By: Joel Wigelsworth, Leonardo 2012 Co-Editor
Someone recently made me aware of the May 22 Chronicle article on Leonardo, CNM’s literary magazine. Some pretty inflammatory statements and accusations were made in that article. I would like an opportunity to put in my two cents.
I’m not likely to make any friends with the following testimony, but I am more interested in truth than gaining allies. I will state my case without naming names, at least for now.
Did some editors saturate the 2012 edition of Leonardo with their work? I believe so. I was not in support of the large number of pieces per editor in Leonardo. I was fairly vocal about it among select friends, classmates, and CNM instructors—and my wife certainly got more than an earful.
Should I have been more vocal within the editorial staff, and with Patrick Houlihan, the faculty advisor for Leonardo? With the glorious gift of hindsight, yes. Well, here comes a big nasty secret; I did not care much for my co-editors on a professional level.
I often exercised silence as a means of maintaining a professional relationship and not losing my temper. When it comes to negotiations I generally have two settings: peacemaker, and Tasmanian Devil. I tend to err on the side of passiveness when no one’s health, well-being, or civil liberties are at stake. In retrospect, I should have been more vocal, but I was just trying to keep the peace and get the magazine out.
The Chronicle article stated that James Roach of the Allocation Board feels that more than two published works by an editor is too many. Perhaps he is correct. Why do I have five published works in the 2012 edition? I submitted six fine art photos, another photo of a woodcarving I made, and three literary works. I didn’t submit all of those items because of any kind of ego trip, but because I always advocate for variety— the more options, the better.
Although I have some artistic accomplishments under my belt, anyone who knows me will tell you that I don’t take myself too seriously. I don’t think anyone should take themselves too seriously, and I don’t keep the company of those who do. Of all my submissions, one literary work and three photos were published. More of my photos were approved but I voted against their inclusion because I felt it was wrong for an editor to have so many works published. What about the cover, you ask? I threw it together one evening so we would have something to fall back on if we didn’t receive any cover submissions. In fact, we didn’t.
The article lists 243 total submissions. I don’t know where this number came from. I looked back through my Leonardo-related e-mails at the submissions and counted 113 literary works, and 54 art pieces—a grand total of 167. In all, 22 authors were published out of 32 applicants. Some works had to be rejected solely for excessive length.
Patrick Houlihan advised us that previous editions were kept in the low 60’s for page count because of limitations for stapling or binding. This is where our page count came from. I’ll admit that 17 published works of art looks bad compared to 54 submitted, but four of those rejected were mine, and 14 others came in an anonymous .zip file without attribution. Others were of poor resolution quality. We simply didn’t have a lot to work with. By comparison, the 2011 edition had 80 published works of art.
I petitioned Patrick Houlihan and the editorial staff to push back the deadline for submissions, and despite some opposition the request was approved. For the sake of conjuring up more material, I made announcements in my classes, sent e-mails to students who I knew had literary or artistic talent, asked instructors to make announcements in their other classes, and accosted people in the hallways if I saw them carrying a portfolio. Unfortunately, very little came of my frantic campaigning.
I made further efforts to level the playing field. After initial editorial voting I noticed that one person submitted five literary works without a single one being chosen, and suggested that we include at least one, which we did. Another author submitted two works which were also not selected, but I strongly advocated for the inclusion of one as I found it to be an exceptional work of fiction, and it eventually made the issue. Furthermore, many of the literary works I voted for were left out, and several I voted against were included.
Such is the democratic process. Allocation Board member James Roach had some strong opinions on the 2012 edition of Leonardo. I will agree with him that guidelines should be put in place for Leonardo editors. I will also agree that certain aspects of the last issue are distasteful. However, I will strongly disagree with Mr. Roach that I took advantage of any student organization.
I tried my damned best to include more people and works, to better represent the full spectrum of talent within CNM, and to provide a public outlet for aspiring writers and artists. Despite the allegations of Mr. Roach, I personally don’t need Leonardo to feel important. I am an accomplished photographer, artist, and writer.
My selfish gains as he calls them consist of being able to add editor and cover design to a resume, a lot of lost sleep, some heartburn, and a few more gray hairs. I don’t appreciate him including all Leonardo editors in his negative blanket statements, as not everyone was deserving of this condemnation.
I was compelled to respond to this article because I have a reputation for being an honest, helpful, and nice individual. I consistently assist both students and faculty in numerous ways, occasionally to my detriment. I simply could not stand by and have this reputation tarnished by someone making a blanket statement based on incomplete information. Thank you for your time.
Leonardo 2012 Co-Editor