October 28, 2009

iScribe Interview Series - A President More Fabulous Than Catwoman...Minus the Fierce Mask

L-R: Orange cat with obscene tongue; your fearless leader.
The orange cat could not be reached for comment.

Name: Gillian Ramos
Major(s): English/Political Science
Year of Graduation: 2010
Position: President

For those of us unfamiliar, what does your job description entail? Which part of it is most fun? Least fun?
The role of President goes so far beyond administration and leadership. I'm still not sure I have the firmest grasp on everything, because I always believed that I would just be approving paperwork and going to Senate meetings. Turns out, I also get to singlehandedly destroy the rain forest with the amount of paperwork we generate during submissions review! I don't know if that's good or bad...

The hands-down least enjoyable part is finding out that everyone suddenly knows who I am. Networking is so important, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to make connections with so many other students I wouldn't ordinarily meet, but it always surprises me (a major introvert) when people recognize my face and name.

How long have you been a part of The Independent Scribe?
This is my third semester with The Independent Scribe. I joined in the fall of 2008, after returning to URI from a year at CCRI, where I returned my academic focus to English, which I had abandoned shortly after entering URI in 2004. After spending so much time away from the university, I was worried about finding a social outlet more than a creative one. I feel so privileged to have found both in this organization.

Are there any interesting/fun/surprising subtle details of your job description that one wouldn't hone an understanding of from simply your title?
Being the President basically makes me all things to all people. I approached the job with the belief that I would be playing a largely administrative role, overseeing activities rather than being up to my elbows in them. The one role I've found most surprising and rewarding is that of ambassador; by reaching out to more established groups, I have been able not only to garner more attention for the Scribe, but to build support. There are so many creative people at URI, and we can't reach every single one of them - we're only one group, but the wonderful thing is that we're one group out of many. By bonding with the leaders of other arts-oriented groups, we form a larger, more connected and cooperative creative community.

What is the best part of being the President of The Independent Scribe?
I think the best part is also the worst part - power. Or more specifically, balancing power with the desire to maintain as democratic a process as possible. This is probably where my political science background gets the biggest workout. I swear, this isn't a creepy social experiment! What I find so enjoyable, despite the challenges, is the opportunity to blend the skills acquired through my English and Political Science majors in a practical way.

The Independent Scribe members put in a lot of time. What makes all the time and energy sacrificed to the publishing God worth it for you?
I love books. Always have, always will. I love how they feel in my hands, and I almost always have one in my bag for leisure reading. Being able to participate in the creation of a book is a huge thrill. I love exploring all the work that is sent in for our consideration, and planning the flow of our final product. When we finally get to hold the finished publication, it's indescribable. So much love and attention went into its creation, and being able to share that love with others is equally thrilling.

How was the business of The Independent Scribe different this semester from previous ones?
Money, honey. We have it.

What do you think sets The Independent Scribe apart from other publications of its kind?
My stance on remaining insular to the URI community has been controversial, but I believe that there is such a wealth of talent that deserves to be showcased. I believe that growth can occur in a small environment and still be significant. URI boasts such diverse student and alumni bodies, basically a renewable source of creative energy for the Scribe to channel into a beautiful, powerful publication.
Funniest story from this semester while working on the Scribe?
Page 131 of the final product. What are the odds of every single editor misreading the same line the same way?

What is your favorite piece (or top 3) in this Fall 2009 edition? Why?
My top 3 pieces this semester are:
  • "House of Hosts" - the sheer novelty of a 9 page poem with a consistent meter and rhyme is exciting, and the fact that it is so well-crafted and compelling shows tremendous skill
  • "Dandelions and Doodlebugs" - even just skimming this piece during layout gave me chills, it's so haunting and beautiful
  • "7 o'clock News" - I love how much conflict occurs in such a short piece, and in such a wry tone
Is there anyone in particular you want to give a shout out to, thank or otherwise acknowledge at this time?
I had a teacher in high school who told me that applying to college would be a waste of my time. There were times when I thought he might be right, that I wasn't going to be successful, and that's such a hurtful thing to carry around as a young student. But it clearly was not a self-fulfilling prophecy. His doubts definitely stick with me today, but I find my anger toward him to be motivating - it's taken a long time, but I am confident in my abilities and proud of the path my life has taken.

Similarly, I also want to thank all the teachers I had in those same 4 years who believed that I could succeed. The best advice I ever got was from a teacher who told me, "Never stop reading," and that's the prophecy I am to fulfill.

Is it true all those involved in publishing are addicted to caffine?
I can say with absolutely no authority whatsoever that this rumor is 100% false.

If you had to blow up one of the art pieces featured in the Fall 2009 edition of The Independent Scribe into a flashy, fashion-forward dress, which would it be and why?
"Jenn's Wedding Present" would look great as a shimmery mini-dress. Maybe something sort of mod, '60s-inspired. I think Twiggy has crept into my subconscious as an alter-ego, and she was pretty fierce back in the day.

Okay, now I wish it was a real dress, because I do not know what to wear for the launch.

If you had to have a line (or lines) from a piece in the Fall 2009 edition tattooed on your body, what would it be and where would you put it? Why?
The final line of "The Jesus Toast." And it would go wherever tattoos hurt the least. I am completely afraid of needles. If I can be under general anesthesia during the tattooing process, even better.

What do you plan to do post-Scribe?
Tell-all book, talk show circuit...maybe an extended vacation. Preferably to a place with cabana boys and trays of frozen daiquiris.

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