New Perspectives

Ruvi's Blog PictureI’ve had the opportunity of being on the Élan staff for two years, and I’ve witnessed a dramatic evolution within that short time. This is probably due to the fact that I’ve had two different editorial roles within the staff. I started as Fiction Editor last year, and became Web Editor this year. The two exist in completely separate spheres, but they come together to produce the same result; the print book that showcases our yearlong dedication and the unique work of young writers everywhere.

Working as Fiction Editor was very focused. I was involved in the process for a very specific period of time and had one particular realm to work in. Picking the pieces that would be published in the book felt like an intimate process. The initial reading process brings the whole staff together, later splitting off into the individual genre editors discussing the pieces. My favorite parts of the whole thing were the moments in which the Senior Editor and I talked about the pieces we had made decisions on, as well as the ones we had yet to decide on. It was those moments that made me feel the most like a writer, that reminded me that I was a member of the staff due to my love of writing.

I needed those reminders within my first year on the staff. The feeling was always strongest when we were actually producing the book because I could actually see our work coming to life. There would soon be a physical manifestation of all the work and dedication we’d put in, and that was usually the point where I marveled at the sense of community that Élan brought about.

This year as Web Editor brought a very different involvement on the staff. The website focuses more on interaction with the readers and allowing the staff members to be seen from a closer perspective. Last year, I didn’t have any idea who was reading our blog posts or following our website, but this year I got a firsthand account of all of that. That, in its own way, offered some new perspective on the magazine as a whole. It was refreshing for me to see that writers were coming together to read what our staff members had to say, that people were actually engaged in what we were doing.

Being Web Editor also came with more responsibility, because it is so dependent on public response and keeping our readers updated. There was a tighter schedule to keep to and work dates came a lot more often than just book production. I had much more of a hands-on approach, and that is what really allowed me to see the influence that Élan has on the community of young writers. It brings people together that normally wouldn’t have much of a relationship.

That is ultimately what has been the most valuable to me about being on this staff. It gets away from me sometimes, but there are always those very particular moments that say to me, “You are a writer, and you are here to bring writers together.”

-Ruvi Gonzalez, Senior Website Editor

Jumping In

20140928_111635(4)-1 (2)I –like so many others on this staff- am new to Élan this year. What sets my experience apart from others, however, is that my role, my small piece of this literary magazine puzzle, is as new as I am.

After the first few days of class once meetings were held and staff positions decided on, we each were given a letter, a sort of welcome to your job/ this is how you do it kind of packet written by the amazing group of students who came before us. I was handed a packet not for my position as Web Editor, but one that was deemed “close.” I had mixed emotions about it. On one hand, I was excited to be trusted in fulfilling an unchartered editorial job, on the other hand, I felt a little like I was being pushed off of a dock before I knew how to swim.

Over the course of these first weeks, before submissions come pouring in and we’re up to our knees in department events, I’ve mostly been learning and experimenting. Running a website, I’ve come to realize, is a lot of work, a lot of trial and error. Learning the system has been a very positive experience, thanks to the lovely and talented Taylor Austell. I now know how to maintain the great standards that already exist, and have developed things I’d like to change.

I’m the kind of person who has to use the same pen until its ink runs dry, who organizes her closet not only by clothing type but color and shade as well. That being said, I jumped at the idea of enhancing our Blog. I created a rotating schedule, varied by position and grade, and decided that we should have monthly themes. September, of course, has been all about new beginnings and a fresh school year. I believe we have a website to be proud of, and our blog has great potential. It’s important that our audience not only sees the product of our labors, but can also read the product of our words. The Élan staff has plenty to say.

Feel free to walk on this literary journey with us, not only by reading the gifted student work we publish, but by taking a look behind the scenes. Share our troubles and triumphs, laugh at our mistakes as we learn and grow, and maybe –hopefully- take a little something back with you.

-Savannah Thanscheidt, Web Editor