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A tale of two literary magazines

One turns 10, the other starts this year.

Two Sherwood literary magazines - one celebrating its 10th edition, the other launching its premiere issue - are highlighting the talents of Sherwood's young writers and artists.

Last month, Sherwood Middle School students published 'LitMag,' the school's annual publication featuring short stories, art and poetry from about 140 students.

'This is our biggest (issue) so far,' said Janet Bechtold, a TAG advocate at both the high and middle schools, and advisor for the publication, which is funded by the Sherwood Middle School Parent Advisory Council.

In addition to the student writing, Bechtold said what sets the magazine apart is the artwork, which makes the publication come to life.

This year's cover art was completed by Connie Ng.

'It's a girl holding a world,' Ng said, noting that she was thinking of the theme for the first section, which is 'Welcome to my World.'

What makes the literary magazine so unique is the support of George Herman, a noted area writer who has penned countless plays and several novels.

Each year, Herman provides several seminars for the aspiring writers.

'A lot of that writing (in Herman's classes) ends up in 'LitMag,'' said Bechtold.

In honor of Herman, the magazine's editors dedicated the 10th issue to him and included one of his poems in the issue.

Aimee Glenn, senior editor of 'LitMag,' said copies of the magazine can't be purchased because they are given only to those who contribute.

'A girl in my class asked me how much is a 'LitMag' and I said, 'you can't buy them,' said Glenn.

Normally, pieces are limited to two pages, but editors will allow stories to finish on a portion of the third page, said Glenn. She estimates they accept 98 percent of submissions, immediately rejecting anything they believe is plagiarized.

Glenn noted that editors spend lots of time putting the magazine together.

''LitMag' isn't an after-school thing … it's a during-school class (thing),' she said.

Another editor, Ashley Middleton, said she was pleased with this year's publication. She contributed two poems. One of those is 'Spelling II,' essentially the second part of the poem she printed last year about competing in spelling bees.

The magazine is divided into sections, many that carry whimsical titles. Examples include the romance section: 'My Romeo,' and the science fiction section: 'Merlin's Laser Beam.'

The strangest perhaps is the realistic fiction, which is dubbed 'Sudsu Life,' named for the real-life concoction of mixing milk with Gummi Bears.

Meanwhile, across town, editors of Sherwood High School's 'Postscript' prepared for their publication to come off the presses earlier in June.

English teacher and 'Postscript' advisor Jared Jones said he was pleased with the finished product.

'I'm thrilled,' he said. 'We've worked for this moment all year long.'

Only 100 copies of the issue were printed, selling for $6 each.

The 64-page magazine contains poetry, photos, short stories artwork and non-fiction.

'It's awesome,' said senior Carol Lam, one of the editors.

Amanda Hiland, a freshman and fiction editor, said inspiration to create the magazine came in part from SMS's 'LitMag.'

'A lot (of us) were involved with that back when we were in middle school,' said Hiland, who has two pieces of poetry in the publication.

Artist Terrie Ko contributed an anime-type drawing featuring a bird theme.

'I've been drawing since I was little,' said Ko.

Like Bechtold, Jones says having graphic representation was an important goal.

'The art really pulls the magazine together,' he said.

Junior Ashley Thomas, who serves as poetry editor has several pieces in the publication including 'an amusing thing about a vampire.'

She describes her piece, 'Hey You, Smile,' as a reading about only one side of a conversation.

Like the middle school, the 'Postscript' is funded by the school's Parent Advisory Council.

Jones said 'Postscript' rejected some submissions but ended up with contributions from about 30 writers and 13 artists. He also vows that a second issue will come out.

'We've leaned a lot this year and I want to put that learning to use.'

To submit work for next year's issue, go to www.inkblock.org.