! I’m usually the one in the bright red lipstick behind the info booth). Right now I am based in Los Angeles again, after bouncing between here and San Francisco, and then living in Davis. Who knows where’s next?”
More details: Mai-Quyen is currently an editor at Isagenix. She shares, “After serving as a fiction editor for Superstition Review, I was a writer intern at Isagenix, a health and wellness company. Originally, I supported the marketing and sales teams by interviewing our distributors, writing and editing their success stories, and helping to create content for a contact management system. From interning through the summer until I graduated from ASU in 2014, my passion for editing evolved. Although I hold a B.A. in English with a concentration in creative writing and a B.S. in technical communication and still love to write, I’ve always loved editing, too. Isagenix hired me full time as a junior editor, and I assisted my senior editor with copyediting and proofreading (and creating, when needed) copy for our corporate blog, websites, print and digital publications, press releases, and sales and marketing tools and flyers. One year later, I was promoted to editor and gained additional responsibilities, including reviewing emails we send out to the field and all of our product labels for our international markets for grammar, accuracy, and spelling, being the final eye as a proofreader for a majority of the content we produce, and creating and maintain a weekly internal newsletter. I’ve also had the opportunity to travel to events in California, Texas, and Canada to edit and proof all the slides and presentations for training and recognition that we provide for our distributors and customers. Attending events and seeing firsthand the success and gratitude of our distributors fulfills me. When I first started ASU, I was pursuing a nursing degree, but I switched over to English because of my love of writing and reading. I’ve always wanted to help people in some way, and are one of the most powerful tools we can use to positively benefit other people’s lives. I hope to publish fiction of my own one day, but for now, I’ve achieved one of my dreams: helping people by editing and providing content they can use, which leads them to helping others.”
Thank you so much to these interns for their service with us; you are all doing such amazing things, and we’re so proud!
Sarah Murray, Issue 9 Fiction Editor, shares where she found her inspiration after Superstition Review and her future plans.
My initial plan after I graduated from ASU was to take some time off. I was going to move back to Los Angeles (which I did), recover for a couple months, and then start looking into Grad school. Study for the GRE. Take the time to actually write and get published. Possibly learn guitar. Possibly start looking into getting my EMT certification. And, of course, probably get a job.
What I didn’t bank on was getting a job with some of the most determined, open-minded people in all of Los Angeles. One day I’m at home, minding my own business on Facebook, when I see a post from AIDS Walk Los Angeles advertising a job opening. I applied and was hired in about a week.
I consider myself an activist. In college, I was involved with a variety of organizations that were dedicated to eliminating social stigma in one way or another, mostly in terms of queer activism. My senior year I was predominantly involved with a nonprofit called HEAL International, which was dedicated to HIV/AIDS awareness and education. When I graduated, I was hesitant to apply to just any position. I wanted to pick a job with a mission statement that I agreed with, something greater than myself that I could have a hand in progressing. AIDS Walk Los Angeles allowed me to do that. I was a Team Coordinator/Fundraising Specialist, which means that I worked on an individual basis with hundreds of people who formed their own teams for AIDS Walk. Teams range from corporate teams to teams made of friends and family members. I specifically was in charge of school and university teams.
AIDS Walk Los Angeles was held in West Hollywood on October 14, 2012. Now that it’s over, I am going to keep with my original plan of continuing my education and other assorted aspirations, and in the meantime I am going to look into volunteering at 826LA. I am also in the process of getting a thesis of mine published (final edited draft for Queer Landscapes: Mapping Queer Space(s) of Praxis and Pedagogy due March 1st; keep your fingers crossed!). But, let me tell you why, when I was working for AIDS Walk, I was the most inspired person you could hope to talk to. First off, I worked with students. Students are my absolute favorite people. I was a student leader myself for many years. At AIDS Walk, I talked to them on the phone all day long. I sent them emails. I visited their schools and answered their questions. I was a resource for them to take advantage of, a point of contact between themselves and the event. The kicker, though, is that I was in charge of empowering all these students (if they weren’t already empowered, which, to be honest, half of them were).
Now that AIDS Walk is over, I’ve mostly been reading and writing. But there’s that damnable itch that’s starting again. Sometime soon, I’m going to end up working for another nonprofit. Maybe even AIDS Walk again. Change is a comin’. I can feel it.
Our Issue 9 Fiction Editor Sarah Murray shared these thoughts about the editorial process.
What was your favorite piece?
“The Ruins” by Elizabeth Rollins. The details in her story were so vivid and poetic. I saw a vast humanity in her desert imagery.
Where there any submissions that you would have liked to include but you weren’t able to?
There were several. There was one about a little girl, set in India, that really left an impression on me. I think it was her agency that attracted me.
How do the editors choose which submissions to publish?
Submissions were honed through a voting process, and after we had figured out which ones got the most responses from our editorial staff (Fiction had 4), we would have a round-table discussion about each one. We really do pay a lot of attention to each submission.
Were there times that you just knew that a piece was perfect for SR?
Yes. Those are the pieces that, when you read, you can’t shake them for days afterwards.
What were some of the common pitfalls of the submissions that were not selected?
That’s actually a really hard question to answer, because a lot of the submissions we received were very different from each other. We did receive quite a few pieces that we did not feel were fully developed yet, and at that point it’s really easy to decide that it’s not the right time to publish, both for Superstition Review and the author.
What was the strangest submission you read/reviewed?
In the realm of fiction, there isn’t really a lot that I would consider strange, because it’s an arena where anything goes. Otherwise, it’s not art.
Please sum up what you’ve gained from your internship this semester. Do you feel like you have a better grasp on editing? Literary magazines? Why?
This internship was my first experience with literary magazines from the inside. I know what it’s like to submit to one, but it’s comforting to now know what goes on behind the scenes. You learn how to navigate your audience better, working for one. It was definitely a great experience.
How has editing impacted your own writing?
Reading always affects writing, and I’ve read more literary fiction through this internship than I had before.
What were some of the obstacles you faced in preparing for Issue 9?
Mostly it was just the decisions on which stories to publish and which ones you had to say “no” to. Those were really, really difficult decisions.