What’s her name? Bandru. And there’s a million things she hasn’t done, just you wait. Just you wait.
The Great Lake Review is the only literary journal on SUNY Oswego campus. After staying up mad late and looking through all the previous covers on the SUNY Oswego’s GLR Archive about a week ago, I discovered that the GLR has been around Oswego since 1974, though the library archive starts in 1975. We can only hope that there wasn’t many important, crucial stories in the 1974 edition, for I fear it may be lost forever.
Though there have been some rocky years for the GLR, full years where there was no publication, or when there was editions that covered a full year instead of a semester, it is still thriving and trying to reach out to the campus as a whole. As of right now, a website is in the making to better display the beauty of the GLR and how it is impacting students around campus. It’s still under construction, but some bits are updated.
If you found yourself to this blog post, I hope you have a time to look up the GLR and SUNY Oswego. They’re pretty nifty. Focusing on the now, and where the GLR is heading now, I interviewed the lovely Editor-in-Chief, Christina Bandru.
As this was an email interview, because our schedules did not line up, I can only imagine how she looked.
Hair curled down in ringlets over her shoulders.
Shoulders shifting to pull her sweater jacket closer to her body.
Legs crossed as she sat with her laptop in her lap.
Hoping that I will put some personal cat photos in our interview blog.
Answering my questions, typing them out late at night, rubbing her eyes and stretching her back like how a cat might stretch on the bed.
Bandru joined the GLR in the Fall of 2014. She wanted to join a similar club to GLR while in high school, but she never had a chance. As a freshmen, she started to become more friends with with others in her wing who were also in her class.
“I also just so happened to live across the hall from the EIC [Editor in Chief] of the time, Ethan” said Bandru.
She became the Editor-in-Chief in Fall 2016, getting there by taking it one step at a time.
When I was a freshman, I didn’t have to dedicate too much time to GLR. When I was a sophomore, I was the club’s secretary, so I started taking on more responsibilities, which took up more of my time. I really like getting a say in things I’m involved in though, so I was totally okay with this. Now that I’m Editor-in-Chief, I’m starting to realize how much of my life revolves around GLR. I spent so many hours just placing pieces into InDesign last semester it was ridiculous. It’s worth it in the end; it just gets hard prioritizing things sometimes. I almost always prefer GLR work to homework, but obviously school has to come first.
I asked Banrdu what was the greatest benefit of finishing a journal and what’s the hardest part in the process of making the journal. She surprised me when she answered,
It feels amazing seeing the journal in person for the first time. I know how much work went into it, so getting to see the finished product and share it with others is pretty spectacular.
For me the hardest part was physically putting the book together using InDesign. I wasn’t familiar with the software at all. I also spent a long time trying to figure out what pieces should go where. At one point I literally wrote all the titles on separate sticky notes and stuck them around my room, constantly rearranging them until I was happy with the order.
Along those lines, I was curious what she was most nervous about in regards to the journal:
I’m nervous about the aesthetics of it. I’m nervous about typos. I’m nervous about making something that isn’t as good as past issues have been. I don’t do things half-assed, so I hope my hard work (and all the work the writers, artists, and editors do) shows.
When hard work is put into the journal, there is a great success that can be felt. Anyone who looks at the Fall 2016 Edition might just see all the faults, but Christina was left on her own to learn everything from scratch. When she asked help on how to remake the wheel, she was directed to an outdated manual that told you to put the spokes in the wrong holes.
Christina is a writer herself and considering how many pieces come through, submissions to be posted in the GLR, I was curious to see if this changed her writing style. She answered, “Getting to see so many different pieces in different generations definitely helps with inspiration. I think getting to constantly look at other people’s work helps you realize what you can do to improve your own.”
Yes, girl, yes. Preach. I’m a strong believer that every writer should always be reading, and continuing to read. We are constantly inspired by each other. In VIDA: An Interview with Erin Belieu” (Belieu and Prufer) LP 101-119, they had commented on how “It is clear that these editors and publishers often want short
stories, essays and poems that are written from the subject position with which they already identify” (107). Such is not the case with Bandru. She told me that she encourages writers to
Write something genuine. Don’t write what you think is mainstream because that’s boring. I personally appreciate weird things. I wrote a love poem about chopping my hands off and giving it to someone, so obviously my preference is a little on the weird and dark side.
Don’t be afraid to try something new. Any good publisher worth their coin will reach out for new ideas.
To be in charge of such a great feat that occurs each semester, I wondered if Bandru had any goals for after college, and she said that she only knew that she wanted to do something that involves the creative work of literature. And probably something that involves making lists, because she adores making lists. One of her most enjoyable tasks is to figure out how to put all the pieces together. Though her favorite thing that involves the GLR is watching all the submissions come in, and even more wicked to see some select students be published for the first time.
Bandru said, in regards to any advice she would give editors on the GLR, that she thought “it would be beneficial to have taken some type of class with a workshop or editing. That would definitely come in handy when it comes time to select and edit pieces. People should also be motivated and have some leadership skills, because you can’t be afraid to speak your mind when it comes to creating something like this.”
From personal experience, I agree with that. If you love a piece, you need to have the voice to speak up for it with passion and to argue for that piece even if the end of the world is coming.
On the other end, writers, you need to write that piece that will cause an editor such passion. I know you can do that.
I’m most proud of what I’ve done for GLR and what I did as a TA for Juliet Giglio. I would say I hope I’m remembered for those things since I put so much time and energy into them.
Christina Banrdu will be graduating in December 2017. She will be missed.
KIRSTEN STALLER IS A JUNIOR AT SUNY OSWEGO. SHE IS A CREATIVE WRITING MAJOR WITH A MINOR IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION. SHE AIMS TO WORK IN A PUBLISHING COMPANY, LOVES HER CATS, AND HER TEA. SHE HAILS FROM THE VILLAGE OF QUAKER HILL, CONNECTICUT. THOUGH SHE LIVES ON A FARM, SHE IS NOT A FARMER. WRITER THROUGH AND THROUGH.