Hello Gandy Dancers! We are introducing our new Managing Editors for the next two semesters, Meghan Fellows and Lily Codera! Here are some questions and answers that the ladies answered for you to get to know them better. Cheers!
Meg Interviews Lily:
What are you most excited about for Gandy Dancer, and this upcoming year?
I’m super excited to meet the new GD crew and to also meet this year’s contributors through their work. In a more general sense, I’m excited to take more geology classes, as well as my second poetry workshop. In an even more general sense, I’m pumped to finish watching the new season of Twin Peaks.
As a double major in creative writing and geology, do you think these two separate disciplines help you in your writing process?
Yeah, definitely. I truly feel that anything you study, pursue, and/or have passion for will have some kind of a cool impact on your writing. The classes that I take outside of the creative writing department expand my bank of knowledge and give me more to write about.
You were a poetry reader for Gandy Dancer last semester. Would you say this is your favorite genre to read and write, or do you also have others?
I do like reading poetry submissions for Gandy Dancer a ton, but outside of class, my taste in reading material jumps between the genres. For my own writing, it’s difficult to pick a favorite mainly because I still feel I have so much investigation and discovery to do. So far, I’ve done the most work with poetry and creative nonfiction, but overall I am super interested in work that rides the boundaries between poetry and prose.
As an apprentice for the SummerWrite Program at Writers and Books this summer, did you gain any new insight on writing or the writing process? Did you learn anything new in general?
Definitely. Not to be dramatic, but it was honestly one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. I think one of my biggest takeaways was a reminder to hold onto your passions.
My first week apprenticing at SummerWrite, I met a kid named Harrison who shared my interest in paleontology–namely dinosaurs. For me, this was a passion I had long misplaced (probably at the age of 8 or 9) and had only recently rediscovered. At the current age of 13, Harrison is actively pursuing a path that would lead to a career in paleontology which I just thought was so cool. I guess this isn’t directly about the writing process, but to my point earlier, any other passions you have can be seriously helpful in feeding into your writing.
Did you travel anywhere exciting this summer?
I did actually! I spent 11 days traveling around parts of England as well as Prague in the Czech Republic. I got to visit some friends of mine and also got to make some new ones.
As a fellow barista, how do you take your coffee/what is the best beverage you’ve ever made on the job?
My go-to coffee drinks are either americano or plain brewed black coffee; my favorite drinks to make though are typically ones that take a little more artistry: frappuccinos, fancy lattes, and such.
If you could go anywhere and disconnect for one whole month, where would you go and why?
Ooh, I love this question. There are honestly so many places on my list to visit, but I’ve always had this dream of travelling to Tibet to live in the mountains for a while and to help take care of yaks. I feel like that would be a pretty choice place to disconnect.
What is your favorite season?
I feel like my answer to this changes (with the seasons haha), but right now I’m going to go with autumn.
In our current political climate, do you think we have a duty as artists and writers to have an impact on what happens within the administration? Do you think we have a duty in general?
Absolutely. I mean, I don’t want to assume that we can have any kind of direct or immediate impact, but I do think that we have the potential to. There are so many voices that need to be heard, perspectives that need to be brought to light, and I feel that writing is one of the most valuable ways that we can start to make changes. I hate to say this, but I feel that some of the grim events in the past year or so have actually been helpful for social activism and for the arts in particular.
What is the best bug? Worst bug?
The best bug would probably be a roly poly or a praying mantis. The worst bug is hands down a house centipede (although they apparently are good to have because they eat a lot of other bad things).
How do you get into your writing zone? Favorite time of day to write/mood music/snacks??
I want/need to try to change this, but I’m really most productive quite late at night. /-: My favorite types of tunes for writing and studying in general are lo-fi hip hop beats, and there is usually an unhealthy amount of caffeine involved.
Lily Interviews Meg:
What are you most excited for this upcoming year of Gandy Dancer and in general?
I think I’m most excited to meet everyone, and watch as a theme unfolds. It’s always so interesting to watch the magazine form and flow right before our eyes, without us even really trying to stitch the pieces together. I love knowing that none of these of artists or authors really know each other, yet we get to form something cohesive with their pieces that make it seem like they are all connected in some way. It’s magic to read their stories, look at their artwork, and figure out exactly where they should be alongside others, as if we all belong to something. Which we do. We belong to the art world, and we get produce this beautiful thing that shows it.
So, I know you write creative nonfiction yourself as we had that workshop together last semester. How do you feel that simultaneously being the section head for CNF at Gandy Dancer impacted your relationship with the genre and/or perhaps shaped your growth within it?
It was so fulfilling to learn something new in my CNF class, and then get to implement it in our next reading session for Gandy Dancer. I felt as though being the CNF head editor, and being in a CNF class kept me sharp, and completely embedded in the CNF world where I really love to be. It was tough sometimes- but I think both of the opportunities I was given helped me grow as a writer and reader.
I understand that you’re also taking your first poetry workshop this coming semester (also with me hehe)–how do you feel about that?
I am so excited about this poetry class! (and not just because we’re taking it together haha). I took an Analytics of Poetry class with Dr. Doggett last semester that made me look at poetry in a whole new way. I learned about the logistics of form, and creating a world within a poem, and separating oneself from being the speaker of a poem you are writing. I’ve always been infatuated with poetry, but was always so afraid to actually sit down and write my own poems without thinking they were trash. I can’t wait to dive in, and face my fears!
What’s an author or book that you feel made a significant impact on your own writing or way of looking at the world (and how)?
I recently just read Green Girl by Kate Zambreno. I have never read a book with such an impactful and intricate narrative before. The story was told in a third person perspective, but the narrator was not only telling the story of Ruth, the protagonist, but also judging and projecting her own feelings on Ruth as she lived her day to day life in London. Every movement that Ruth made seemed to be meticulously mapped out to drive the plot of the story, but also to drive the narrator to new discoveries as well. To see a story told in such a non-traditional way really made me take a step back, and look at my own writing in a different way. Zambreno broke all of the rules for me, and left me with a new perspective on fiction (which I’m not usually in to).
Did you go anywhere cool this summer?
I did! I went to Colorado in May, which was amazing. I learned that altitude sickness is super real, but I loved every second of my time there. I saw a concert at Red Rocks too, which is honestly indescribable. As a live music junkie, I can’t stress enough how awesome the acoustics are when you’re in a natural concert space. I also went to Vermont twice for two separate music festivals. Vermont is literally my favorite place in the world. I feel very grateful.
How was your experience interning for Writers & Books’ SummerWrite program this summer?
It was a whirlwind! I gained experience from some very talented and patient coordinators, and learned a lot of patience as well. I had never really worked with children before, and I feel like it was something that I was lacking in my life. Kids are so creative, and so open to new experiences. I’m so glad I took on the challenge, and tried something new!
Do you have any current goals for developing your writing?
Oh, man. This summer was so busy for me, I felt like I barely had time to sit down and actually write something of substance. In developing my writing, I really want to take time and learn patience in the process. I lack that, in all honesty. This summer has taught me that being honest with myself and others is what is going to get me the fulfillment that I need, and I want to incorporate that into my writing as much as I can. And if that means experimenting, and revising, and then having to start all over again because I hate what I produce, I am ready for that. I am ready for many years of mistakes in order to find what works for me.
Do you have a go-to song to dance to?
Yes! “Came out of a Lady” by Rubblebucket. So good, so catchy. Makes me wiggle every time it comes on. And the song is about how we’ve all come out of “Lady Holes” which I think is such a hilarious way of saying we all come out of the same place, no matter who we are. It’s so cute.
How do you take your coffee? (or do you take your coffee at all)
I take my coffee strong, cold, and sweet. As a barista, I like to be able to drink my coffee right away- no fuss in waiting for it to cool down!
After some of the events that have transpired in the past year or so, what do you think is the most important thing that a writer or artist in general can do to help, if at all?
I think it’s really important to make our voices heard. We have this thing where we can take our thoughts, and write them down in ways that are creative and interesting, and beautiful. Having these creative super powers, it seems like our duty to speak loudly, write loudly, and create honestly. There’s no greater duty than speaking and writing honestly about the things that make us who we are in these moments. It’s imperative to have an opinion, and not hold back. We are all the same underneath skin and clothing. But our stories make us unique. We need to make them heard.