Meet the Editorial Board: Chelsea DeLong
For twenty years, Water~Stone Review has been a collaborative passion project of students, faculty, and staff. While it is a staff member who holds the position of managing editor (Meghan Maloney-Vinz), and esteemed faculty (Katrina Vandenberg, Patricia Weaver Francisco, and Sheila O’Connor) who serve each issue as section editors, it is our current MFA (creative writing) students who work as invaluable editorial board members and graduate assistants. Led by the faculty editors in a semester-long course, our editorial board members learn the art of careful consideration and in doing so curate the beautiful writing in our journal each year.
In this series of blog posts we introduce you to some of our incredible and accomplished student editors. In this post we meet Chelsea DeLong.
What genre and volume did you work on?
I’ve had the opportunity to be on the fiction editorial board twice. First for Volume 18 with Mary Rockcastle and currently for Volume 20 with Sheila O’Connor.
Where are you in the MFA and what is your primary project?
I’m in my final semester before beginning my thesis next fall. I’ve been working– technically reworking– on my thesis project since the fall of 2015. When I was a idealistic teenager, I wrote a speculative fiction novel (and its sequel, and the unfinished conclusion to the trilogy) that’s never quite left my mind. When I took The Novel class with Sheila O’Connor, I decided to take everything I’d written for it and completely rewrite it from scratch to shape it into the work I want it to be. It has a long way to go but I’m excited to further expand this post-apocalyptic, dystopian, sci-fi-ish world and its characters into something unique.
Tell us a little about yourself (job, publication, history outside of Hamline, etc.).
I came to Hamline in September of 2014 after completing my undergraduate work at Central Michigan University. I lived my whole life in Michigan– so the move to Minnesota at 22 was daunting to say the least. I chose Hamline because of the opportunities to work in publishing and to not be forced into a teaching track and, needless to say, it’s been the best thing I’ve done for myself.
I’ve been working as the Visit Coordinator for Hamline’s Undergraduate Admission Office since 2014, I was Water~Stone Review’s Production Assistant (Volume 18) and General Operations Assistant (Volume 19), and this past fall I completed a Development Internship at Graywolf Press— it’s been a busy two and half years. I also have one flash piece published on Five2One’s #sideshow, The Sky Is Green— it was the first thing I wrote for this program.
What drew you to be a student editor with Water~Stone Review?
Before I was accepted into the program, I knew if I was, I would be working on this journal as a student editor. Simply, I wanted to pursue the publishing track in Hamline’s versatile program because working in publishing is one of my passions. I want to help put something into the world that the author, those who worked on it, and the reader can enjoy and be proud of. Publishing is a truly unique and special industry and I love playing a small, but still vital, part of it.
What did you learn while on the editorial board that surprised you?
It teaches you to be a better, more thoughtful writer. By reading others’ work, you learn so much about your own– where you succeed and where you falter. It also just encourages you to get out there and submit, submit, submit.
Do you think that your aesthetic was well represented in the issue of Water~Stone Review that you worked on? Why?
Hmm… it’s hard to say. In Volume 18, I was far quieter on the board and was beginning to explore myself as a reader and individual. I’d say for Volume 20, it’s shaping up to better fit my aesthetic, but I would contribute that to being a more open and observant reader. I like more stories, love experiments, and just love well-written, thought provoking, heart-wrenching prose.
How do you think literary journals affect the writing world?
Literary journals are the lifeblood of the the writing world. By that, I mean literary journals give writers a platform to share their work, to build their publication history and readers, and introduce fantastic prose and poetry to the world that only existed to the author. As writers, it’s one of our goals to share our words. Literary journals let so many authors at all levels share their hearts and souls to whoever reads the collection.
What other literary journals do you admire?
What are you reading right now?
Aside from my mountain of homework, I’m slowly digging through some Graywolf Press books at the moment. That includes All That Man Is by David Szalay, Citizen by Claudia Rankine, and The Impossible Fairytale by Han Yujoo.
How do you think that being a student editor for Water~Stone Review helped you in your writing/editing journey?
Completely! I look at my work differently now–with newly critical eyes and even more inspiration to make it something great to get out into the world.
Are you doing something literary that you would like to share?
I suppose preparing myself and my thesis project for my completion of the program in May 2018 would be the closest thing to something literary!
How about this weather we’re having (extremely relevant question for Minnesotans)?
You know, when I moved here from Michigan, I was expecting -50 degree winters. I wouldn’t say I’m “disappointed” at the three mild winters I’ve had here thus far… but what the heck Minnesota?! My extreme winter gear is sadly stuffed in my closet.
Chelsea DeLong is a 3rd year graduate student at Hamline University in St. Paul pursuing her MFA in fiction. Originally from Michigan, Chelsea has found her home in the Twin Cities and all of its rich literary history. She can usually be found writing her novel, cooking without recipes, and running around Hamline’s campus.
Twitter- chelsea__delong (two underscores)
Publication: The Sky is Green