Meet Our New Editorial Intern: Erica Hoffmeister

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I know it’s cliché to say: I’ve loved books more than anything for as long as I can remember… but, it’s true. Before my tiny little body could even form concrete memories, I began to build my life around reading and writing.

I learned to read early. I was two and a half years old when I began checking out books from the library to read on my own, to earn that coveted end-of-summer prize. I was so young, so small for my age, the librarian didn’t believe I could read yet. My mom tells me that I took a stack of a dozen picture books and read them cover to cover to prove to her I knew every word. It was a sense of determination to learn—to know—and it was clear that reading was the key to everything.

My paternal grandmother was an avid reader and walking dictionary; she’d have me practice using words in sentences and do crosswords out of the Sunday paper with her (always with a pen, never a pencil). At bedtime, she’d read me Agatha Christie, and I’d sway into dreamland as a too-young child, images of bloody-cat prints and mysteries filling my head. In contrast to that particular librarian, my grandmother never treated me too small, not smart enough.

What I soon noticed was that the stories and characters in the books I read never did, either. On the other side of the coin, my maternal grandmother was a writer: she was never published, she never even graduated high school. But, when I was seven or eight, I’d work in the corner beside her at her desk with my very own word processor—one of those fancy, early 1990s digital ones where you could type a whole line at a time before the keys would stamp ink onto the paper. She wrote romance westerns and she’d read them to me, ask me what I thought, have me proofread the drafts. I’d sit for hours, a stack of 500 manuscript pages on my tiny legs, read things that weren’t age-appropriate, but that’s what made it special. By then, I knew I was going to be a writer, too.

I didn’t know it would take me until age 30 to start publishing. I didn’t know that through all those wish-careers (Journalist for the UN, Travel Writer, Children’s Author, Big-Time Literary Agent in NYC… mostly my grandmothers’ ideas), something in me wouldn’t be able to keep this learning and knowing to myself.

And so, a long winding road led me to now teach writing. Only until recently did I truly realize publishing and editorial work was a crucial part of the puzzle in academia, and am thrilled to have the opportunity to intern here at Sundress. Here I am, feeling like the first day of summer, 1988, writing all seventeen letters of my name across my brand new library card with a shaking toddler hand, mostly faking confidence, excited to learn how to do something brand new again.


Erica Hoffmeister holds an MA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry from Chapman University, and teaches college writing across the Denver metro area. She is the author of two poetry collections: Lived in Bars (Stubborn Mule Press, 2019), and the prize-winning chapbook, Roots Grew Wild (Kingdoms in the Wild Press, 2019). She’s obsessed with pop culture, cross country road trips, and her two daughters, Scout and Lux.

Meet Our New Editorial Intern: Nikki A. Sambitsky

The times I am happiest are when I’m reading and/or writing. Most would say that I came to the writing game late in my life. In 2012 at the age of 35, and after having my first child the year before, I decided to return to college to get my BA in journalism. In my 20’s, I worked in and out of the newspaper industry. I even returned to school a few times after that to reinvent myself as a licensed massage therapist and esthetician.

But no matter what career field I worked in, the gravity of the writing life kept pulling me back to center. It was just a matter of time before I found myself back in the thick of things again.

Flash forward to 2018, and I am the proud owner of a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing with a couple of published essays under my belt. It’s hard to properly put it into words, but I truly feel alive, vital, and necessary when I am writing and learning. I’m slowly but surely making my way in this writing world while navigating the challenges and ups and downs of having two small children. But no matter what comes our way, my husband and I seem to make it work.

If there’s anything that I have learned about the writing life, it’s that it’s all about making meaningful connections and constantly evolving while engaging in the hustle. (And I mean hustle in the most positive way!)

When I’m not writing lyric essays or teaching about unconventional forms of creative nonfiction, I tutor, read, and now intern at Sundress Publications. It’s an understatement to say that I am beyond excited to work with Sundress. I have always wanted to learn the inside workings of the publishing industry and am thrilled to see things from the other side of the writing industry.

Nikki A. Sambitsky earned her MFA in creative writing, specifically focusing on the lyric/fragment essay (creative nonfiction) from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast program. Sambitsky holds a BA in journalism from Central Connecticut State University. She is currently working on her collection of lyric/fragment essays, which center on mental illness, her family, and her husband and two autistic children. Sambitsky enjoys writing essays that explore family, family issues, and autism. Her journalism work and creative nonfiction has appeared in many publications including The Helix, Gravel Magazine, and West Hartford Magazine. She was a scholarship recipient to the 2018 Slice Literary Writers’ Conference, and her essay, “Happy Birthday (Numb)” was selected as a finalist in the nonfiction category for the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference Emerging Writers Contest. Sambitsky was also a scholarship recipient to the 2018 Murphy Writing Workshop of Stockton University. Her most recent essay, “Penny Drop,” is slated for publication in Longridge Review, in November 2018. She lives with her husband, two children, and way too many animals in a peaceful, rural, area of Connecticut.

Meet Our New Editorial Intern: Valerie Lick

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In elementary and middle school there were three things I was practically guaranteed to have on hand: a fruit-flavored tube of lip balm, a book, and a backup book in case I finished the other one. I would read practically anything; my literary opinions weren’t refined beyond the point of “romances are gross” and “dragons are cool.” All I wanted was to be a writer. I scrawled my first “novel” in a spiral-bound notebook—it wasn’t very good. My parents said I was creative, and my teachers said I should stop daydreaming and get better at math.

I did eventually get better at math, but I never stopped daydreaming. Even in the couple years after middle school, when I went to great lengths to avoid getting caught reading, daydreaming was a creative skill that never left me. There are people and things in the world that just call for daydreaming or writing (which is just a more tangible form of daydreaming)— the old bearded pastor who tells you his small town gets smaller every year, the great blue heron flying over the county swimming pool, the abandoned barn turned canvas for spray paint. There’s a multitude of stories behind everything, and so many of them are worth imagining or even telling.

And what about my own story? I’m not sure where I’m going yet, which is why I’m exploring fields like writing, publishing, and journalism through internships. I’m also working on my BA at the University of Tennessee, where my major is English, my minor is Journalism, and my passion is literature. I’m considering a second minor in “making corny statements.”

If I want to work in the publishing industry it’s high time I demystify the publishing process for myself. That’s why I’m thrilled to work as an editorial intern at Sundress Publications this summer and fall. The raw material of stories doesn’t go through some mystical, arcane process in its journey to be published, but I know I’ll need some practical experience to bring my knowledge of the publishing industry past “here there be dragons”.

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Valerie Lick, the artist currently known as Val, loves those tall, weedy plants that are kind of like daisies except the blooms are really small. She can be found looking mean and studying literature at the University of Tennessee, where she is a rising junior. She thinks that there should be more intersections between science fiction, Appalachian folklore, and fashion journalism.

Meet Our New Intern, Snigdha Koirala

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I hate to start my introduction with a cliché, but I’m afraid I must: I have loved stories for as long as I can remember.

This love first began with my grandfather. He was an avid storyteller of Hindu folktales, stories about the Nepalese royal family, various historical events, his childhood memories, and anything else he thought worth sharing. When I was eight, however, my family moved to Toronto. And as such, I had to find some other way to satiate my hunger for stories. This is when I turned to books. I was reluctant at first – books were incontrovertibly associated with schools, and to my eight-year-old self, nothing could be worse. But, and I’m sure you can guess, it didn’t take long for that reluctance to chip away.

Since then, I have been reading and writing, writing and reading. Along the way, I’ve developed particular tastes and expectations for the books that I come across (and the books I hope to one day write!). Whether in prose or poetry, I cherish works that elucidate voices that have historically been neglected, that push the boundaries of the quotidian, that prompt readers to think beyond their comfort zones. It is with this spirit that I come to Sundress. Working with individuals who share the same ethos for literature has been a dream of mine for a long time.

Needless to say, I’m excited to be the new social media intern, to talk about books and words with Sundress followers!

 

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Snigdha Koirala is a third year student of English Literature. Born in Nepal and raised in Canada, she is currently living in Scotland, where she is pursuing her degree at The University of Edinburgh. Her love affair with prose and (more recently) poetry has led her work to appear in The Ogilvie, The Inkwell, and other publications. In her spare time, she can be found wandering the streets of Edinburgh, watching cheesy Rom-Coms, and reading bell hooks.

Meet Our New Social Media Intern, Tierney Bailey

The Myers-Briggs test tells me I am an ENFJ, like Abraham Lincoln (mostly interesting because I am distantly related to Mary Todd Lincoln) and Peyton Manning (mostly interesting because I was born and raised in Indianapolis—though I only have any fealty to the Pacers because I loved Reggie Miller’s big ears a kid). ENFJs like to put things into external contexts, according to all the profiles I’ve ever read. That might be true, since I was born October 2, 1993, but I like to contextualize it with “I share a birthday with King Richard III, Sting, and Ghandi.” I, however, am mostly convinced that this is just because I wholly embody the phrase my mother uses most often about me: “They can hear you a county over, Tierney.” As a toddler, I constantly received invitations to birthday parties for little, old ladies I had conversations with inside grocery stores and book stores. I remain unconvinced about by the NFJ bits, but “extravert” fits.

Sundress is not my first dealing in publishing. (Here’s to hoping it won’t be my last!) When I first entered college, I enrolled as an English/education major. Luckily, while I loved my students, I found my way into the publishing program early on. I spent my remaining three years as a professional writing major with terrific professors at the University of Indianapolis honing my skills to various degrees—writing, editing, designing, Tweeting, any gerund I could possibly fit into my schedule would eventually be done. Now, I am enrolled at Emerson College as a Writing, Literature, and Publishing graduate student with more amazing people. Most of the time, I use communication to put my world in order because I see interaction as a piece of the greater conversation.

Maybe this is why I’ve ended up as Sundress’s new intern for social media.

I guess the basic profile of myself is this: my name is Tierney Bailey. I like to talk and listen and learn. I mostly just try my best.

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Tierney Bailey is a Libra, a lover of science fiction and poetry, and studies Korean in her spare time. She currently copyedits for Strange Horizons. Tierney is also a Writing, Literature, and Publishing graduate student at Emerson College. As an East Coast transplant from Indianapolis, Tierney still smiles upon the slightest bit of eye contact. If you can’t find her on a train between Providence and Boston, she can easily be found on Twitter as @ergotierney.

Meet Sundress’s New Editorial Intern: Rhiannon Thorne

I have a rat who steals bookmarks. I named him Modesto after the protagonist of a Spanish film in which a teacher coerces a handful of dead teenage students to pass on to the other side. I like him because while he nibbles on the spines of my paperbacks, he does not talk back or disagree with my opinions on books. That would be my “three interesting things about me” ice-breaker, if this was an awkward face-to-face meet-and-greet and not just an awkward blog post. And yes, I probably spend too much time talking to my rat.

Rhiannon ThorneMy name’s Rhiannon, but most of my friends and Spaniards call me Raquel. I hail from Northern California, and so you’ll catch me saying such gems as “hella” and “dude”, although they may be démodé colloquialisms. After getting a couple BA’s at Sonoma State University (English & Spanish—no, contrary to all previous indications, I do not speak Spanish, sober) I moved out to Wisconsin for a while, where I learned the difference between “grilling out” and “bbq”—an important distinction according to friends of the Bud Light camp. Then I’ve been in Arizona a few years, where I haven’t picked- up anything Arizonian because you never meet anybody in Phoenix that’s from Arizona.

I’m currently in transition between Phoenix and the Silicone Valley and will be moving shortly back to Nor Cal. I’ll miss the desert. Everywhere else is too cold. And I’ll miss the nostalgic value of the valley—Phoenix was good to me. While here Kate Hammerich and I started cahoodaloodaling, for which I am now the Managing Editor; I began submitting my own work, landing in Midwest Quarterly, Foundling Review, Sheepshead Review, Sierra Nevada Review, and Bop Dead City among others; I became a book reviewer for Up the Staircase Quarterly. All fun things after sitting stagnant on my degrees in a call center for years.

More recently, I became an editorial intern here at Sundress. I’m looking forward to learning what I can about publishing before I apply and (fingers crossed) matriculate into grad school where I plan to get my MFA in poetry and then perhaps later an MA/PhD in publishing.

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Rhiannon Thorne’s work has appeared in Grasslimb, Midwest Quarterly, The Sierra Nevada Review, Bop Dead City, and Existere among others. She is the managing editor ofcahoodaloodaling and a book reviewer at Up the Staircase Quarterly. When not busy wrangling a pet, a good book, or a bottle of craft beer, she may be reached at rhiannonthorne.com.