A few weeks ago, we attended the Forum for Undergraduate Student Editors (FUSE) annual conference at Bennington College in Vermont. It was invigorating to converse with so many other like-minded, literary-loving undergraduate students. On the first day of the conference, keynote speakers Susan Sgorbati and Danny Michaelson discussed, among other things, the discovery of the dye for the color mauve. Before globalization, the speakers continued, Westerners thought only white swans existed—any other color was unimaginable. Explorers, however, would eventually encounter the black swan, and our speakers challenged us: imagine the mauve swan, imagine the possibilities that seem decidedly impossible.
At Gandy Dancer we are always on the lookout for mauve swans—especially with our new additions to each issue of the journal, whether it’s music (in our last edition) or Post Script (which we added a year ago). This year has been especially swan-filled. Our magazine welcomed a new team of all-women editors and readers, converted to WordPress, switched to Submittable (Farewell, OJS!), added a flash fiction section, and included a translation for the first time. One of the most exciting additions, however, was our first-ever contest: The Gandy Dancer Award in Creative Nonfiction. As always, we were astounded by the level of talent displayed in our submissions, and creative nonfiction was no exception—although some hard decisions were made, a winner emerged: Chloe Forsell, a sophomore in the Creative Writing Track at SUNY Geneseo, for her essay “Water and Light.” We were immediately struck by the emotional resonance of the second-person voice and the captivating and poignant imagery. Our issue opens with “Water and Light”—with the hope that you, dearest readers, will begin your journey with us here.
Gandy Dancer’s reach is also expanding. Although only two years old, we’ve received submissions of art, prose, and poetry from over 30 schools in the SUNY system. This semester, we can add the Fashion Institute of Technology, Purchase, and Cortland to our archives. From the very beginning, Gandy Dancer’s goal has been to foster a community for the diverse talents of SUNY students, as well as provide a space for conversation between students with similar creative interests. And as we enter the spring semester and begin to look towards our post-graduation plans (as well as fantastically-colored birds in the other spectrum of our lives), we continue to be in awe of the breadth of talent we’ve seen from our fellow SUNY students.
This semester, when we stepped into the role of Managing Editors, neither of us quite knew what to expect. We didn’t expect to debate proper hyphen usage over bowls of butternut squash and apple soup; travel to Vermont and find the only train-themed restaurant in Bennington (with the most delectable eggplant parm we’ve ever had); or forge personal and professional connections with writers and editors across the country, in addition to New York State. And despite all of the ups and downs, last-minute panics, and moments of elation after setting our hands on a particularly enthralling submission, we will be so very sad to pass on the torch this December. We do, however, know that our more-than-capable successors will continue on this path of imagining the possibilities in the decidedly impossible.
Here’s to more mauve swans!
Katie & Lucia
Managing Editors, Fall 2014