Soundings lit mag going through major revamp

October 16, 2018 — by Manasi Garg

Leaders of the publication are trying to create a new website that will feature students' work all year.

Since the 1980s, Saratoga High’s literary magazine, Soundings, has accepted student submissions in art, photography and creative writing. Traditionally, Soundings is run by seniors only and releases one print issue a year in the late spring.

This year, however, some of those traditions are being reworked.

“We’re trying to make [Soundings] more inclusive this year because in the past it was senior-run and the choosing of staff members was selective,” junior Anishi Patel said. “A lot of people didn’t know or didn’t care about Soundings.”  

According to senior Sherrie Shen, the core staff wanted juniors on the leadership team so that next year someone will have enough experience to take over the magazine’s production and management.

Final decisions about who is part of the staff are still undecided. Currently, the only confirmed members are Patel, Shen, and seniors Kaitlyn Wang, Cheryl Wang and Anisha Byri.

Further changes are being made this year to revamp Soundings. In the past, Soundings had a website, but it was never used and the domain is currently owned by someone else. Last year, the former staff created another website solely to collect submissions. This year, however, the staff is working on building a completely new website using Wix so they can publish student works on there as well.

The staff plans to have three online issues, one this semester and two next semester, as well as the customary annual print issue.

According to Shen, the print issue will be a “showcase of the best submissions.” Submitting to previous cycles, i.e. the online issues, automatically enters the submission into the pool for the print issue.

All these changes are the result of feedback and brainstorming.

Patel said that over the summer, she realized that having a fully-fledged online website for Soundings would be a “cool idea,” but because the magazine was traditionally senior run, she wasn’t sure if she, as a junior, could put her idea into practice. She went to alumni Kyle Wang, who graduated last year and was an editor for Soundings in the 2017-2018 school year, for guidance. He recommended she contact current seniors, so Patel reached out to senior Kaitlyn Wang.

It turned out the two had had a similar idea. Together, along with Shen and Wang, they discussed the changes they wanted to make in Soundings with journalism teacher Michael Tyler, and set plans for building a website in motion.

“I thought it would be super cool for our school to have an art platform where students can submit all year round, rather than just once a year like Soundings has done previously,” Patel said. “Having it online is the perfect way to do it.”

Patel said that, “fingers crossed,” they would open submissions by mid-October and release the first online issue at the end of November.

The staff also plans to advertise Soundings and the opening of submissions through daily announcements, SHSTV and English teachers, encouraging students interested in art, photography or creative writing to submit.

Shen joined the staff this year because of her interest in creative writing, and because it is currently the only outlet on campus that explores that interest.

“After Writing Club was disbanded [and the creative writing course was discontinued], Soundings is pretty much the only group on campus that works with prose,” Shen said.

For Kaitlyn Wang, working on Soundings is representative of her love for creative writing.

“In the past, I’ve really enjoyed reading literary journals and I’ve submitted my work to them before, so I wanted to help make this possible,” she said.