Monday, November 9, 2009

Slightly Different Point of View

After a semester or so of lying silently in wait, I'm making my triumphant return to the blogoverse. I kept a pretty detailed blog of my semester abroad in Italy, but that sort of fizzled out once I returned to the Glorious North. No longer! You will ALL be privy to various arbitrary details of my daily life.

So--I'm Daniel. I'm a senior, I'm from Houston, Texas, I'm a Classics major and I like people, places, and things. I'm one of four Tour Guide coordinators in the Admissions Office, I teach religious school at a synagogue off-campus on Sundays and Wednesdays, and I somehow publish/edit/contribute to a phenomenal campus literary magazine, Thistle. There are about a million things I could tell you about (for example, I'm writing a BALLER Honors Thesis about the prophetics of femininity in the ancient world), but I'm feeling oddly literary today (well, not oddly--I have an English minor and a Religious Studies minor, I always feel literary!), so I'll tell you about Thistle.

Mac has two literary magazines, Chanter and Thistle. Hopefully I'll get my friend Celeste, who publishes Chanter, to talk about that on here--it's a great magazine, but I'm a Thistle baby through and through. Thistle focuses more on the process of writing and editing; we meet once a week in an open meeting for workshop, discussion, editing, and a tiny bit of business.

Thistle was founded by a group of my friends during our freshman year; I didn't join until fall of my sophomore year. Of course, immediately upon joining, I realized that Thistle filled one of the great absences in my life: that of talking about writing. (That's about the time I decided on my English minor, as well).

Thistle comes together as a community of writers interested in creating, perfecting, and enjoying art. We publish a few photos per issue, but are mostly focused on writing, and our content runs the gamut from extended short stories to three-or-four line quips. After five or six workshop meetings we begin compiling the issue, until one night a few of us meet for a couple hours, pump out a layout and the cover, and eat popcorn. Once we go to print, holding a Thistle (at least for me) is like holding a baby.

My favorite part of the whole process is arguably the last thing we do at the layout meeting, which is selecting a quote to go inside the front cover. It sort of sets the tone for the issue--we don't want something to obscure and abstract, but we also need something literary and beautiful. We had a James Merrill quote one issue ("Where every paradox means wonder") and something from Wallace Stevens a few issues later. My favorite, however, was the quote inside our first issue, which I'll end with, because I find it consistently appropriate at various points in my life. It's from Joshua Marie Wilkinson's Lug Your Careless Body Out of the Careful Dust.

The entry lit with lamps. Pry it
gently open.