A Note on Editing an Editor's Note
- Alec Mateo
I began a draft of the editor’s note for our offices literary magazine, The Junction. I quickly deleted it all, because it was bad. I started writing another draft of the editors note and I deleted it all after a little longer, because it wasn’t better enough. Then I decided I should think about what I wanted to say, and with a message in mind, I could then go about writing it purposefully. I was satisfied with that conclusion, and that satisfaction bled over into a premature sense of accomplishment, which I rode into a nap. I woke up from the nap, and opened a notebook to list out main points for the editor’s note. I tried to draw a flower, and it was very bad because I’m very bad at drawing flowers. I thought about why I was so bad at drawing flowers. I thought that maybe I was so bad at drawing flowers because I like to see the flower after the lines, as opposed to seeing the flower in my head and putting lines to it. I tried to write the list again. I decided I liked orchids best, or maybe lilies.
I have some decisions to make because I never made it past the list. On the list are a few items that I think contradict each other, and in this contradiction there may be a worthwhile discussion. An item I deemed important on the list was to celebrate the efforts of young artists putting their work out there. It requires courage to get over the insecurity inherent in being a young, unproven writer or visual artist in order to open yourself up to rejection. Everyone who submits something is accomplishing something, and many of the submissions were amazing examples of brave young artistry. Another point, and probably a more difficult one to express effectively, although in my opinion equally important, is that we need to begin to elevate the expectations of what we can accomplish with our expression. That is to say, we need to be ready to prune our pieces, and make them work to create an impactful literary presence. It would take even more courage and involvement, and a commitment to representing the best of ourselves. Therein lies one contradiction. How do I keep a call to action from making a celebration feel like pandering, and how do I keep a celebration from deafening the urgency of a call to action. I think that for either to be effective, a decision needs to be made, an ideological one. What is more positive, to be encouraged or challenged?
For the future of The Junction, I think it would be an interesting move to use an entire semester for collecting submissions. Beginning in the Summer we could begin to call for submissions. Towards the end of that semester we could finish with an already working list of pieces to be included. Once the Spring semester rolls around, we could then invite the authors of the pieces that we are interested in to come to the office for the writers circle, and we could use that space to workshop the pieces into perfection. The magazine would become a collaborative editorial effort, in which the interns and the authors actively and purposefully shape the end product. It can't be a coincidence that most of the submissions are from interns or ex-interns, we have had implicit access to each other as a resource. This process may mean a smaller magazine, but I think that it would be smart trade off to make. I believe that this alteration of the process could help us to truly craft a literary identity for Brooklyn College, and to bolster and expand upon the community we are building in the office. Thoughts on this? Opinions on the direction of the Editor’s Note? Some orchids have 30 inch petals and can weigh about a ton.