November 17, 2009

iScribe Interview Series - You Want to Like How it Feels

Name: Mollie Bergeron
Major(s): English
Year of Graduation: December 2009
Position: Layout Manager, Featured writer (Fall 2009)

If you could spend one afternoon getting to know 1 of the published writers featured in the upcoming edition of The Independent Scribe, who would it be? What would you do?
Lars Nelson and I would spend the afternoon together. We would make toast, for sure (stay tuned for the upcoming edition of the Scribe for that reference).

What program do you use to layout the publication? What are its vices? Virtues?
I use Adobe InDesign CS4. As for virtues, it allows a standard file format to send out for printing, which is great. It also offers a wide array of fonts, strokes—check out the Spring 2009 Table of Contents! - along with other nifty features.

Its biggest, most terrible vice is that it does not wrap text. So, when putting all of the text into the program, it’s a guessing game as to where the page will cut off… this often involves word-by-word insertion to make things “easier.” Also, after putting in page numbers manually so as to avoid numbers showing up unwanted, I become terrified of gridlines for weeks.

How long does it take to layout a 100-page publication? Where did you go through this process?
Surprisingly, this edition came together rather quickly—altogether getting everything into InDesign took about forty hours of squinting at a computer screen. After spending hours losing our minds in various rooms of the Memorial Union, we (our lovely Editor in Chief, Kate Stone, and fantastic President Gillian Ramos) finished the tedious process over bagels at Kate’s house… to the lovely soundtrack of Wanda Syke’s standup.

After that I put in about ten hours of reading, reading, and re-reading the “finished” manuscript, making edits and hoping to catch any and all typos/ misplaced text.

To anticipate the question, yes, I do wear glasses.

In addition to layout director, several of your poems, including "Violence & Nudity" are featured in the upcoming edition. How did you come to title this poem specifically?
After being unhappy with my previous title, it came down to Googlemachine. The first interesting, semi-inappropriate, and fitting collection of words included “violence” and “nudity.” The poem is about the violence of having someone torn out of your life, and how bare and alone that leaves you, so though seemingly irrational, there is a definite connection to the poem.

There is a rumor that the Scribe encourages people to "pet their paper." Why don't you tell us a bit about this.
Oh, absolutely. You have to pet your paper. If you’re reading this, I’m assuming there has to be paper somewhere around you. Go touch it. Now! This came about when we received copious cover stock options from our publishing contact, Bob Oscarson at Signature Printing. After narrowing down the hundreds of options, each Scribe member was instructed to pet the paper upon entering the room. When you hold a book, you want to like how it feels. Any good bibliophile knows what I’m talking about… it’s not only the words that matter; it’s the texture, the color, the weight. The entire object matters. Next time you pick up your favorite book, pet your paper. I bet you will find that it is a phenomenal sheet of paper.

Do you have a favorite text or visual piece in the Fall 2009 edition? If so, which and why?
My favorite visual piece is definitely our cover. We received a lot of great artwork, but I just can’t get over the way the publication looks! Last year’s edition was wonderful as well, and we have Eric Slade to thank for our black and white lithograph on the cover, but something about the vibrant color is just great. It stretches across the full cover, which is something we haven’t done before, and I think it really showcases what a big change we’ve gone through this semester in opening up to various departments around campus.

As for a favorite text piece… I think it would have to depend on genre. I mean, how do you choose between the linguistic analysis of Patricia Weisenseel’s critical essay and the haunting lines of Laura Tetreault’s poetry and the scandal of Dylan Thompson starting a piece with “anywhere but between the legs?” I just can’t do it! The entire edition is full of amazing writers.
What poets have you been reading recently, and in what ways have they influenced your process and/or poetry?

Lately, I have only had time to read what I’ve been assigned in class. Luckily, this means I’ve been reading a lot of avant garde poets with Professor extraordinaire Peter Covino. Specifically, in his class we just finished reading Donald Revell’s selected works Pennyweight Windows. Excitingly, Revell just came to URI recently to give a poetry reading. It was dazzling and hysterical and sad and fantastic all over.

Avant garde has given me a new perspective on poetry. I’ve never been one to stick to a form, but I tend to cut myself off and write short pieces, or constrained lines. I’m learning to lose the prose aspect of my poetry. In terms of process, every day is process. I think it’s about expressing what you really mean rather than what someone expects you to mean.

You know many of the writers in the URI community. Who are your favorites to talk to? Drink with? Vent to? Etc. Feel free to list in fun categories.
Oh god, all of them. I love that the writing community is small enough that it is actually a community. Even those writers who I don’t know all too well I have had a class or two with. I enjoy talking to nearly anyone, so long as they are not hostile, but I guess to narrow it down a bit I’ll say (in alphabetical order by first name) Bryan Smith, Dylan Thompson, Gillian Ramos, Kate Stone, Laura Tetreault, Marisa O’Gara, etc. etc. …Several of those names also fall into the “favorites to drink with” category.

The Independent Scribe is moving in a new direction with regard to what texts it considers, calls for and publishes. How do you feel about this progression?
I love it! I’m so glad to see all sorts of writing in this edition of the Scribe. We have poets, critical essayists, art, travel writing, we have it all. We have also grown departmentally—apart from the traditional English majors and Writing & Rhetoric majors (they’re still here, don’t worry!), the Scribe has been lucky enough to include several Visual Arts majors, Biology majors, an Engineering poet; the variety is astonishing. Hopefully more and more students will become interested in the Scribe and either submit or get involved… hint hint!

Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the Scribe event? What are these events like? What was it in the past? How will this year’s be different and/or the same?
I think that all of us are hoping that Samuel Aboh will be able to come and read! Keeping my fingers crossed that Joe LiVolsi will be able to make it as well—his poem “House of Hosts” is set up wonderfully with a nearly consistent meter, which should make for a good read. I’m also looking forward to hear Dylan Thompson read an exerpt from the aforementioned “Thérapie” aloud.

If you were to create a cocktail inspired by one of the pieces published in the Fall 2009 Scribe, which text would inspire you and why? What ingredients would be in the beverage? What would you call it?
Seeing as "House of Hosts" has a creepy-crawly-Halloween-y feel to it, I am going to go in that direction. It would consist of Vampire (brand) Blood Vodka (type), blood orange slices for both flavor and brilliant attractiveness, and a bit of seltzer water for bubbles… cauldron-esque, no?

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