On the cover of “riverrun” Volume 48, a phoenix spreads its wings against a blue and lilac splash of watercolor. Its delicate, fiery feathers reflect the message of the editorial class: “Let this be the year that we all rise from the ashes.”
This semester, the 2022 “riverrun” class will put together Volume 49 of the UCCS student literary and arts journal and has extended their submissions call to Feb. 12.
Selected submissions will be published in the journal later this spring. The editorial class will also accept short performance works to publish digitally. Editors recommend that submissions be shorter than 10 pages and performance works be shorter than 10 minutes, according to the website.
“We really just want to represent the breadth of the creative interest of the student body when it comes to art, creative writing and creative nonfiction,” said senior psychology major Aja Zamundu, a member of the class’s outreach committee.
“Creativity has two components, it has form and innovation,” she said. “When the form is established very loosely, it leaves a lot more room for innovative ideas and creative ideas.”
Zamundu encouraged students to try to publish the works they are most passionate about.
“What we’re looking for people to do is submit the stories that are authentic to your viewpoint or the stories that you’re really excited about. It doesn’t have to be your absolute best thing that you’ve ever written, but the thing that you like the most,” she said. “Share that with people and allow them to have an emotional response.”
Zamundu believes “riverrun” benefits students by allowing them to experience the publishing process in a learning environment, regardless of whether they are interested in an artistic career.
“The incredible thing about ‘riverrun’ is you get to go through the process of submission and the process of possibly being published in the journal without a tremendous amount of risk,” she said.
“I think submitting is trying to connect with somebody in a very real and powerful and authentic way, and whether somebody is published or not I don’t think that you can compare this experience with anything else in terms of the self-validation it will bring you to know you had the courage to share something you’ve created with other people.”
According to Zamundu, the editors want to let the content of the submissions guide the journal’s theme. “Sometimes you read a piece or you see an image and it really ties everything else together,” she said.
From there, the class will make stylistic choices, such as cover design, paper type, journal dimensions and layout. “We’re just looking at a lot of different options for how we can create the best pedestal to put all of these creative expressions on,” Zamundu said. “We really want it to be experiential, almost like an archive of what people are making during this time.”
Publishing during a pandemic has forced the class to adapt, but it has also inspired them, Zamundu said.
“We haven’t been able to go the events that we used to where we would share stories and art and create creative worlds with one another,” she said. “So, what are the new ways that we can create spaces, whether they’re virtual or face-to-face, where people feel comfortable enough to share their stories?”
The class aims to increase student engagement this year by attending the upcoming club fair. Zamundu said they plan to offer timed prompt writing sessions to students at the club fair with the goal of including some short-form responses in addition to the regular submissions.
“While they might not be fully developed, it just is a snapshot of the brains, the creative minds, of the people on campus,” she said.
Zamundu pointed to the guidance of instructor Chris Martin, who has experience in bookbinding and typography, and credited him with bringing “a fresh set of ideas” to the class.
After receiving submissions, the class will restructure from the current design, budget and outreach committees into selection committees to review students’ work in each category — which is made anonymous until selection, according to the website.
“riverrun” representatives will be at the spring club fair in Berger Hall on Feb. 15 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
For more information on “riverrun” or to read past volumes, visit their website.