Working with the Buzzsaw team has been a highlight of my experience at Ithaca College. I came to my very first meeting in January 2020 with the hopes of publishing a short story or two over my time at IC. I thought I was the sort of writer who could do one thing and nothing else. I never wanted to be a beginner because I was afraid of how it would make me look to my peers. Appearing experienced and “serious” about my work felt more important than experiencing the growth that comes with experimentation and mistakes.
My favorite thing about this magazine is that it encourages you to push your own boundaries. There is space to try your hand at new genres and to learn new skills. It was impossible for me to stay within the rigid guidelines that I’d created for myself when I saw writers creating such intriguing work when they stepped outside of the box. I realized quickly that I wanted to be more than just a fiction writer. A choice sat before me: sit with what I knew, or jump towards what excited me.
Reader, I jumped. And I couldn’t be happier to have been a stumbling nonfiction newbie writing about cults and new movies premiering at Cinemapolis. There’s something equally terrifying and enticing about sitting at a Buzzsaw pitch meeting without a plan for what section you’re going to write for. Once I let go of the fear of appearing inexperienced, I became obsessed with the glorious feeling of joy that accompanies learning something new. I think writing for Buzzsaw unearthed a new writer that was living inside of me—an incredibly niche, super specific, and oddball sort of writer. A writer who wants to follow threads without knowing where they’ll lead. I never could’ve imagined how many rabbit holes this magazine would take me down. From the satanic panic to stan culture, Buzzsaw has embraced all of my odd interests and taken them in stride. I’m very thankful for that.
College was weird. It was expectations unfilled. It was Zoom meetings and empty dorms and watching the world fall apart while trying to write three discussion posts before midnight. It was weighing the possible horrific outcomes of social gatherings against the desperation for human connection. This magazine helped me feel connected in a time where everyone was so displaced. Buzzsaw gave me a platform to navigate the complicated amongst my peers. I’m thankful for this space that creatives can independently challenge, critique, and amplify.
Being an editor has given me the greatest joy because I’ve been able to see how many brilliant and passionate students have stories to tell on this campus. Thank you to every writer who has ever taken a chance on their own work. Publishing is scary! But the biggest rewards of Buzzsaw have been seeing the work of Upfront writers in print and knowing I have been able to support their visions and missions.
Thank you to Audra Joiner, who accepted my interest in a Scientology analysis piece with such openness even though I’d never written for Upfront. I was so nervous to try my hand at nonfiction writing and thought I’d never have the talent for it. Audra boosted my confidence and somehow had the faith in me to make me an Upfront editor. And thank you to my co-editor, Mikayla Tolliver, who has been an absolutely brilliant addition to the Buzzsaw team and continues to pitch amazing stories. I’m so excited to see her lead this magazine.
Lastly, thank you to all of the Upfront writers who have been game to take on my pitches about everything from deceased female writers to critiques on the fast fashion trend cycle. Your constant interrogation, research and humor have brought such vibrance to this section. I never imagined myself as the Upfront editor, and now I can’t imagine my college experience without this role. Journalism is so crucial and the ability to amplify and uplift in this position is something I never took for granted.
To any future Buzzsaw writer reading this: try something new. That’s the best advice I can give.