This spring, Janelle Drumwright became Carve’s new production editor, copyediting the features of the magazine and building each quarterly print issue. But Janelle has been a member of the Carve Community for a while, beginning as a reader and submitter and then working on the magazine in various roles. Get to know her a little bit below.
Janelle lives in San Diego, CA, where she works in marketing for a biotech startup and teaches online creative writing classes for The Writers Studio. Her flash fiction and prose poetry have appeared in Necessary Fiction, Mulberry Fork Review, and Naugatuck River Review. A lifelong desert dweller before moving to California, she loves the beach but still misses the smell of creosote before a monsoon. Find her at janellewrites.com.
You’ve been involved with Carve for a few years—as a contest reader, a blogger, a copyeditor, and you’ve interviewed writers for the magazine too. How did you discover Carve?
When I first started submitting my work to journals about six years ago, I was trying to find a home for a prose poem I’d been working on for some time. I believe I found Carve on Duotrope while searching for journals that accepted prose poetry, and I was drawn to the “Poefictionry” section the magazine used to include. After submitting, I received a copy of the magazine and absolutely fell in love with it. The issue was not only gorgeous, but it was so generous to both writers and readers because of features like the Story Statshots, What We Talk About, and Decline/Accept. I think Carve was the first literary journal I’d come across that acknowledged how challenging writing really was and sought to take away some of the mystery around being successful at it. Reading Carve made me feel less alone as a writer, inspired me with others’ work, and bolstered my drive to keep going.
As the production editor, you’re involved in creating the print issues of Carve. People tend to speculate that “print is dead,” but at Carve we know it’s not! Why do you think print publications matter?
I am a strong believer that reading is a tactile/sensory experience as much as an emotional or intellectual one. Although I do own a Kindle, I don’t read e-books very often unless I’m traveling and the Kindle is more convenient. There’s something about turning a page between your fingers, sliding a bookmark in and out of the spine, being able to physically track your progress through the book, the scent of the cover and the paper, that adds to the magic of reading. One of the things I remember when I first discovered Carve was that the pages were glossy back then, and I loved the sensory experience of turning the pages in each issue. Print publications also allow us to unplug from technology and the internet for a while, and are shareable in ways that electronic/online publications are not. I used to donate the print literary magazines I subscribed to to the writing program I taught for after I’d read them so students could explore them for their own inspiration and work, and I’ve lost track of how many books I’ve given away to family and friends who I think will enjoy them. Print publications have the capacity to be rediscovered by new readers over and over again.
You’re a writer, too. What has your recent work been focused on?
Up to this point, I’ve really focused on writing fiction, although often with a healthy amount of my own experiences included, but lately, I’ve found myself gravitating toward nonfiction. Carve played a role in that because writing posts for the Carve blog taught me how to own my experiences and share them with others in meaningful ways. I’ve also recently started teaching memoir writing online for The Writers Studio, and that’s inspired me to start thinking about what I might have to say and share about my own life. Material I’m circling around right now includes my experience growing up as a twin and what it means to not want children in a world that expects you to want (and have) them.
What are some of your favorite lit mags to read or submit to, and why?
I must say that I’m really sad that Glimmer Train’s run has come to an end. I really enjoyed reading the work that they published, and I found the journal extremely supportive of and accessible to writers. Another place I love is The Masters Review. I served as a reader for them for a while, and they publish some really beautiful, unexpected prose. I also appreciate their dedication to giving emerging writers a platform for their work. One Story is another favorite of mine because receiving a short story in the mail every three or four weeks is really good for me, because it’s bite-sized and therefore manageable. With longer lit mags, I’ll often have stacks of unread issues piling up because I don’t have time to read them all before the next round comes.
When you’re not reading or writing, how do you like to spend your time?
I’m a really big sports fan, particularly college basketball. I graduated from the University of Arizona, so I try to catch as many UA basketball games as I can. I also moved to San Diego about seven months ago, so most of my free time now is spent exploring my new home. Prior to the move, I’d spent my entire life in Arizona and the desert, so it’s really exciting to be living near the beach and in a new state. Not sure I’ll take up surfing any time soon, but I do feel like I’m on vacation every day.