Finishing The Omen

30 04 2008

I just finished laying out my very last Omen as Editor-in-Chief. The Omen is Hampshire College’s open submission publication. We’ll take anything, as long as it’s not anonymous or libelous. We excel in not editing and severely offending people, often by accident and sometimes by design. The publication just turned fifteen this year, a very proud moment. It is Hampshire’s longest lived major publication. The school newspaper has recreated itself every four to eight years, and they’ve always sucked. We at least have the fortune of being as good (or as terrible) as our submissions.

Our motto is, “We hate so you don’t have to.”
Our haiku is:
“Views in the Omen
Do not necessarily
Reflect the staff’s views”

It’s a really good issue. Another forty pages! Eighteen unique contributors (including staff and myself)! I would call that a success. Even if it’s not really journalism, as some argue, curating so much from a campus that’s this apathetic? Call it a win, considering that when I joined the Omen, we had a staff of three to four, and about that many contributors as well.

But damn if that publication isn’t determined to sap every last drop of my energy. I was planning to go to bed five hours ago… today was already terrible because of sleep deprivation (and rain, and residual hayfever).

Special special thanks to Lindsay who put up with me being incredibly cranky. We bonded over the printer which jammed in a terrifically catastrophic way.

Was it former editor Jeff Paternestro who said that an Omen editor wasn’t really an Omen editor until he had caused himself physical damage trying to get it done? That, and if you don’t have a period of time in which you’re afraid to stand in line at the school store for fear of being punched in the face, you’re not doing your job. Actually, I think Abby, from whom I inherited the position, said that to me first.

I dunno. Two all-nighters for this damn paper, and I still think it’s one of the most important things I’ve done during my time here. Through it, I’ve engaged with issues of free speech over and over, learning its importance. Even if I’ll regret it in the morning, I call that a success. Thank you, The Omen, for making my time at Hampshire more exciting, dangerous, and fulfilling. Because of you, I have learned to love publishing.

All told, I was Editor in Chief for essentially five semesters, producing about thirty issues. Average it all to maybe 28 pages an issue, that’s around 840 pages printed and distributed. That’s 840 pages of making people think. Add that to two semesters I spent working on it, and that’s another 12 issues, pushing my page count over 1000. I gave up every other Saturday and certainly other large portions of those weekends for the publication. Giving it a minimum of ten hours for each issue quickly adds up, probably pushing 450 hours in total. Wow. If only the people who hated me knew how much energy I put into making them hate me!

Always remember, the Omen loves you. A toast to the next fifteen years of an important and awesome publication!

After 3 Years, It’s Still Only 11 Pages…

31 03 2008

My career as a writer peaked in third grade when I wrote a story that my teacher loved so much, she helped me turn it into a class play to be performed in front of the neighboring second grade class. I was in fourth grade the last time I completed a fantasy story.

I am beginning to think it’s about time for me to break back into the business.

I read quite a lot of books (especially from the fantasy genre) and I have come to the realization that I can write just as well as a lot of the published authors I read, and my ideas for stories are just as interesting if not more interesting than some of the published stories I read. Of course, some or all of this thinking could be attributed to personal bias. My dad told me I was a good writer when I was in elementary school and the praise has far outlasted my college professors declaring my writing atrocious.

So here’s my secret thought; I would like to be a published author before I graduate college. I would, at the very least, like to have seriously attempted to become a published author before I graduate college. I have a little over two years left with a story that is only 11 pages long after three years in the works… but hey, I started writing the story over three years ago thinking that it was at least halfway decent, and three years later I still think it’s at least halfway decent.

That has to count for something, right?