Rachel Stone, our wonderfully expressive editor, takes us on her teenage journey with writing and Polyphony H.S., but be careful, she’s a little risk-ay….
When I was in eighth grade I decided that I would rebel. Although the requirements for submitting to Polyphony HS magazine entailed that one had to be a high school student to submit writing, I created an account with a fake graduation date, hoping that if my poems were chosen for publication I could reveal my true age with flourish and be hailed as the savant that I knew myself to be. Yet, after my submissions were rejected that year as well as the following year (and rightfully so), and after I had temporarily lost faith and had drowned my angst in caramel macchiatos, I started to actually look at my writing for what it was missing.
Without the suggestions from the Polyphony HS editors, I can safely admit that I never would have known how to approach creative work. The edits were helpful and honest. They suggested and shaped, complimented and critiqued, and in the cases of two of my poems, offered such exquisitely worded comments that I push-pinned them to the corkboard of my desk. Now on the other side of the rejection and acceptance letters, I think the reason I love to edit for Polyphony H.S. as much as I do is because I know how much it can truly impact the writers.
High school is a weird and wonderful time, mostly filled with experiences that can only be described with expletives, expressive hand gestures or exclamation points. We find our voices, our idiosyncrasies. We find out that what we hate is sometimes independent of what our parents hate, and we find out that what we love surprises even ourselves. We discover free verse and villanelles, we understand our pitfalls in terrible metaphors and our successes in sardonic first person. We discover who we are, as writers and as humans. Luckily for writers, this is the time when the moments are ripe.
The ability to influence other writers at this time (and allow their mistakes and triumphs in prose, poetry, and other critiques to influence editors as well) is invaluable. It is this shared experience that keeps me editing.