I found Buzzsaw during a time when I was in search of my own little community; a family of people that I’d connect with outside of my friend group. I didn’t know what this family would do—would it give me the bandwidth and support that I needed to explore and come into my own identity? Would we actively nurture, collaborate with and advocate for the campus community? Would we simply just keep to ourselves, have our own little inside jokes and special traditions in our weekly meetings?
The Buzzsaw family did all of these things for me—and I felt the gratitude of working with and belonging to such a charming group of peers in all of the moments that I shared with them.
Every time that we printed a new magazine, I’d make sure to pick up my own copy so that I could nestle with it and devour all of the work that was inside; not because I felt an obligation to, but because I had a compulsion to know what strings of words my peers had crafted together for all of the topics that they passionately wrote about. Yes, Buzzsaw is considered the divergent publication on campus, but I’ve also appreciated it as a platform that offers itself to students looking to place their proverbial pens on paper and see their work manifest in print.
I acknowledge that there are other publications that exist on campus that offer just the same kind of freedom—but Buzzsaw felt different, at least in my heart. We are deviant, and because of that, I loved it.
In interviews where I’ve talked about Buzzsaw, I never failed to mention our mission: “to publish original creative journalism, commentary, and satire that works to deconstruct society, pop culture, politics, college life, and dominant Western beliefs.”
In its own right, Buzzsaw challenges industry norms of what journalism looks like through the manifestation of the different forms of expression that are cultivated out of the written word—whether that be reporting, op-ed, prose, poem, satire and personal stories. Here’s what I mean: Buzzsaw is special because we never turned anyone away—if you had a story to tell, a confession to make or a compilation of words to release from the depths of your mind, we always accepted it and aided you along the way so that you may sharpen your final draft.
I understand that what’s considered to be “good” journalism means requiring a system of selection for what you say and the kinds of stories that you tell—but Buzzsaw wasn’t trying to be “good”—we are more than just a publication for news. We are a platform for student expression and revelations—both the agreeable and the unpleasant, the beautiful and the ugly.
Over time, I learned not to underestimate a college student’s power to wield words, especially when there aren’t any guardrails to contain their creativity, emotion and bravery to fumble around in the dark for what the truth was. The work produced by our writers and editors alike is both irreverent and perceptive, invaluable and far from mediocre not only in comparison to our community of creators, but I’d like to think so for the rest of the campus community.
It was because of Buzzsaw that I never tamed my burning curiosity for all things unconventional, it was because of Buzzsaw that I finally felt proud to come into my own skin, and it was because of Buzzsaw that I realized how important it was to me that I connect with people from very different and special walks of life.
I am eternally grateful to the Buzzsaw editors, as they always pulled through on every magazine cycle and made up the heart and soul of what Buzzsaw represents: an amalgamation of jumbled vagaries that manifested in the form of our magazines. In my mind, the act of facilitating the creation of the magazine was extremely special for us all, as for every cycle we worked hard to ensure that it would flower and come into its full glory—no matter how ridiculous the magazine themes may have seemed.
But we wouldn’t have had a magazine at all if it weren’t for the writers; we only survived more than 20 years of existence on-campus because of their courage. Buzzsaw exists as an outlet of expression and I’m happy to have witnessed the growth of our magazine over time (we’ve increased from an average of 50 pages per issue to 65 pages—because of you!). And as I’ve said, I can’t overcome how impressed and proud I am of our talented writers—most of which join our dysfunctional editing team if they stick around long enough. I hope that Buzzsaw did right by you and honored your work with as much gratitude as I am trying to convey in this very last piece.
Buzzsaw, this is my love letter to you—I hope that it exists and stays funky well into the future.