One of our earliest goals at Gandy Dancer was to connect readers and writers within the SUNY system. We’ve been thrilled to see the work coming in from all over the state. In issue 2.1 you will find stories and poems and essays from Binghamton, Old Westbury, Potsdam, Oswego and more. We have decided to expand our boundaries with this next issue and are pleased to announce an exciting opportunity for former SUNY students. We’ve developed a new feature we’re calling “Post Script.” Here we plan to publish work by one alum per issue.We welcome nominations from faculty and students as well as direct submissions from alums. Faculty can email Rachel Hall, faculty advisor, at firstname.lastname@example.org and alums can submit through OJS. Both nominations and direct submissions should indicate which SUNY the writer attended, provide a graduation date and the name and email of a faculty member we can contact for confirmation. Our next submission deadline is in March 2014.Our first “Post Script” contributor is Rachel Svenson. Rachel graduated from Geneseo in 2010. After graduating, she worked as a teachers assistant in the Voice Charter School in Queens. She is currently working on a novel and applying to MFA programs.
Here’s an excerpt from her essay “Continents” to give you a glimpse of what is coming around the bend in Gandy Dancer 2.1
The fence had been the daily routine, the discussion topic, the meeting point of the village. Every morning, before the day’s heat could burn our lungs or get into the ground, we would gather up shovels and water bottles and walk the hundred yards to the garden, scattering clusters of goats and chickens. Three American girls, four boys and our Gambian counterparts, all men, pulled up the old, rotting fence before mapping out the new one. I loved the hand-hardening, skin-darkening work, even though our African helpers could effortlessly carry six iron posts to my two. It became a given that the men took the harshest work. The girls and I accepted our gentler tasks with resentment, carrying water and untangling wire as the men sweated.
Amadou was one of the Gambian team, slighter and quieter than the other men. He wore a red baseball cap and a sleeveless blue jersey and ducked his head in deference when he laughed.
Once, on a digging day, he came up behind me and gently removed the shovel from my hands. “Like this,” he corrected seriously, and I bit back my protests, stepping back over a bed of pungent, rotting mangoes to watch him dig the hole with fantastic efficiency.
“Thanks, I get it now,” I cut in finally. He handed me the shovel and grinned.
“Don’t strain yourself,” he advised, paternalistic.
I rolled my eyes. “I’m fine.”
Amadou watched me keep digging, slowly but better. “You work hard, Rach,” he said.
I looked in his face for the joke, but there was none, and I smiled back at him, surprised by the strength of my gratitude. He picked up another shovel and worked next to me in silence.