Reality Check in the Ram Van

By Anna Wolk, Managing Editor (and soon-to-be rock star)

“Don’t do it.” she said.

Sleepy, warm and tired I had just muttered to my friend in the Fordham University Ram Van that I was thinking about going into publishing.  Maybe I was in a state of delirium.  I had spent all day shopping and running around traveling from Coney Island to Manhattan and for some reason decided that this was the perfect time to discuss my future.  So here I am, lulled into a false sense of security amongst my carefree and just as delirious friends talking about how I’d love to go into publishing.  The driver of the van, who was apparently eavesdropping, felt inclined to turn down her Mumford and Son’s playlist decided to share some encouraging words of wisdom.  Practically blowing through every red light, narrowly making the green, she relayed her publishing horror story.

“Don’t do it.” she said, looking lost, as if on an acid trip flash back.  “I was in publishing, and hated it.  You think it’s going to be glamorous and it isn’t.  If you aren’t on top you get treated like crap and if you are the lowest of the low get ready to be used.”  She takes a break making a left turn on red. “I got to meet authors like J.K. Rowling and that was cool I guess… but it’s not worth the torture.  It’s all girls who graduated from Vassar, whose parents pay for their apartments in the city.  It’s not for us.”

I was scared; first because this woman was driving around the streets of New York like a maniac and secondly because she put me in the same category as her.  Was I doomed to dream of the perfect publishing career and then come to the bitter realization that I am just another cog in the wheel with no real voice.  No, I would never let that happen.  Dogwood is like a fairy tale, as corny and cliché as it sounds.  I couldn’t have asked for a better and more convenient internship.  What I have to say matters.  Our meetings are productive.  What we do has a direct effect on the issue we are putting out.  And more importantly, what we are doing is having a greater and hopefully positive effect on others like our readers, contributors, judges, and artists.

Analyzing literature is a passion of mine, so much so that watching a movie or reading a story becomes a physiological puzzle.  These complexities that I, as well as my peers and colleges see in literature should be translated to the way it is produced.  The cover art, the paper, the merchandise should represent the stories the journal or book is producing as best as possible.  New methods and ideas have circulated through our small staff and have brought Dogwood to a place where it represents the new ideas that art brings with every generation and every year.  The theme is edgier, more realistic.  The cover depicts a man, drawn quite abstractly but making a clear statement concerning social and culture issues of the present.  How can we make this different, better, worth more to the reader and us?  These questions drive me not only to do the best for this publication, but to also think of my future as someone involved in publishing, writing and the literary world.

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