For my Fall 2016 co-op, I worked as an editorial intern at River Styx Magazine in St. Louis, MO. River Styx publishes different forms of creative writing ranging from poetry, to short stories, to creative non-fiction. I applied for the job because I felt that it would be a good opportunity for me to learn about the work that goes into the creation of a literary journal, as I had already explored journalism working at OffBeat Magazine for my previous co-op. At River Styx, my duties were sometimes as simple as logging the statuses of submissions into excel and formatting word documents. However, the work was often much often more compelling, consisting of things such as reading through and rating submissions for the 2017 Schlafly Beer Micro-Brew Micro-Fiction Contest, in which the winner receives a cash prize of 1,500 dollars. As someone who enjoys submitting my own work to various publications, seeing the submission process from the other side of things was extremely enlightening.
This quarter I was enrolled in Brooke Bryan’s co-op class, “Sound, Sight and Sentiment: Phenomenology of Place,” a class in which we explored the effects of our visual, auditory and physical surroundings on ourselves, specifically the new and strange spaces that co-op often drops us into. The class pushed me to become more aware of every little thing happening around me, details that I would normally overlook. Because of the class I began to pay more attention the changes that the new environment of St. Louis, and in turn the break in my normal routine, were bringing to my person. Throughout the class we worked on story maps which encased different places that we frequently visited, using written descriptions, sound recordings and pictures. My story map was an opportunity for me to contemplate which places had become a part of my new routine, as well as the details about each one that stuck out to me the most. You can find it here at, https://uploads.knightlab.com/storymapjs/51f6692a0ffdf52d249572a90f33f95d/lauras-story-map/draft.html.
Place to me, is not only the physical space in which you find yourself, but also the conscious space you enter when you are in a certain area. Every aspect of your location, through sound, sight, smell and touch change the way one feels and thinks, and that place is different for every single person who enters it. This co-op brought me to a place that was brand new for myself, and so every single shop, park and sidewalk that I walked across was an interruption to my normal routine, and it took time for me to build my own attachment to those areas. But for many other people, those same places likely hold completely different feelings and experiences, and I think that is the beauty of place. Although physically it is the same for each person who enters it, it is also ever changing. It is constantly being viewed from so many new eyes, heard from so many different ears, and felt by so many unique people and so can never truly stay the same.