How did you get started with Touchstones?
I first heard about Touchstones, a student journal for literature and art, when then-editor-in-chief Amber Watson promoted it during an intro-level English course. When class ended, I approached Amber and expressed my interest in the journal, at which point she invited me to reading night, an event where readers read and vote on submissions. At this time in my life, I had wanted to edit professionally after earning my degree, and I saw Touchstones as potential experience for a resume. But as I logged semesters with the journal, I aspired to design works of my own. Soon my goals shifted, and I chose to work toward a Ph. D. as I practiced my writing, hoping someday to create pieces worthy of publication. Ironically, I may not be involved with the journal today if I had passed that intro English course the first time: I met Amber my second round through. Talk about odd luck.
What do you hope to get out of your experience with Touchstones?
First off, I hope to improve my writing by working with so many pieces. The journal can elevate its staff’s writing since it exposes us to submissions with varied strengths and weaknesses. Take, for example, our selection process, which is pretty much a vast critiquing activity. It trains one to better understand the elements of each piece, such as how its plotline works, whether or not sentences flow, how words impact the tone, etc. After seeing hundreds of original works, it becomes easier to identify the elements in your writing and determine whether they need work. Secondly, high positions in the journal offer internship credit, which count as upper division classes, and those positions look great on graduate school applications.
What are some of the difficulties and high points of being the editor for Touchstones?
Being editor-in-chief is always fearing you’ve forgotten something. With over twenty students helping, and more than 300 total submissions, and grain-sized details that shake loose from your shoe treads, you’re never sure if you’ve finished it all. The high points have been working with a great crew and believing we’ll make something good.
What are your future goals?
To be published in Touchstones. I have been on staff since I started into my major, so I‘ve never submitted. I really want to place in both prose and poetry (a tough, tough task), and have my photography accepted. After I leave UVU, my goals are to receive a TA position at a grad school, which waives the tuition, and earn a Ph. D. in creative writing. Then I hope to be a published author and a professor at a University.