Happy Almost Solstice

With the solstice coming in a few days, I wonder why our calendar isn’t based more on the solstice and the equinoxes. Why doesn’t the new year start with the winter solstice? It makes perfect sense in my mind. That shift in light and feeling seems like the ideal time to start anew. But I didn’t create the calendar, and I don’t see people changing it now. Speaking of starting something new.

The solstice brings thoughts of new possibilities, even more than spring. Those few moments of added light each day makes all the difference. When I start something new, I try to have two minds about it. One is what I want and the goal. The other is an openness to the unknown. Starting grad school, I had no idea what I’d be doing or experiencing, and I kinda love that feeling. I like half knowing what’s happening and half winging it. It’s a good balance for me. One thing I didn’t know I always wanted to do is being Managing Editor of Barzakh Literary Magazine. It’s the UAlbany grad school literary journal. I didn’t know it existed when I started the program. Once I did, I wanted to be a part of it.

Last spring, I worked full-time and went to school full-time, so I didn’t want to do anything more. I just knew I wanted to do something at some point. This fall, I spoke with one of the Editors in Chief, and he offered opportunity and possibility. I took a few days to think it over and said, “I totally want to do that.”

I’m so happy to find a way to use my years and skills as a community educator and organizer but in this new field. If there’s one thing I can do, it’s get info to people. I’m aware of my role as a gatekeeper in this world, and I love throwing that damned gate open. I’m in charge of our social media, so I make posts and engage with our community. I love it so much. (check us out on IG, FB, or TW)

We have these cute pencils in the office and started taking photos of them. They make me so happy. I’m always trying to figure out ways to use them and give them to other people. A lesson I learned in doing outreach, cute stuff does no good locked inside a box.

Recently, Barzakh has been on a couple of Entropy Magazines‘ best-of lists. Three of the pieces we published were on best online fiction and short story. And!! Barzakh made it on the favorite presses, magazines, publishers, and journals list. Now, I’ve only been involved for like 2.5 months, so I’m not going to take an ounce of credit for either of those, but I get to be the one to tell other people about it. I get to spread the word about how awesome my peers are. Again, something I enjoyed doing in my previous life and am so happy to do again.

For me, this role all comes down to me being a fan. I love good writing. I love telling other people about good writing. And I love helping people find places to submit their work. There’s a bunch of other stuff admin stuff I do as well, and to be honest, I like doing that too. There’s always a ton of behind-the-scenes work, and that’s cool. It’s how the magic gets made.

Anyway, this is all to say I didn’t know this was something I always wanted to do, and I’m so happy I’m doing it. I also realize that as much as I enjoy it, roles like this are someone else’s nightmare fuel. As I used to tell my students, it’s all about finding a good fit.

Happy Solstice. What new thing have you taken on?

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