Meet the marketing team for the Mochila Review! Marketing Manager Crystal Crawford is a senior pursuing a degree in Creative Writing and Publishing. Assistant Marketing Manager Brett Kiser is a graduate with a degree in English Literature, who is pursuing a minor in Creative Writing. Assistant Marketing Manager Darius Griffin is a sophomore pursuing a degree in Electronic Engineering.
Q: Why did you decide to become part of the staff of the Mochila Review?
CC: When I first enrolled in the class, I was only minoring in Creative Writing. The Mochila Review was a required class for the major, and that was really the only reason I enrolled. I thought I was going to do my one semester and then get out. It didn’t seem like something I would actually be interested in. Now, I’m in my fifth semester. I’ve taken on a few different roles in that time, and loved every single one. The ability to give other writers a voice, to give them their first, second, third publication or whatever, is the best feeling in the world. The first time I saw someone tweet about how excited they were to be published for the first time, in our journal, I was hooked.
BK: To gain knowledge in the arena of publishing.
DG: I have a bad habit of following my girlfriend wherever she goes.
Q: What does your staff role entail? What duties are you responsible for?
CC: As the marketing manager, I’m in charge of the Advertising and Promotions (or Marketing) department, though I’m lucky enough to have other people on my team who don’t really need to be managed. We organize the Campus Outreach Weeks, where we spread the word about our campus journal, Canvas. We’re also at the head of all of those lovely emails that get sent out in droves to department chairs, soliciting submissions.
My absolute favorite part of the job, however, is updating the interactive bulletin board outside of the office. Every month is something new. We’ve done push-pin poetry, mad-libs, and even two-sentence scary stories for Halloween. Taking the old board down is always kind of sad, but putting up the new board one day and then coming back the next day to see that people have already started to fill it up with their words and ideas is always exciting.
BK: I am responsible for keeping an Excel spreadsheet for the annual MoRe Prize of English department chairs across the country.
DG: I’m a part of the advertising team and promotions team. My duty is to go where I’m told, and do what I’m told so long as it pertains to promoting our journals.
Q: As a creative writer, what is your area of expertise? (Prose, Poetry, etc.)
CC: I’ve always considered myself more of a prose person. In fact, I dreaded taking the poetry class, because I had convinced myself that I not only hated it, but that I was terrible at it. It wasn’t until January of this year, when I took a poetry class for the second time, that I began to love it. I think I’m somewhere in the middle now. I read more prose, and if I had more time I would probably write more prose. Then again, I would write more poetry, too. I can’t see myself giving up on either at this point.
BK: I prefer prose.
DG: Poetry, particularly spoken word, is the only form of creative writing that interests me. I can recognize, and appreciate any form of writing, but poetry is all I care about. I’ve had genuine life changing experiences (S/O to BNV 2013) because of the Spoken Word movement, and I look forward to experiencing more.
Q: Has being part of the Mochila Review staff helped you as a writer? In what way?
C: Oh yes. First of all, being on the staff of a literary journal forces you to read other people’s works. Whether you like it or not, you’re being exposed to a plethora of writing styles. You start to, consciously or unconsciously, pick out what works and what doesn’t – what you want to work into your own writing, and what you want to stay away from.
You also get to know what kinds of things a publisher is looking for. You start to understand why the publisher/journal you’re sending your work to wants something that requires a minimal amount of effort on their part. You start to see what kinds of topics are just written about far too much, or far too little. Mostly, though, working for a literary journal helps you to empathize with anyone you plan to send your work to. We don’t like to turn down submissions, but we can’t take them all – and that thinking applies to every publisher out there.
BK: As someone who has studied and reads predominantly classic literature, being a member of the staff has exposed me to the material and style of writing more fashionable in modern times.
DG: It has opened me up to reading more, and reading is essential to growing as a writer.
Q: What is one unique thing about you? (A talent/skill, an aspect of your personality, etc.)
CC: I would have to say that the most unique thing about me is my “style”; yes, the scare quotes are intentional. My boyfriend calls it, “eclectically impeccable,” but I just call it mine. I’ve never really understood style. I’ve never been interested in keeping up with trends, or caring what is “in” this season. Half of the time, I don’t even match. Knee-high socks and shorts is one of my favorite combinations, especially if those socks are argyle. I don’t spend a lot of money on shoes unless they’re extremely unique in some way, like my fuzzy leopard-print Converse.
Most of the time, I just wear a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, but there are days where I feel the need to express myself in some way. On those days, I just put on whatever I feel represents my personality the best. I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up on “People of Walmart” one of these days.
BK: I am an outdated model of the American male.
DG: Nothing. Not a thing. No thing.
Q: Who are your favorite authors?
CC: Tad Williams, Tamora Pierce, and Kim Harrison are my favorite fiction authors, and Stacey Waite is my favorite poet.
BK: Thomas Love Peacock, Alphonse Daudet, Cervantes, Thomas Haliburton and Dante.
DG: Kai Davis and Rudy Francisco top that list. I’ve met them both, and embarrassed myself tremendously.
Q: What is your favorite literary magazine?
CC: Either 32 Poems or Susquehanna Review
Brett prefers to read classic literature, and is still new to modern publications, and Darius jokingly answered “Sports Illustrated!”
Q: Any last advice for aspiring authors who wish to submit their work?
CC: First – Times New Roman, 12-point font. I know it’s boring, but the journal you’re submitting to (whether that’s us or someone else) is going to change the font in the end anyway. This “boring” font will help keep the staff from getting distracted from the important thing: the content of your work.
Second – Make sure your work is at its best when you send it in. The less work we have to do to make the piece publishable, the more likely we are to choose it. We’ve had to turn away multiple pieces that had great potential simply because of the time that still needed to be put into it. Trust me, we hate that as much as you do.
Third – If you receive a personal rejection, rejoice! We don’t have time to send personal rejections to everyone, so if you’re one of the few we do send one to, it means that there is something there that was worth our time. Carefully consider any suggestions that we might make in that letter, revise, and send it to another journal.
BK: Never wed your work—always be open to making alterations.
DG: Write what you would want to read, and make the feeling it creates as genuine as possible.