terrarium is a recently launched online magazine created by the thirteen students in Professor Kathryn Miles’ Writing for Publication seminar. The class started the magazine as a way for the students to experience the process of writing for a publication from start to finish. The students chose the name terrarium as it essentially captures that the class is a group of beings in an eco-system with the writing serving as a public looking glass into who they are.

The students/writers use class assignments to create diverse content for the magazine, lending to a range of articles relevant to a variety of readers. Among some of the topics that the magazine covers are news, current issues, music, travel, features and interviews. By showcasing the interests and talents of this “Millennial” generation of environmental writers, terrarium offers readers various points of view. The magazine serves as a vehicle to give fellow and perspective students, faculty, staff, alumnae and others a deeper look into the core of a group of Unity students.

Meg Joy ’13 says, “I really feel that this is the class where I’ve been most able to demonstrate what I’ve learned from Unity. terrarium has taught me a lot about my classmates as well as myself. There is something special about reading someone else’s words, which makes a difference in seeing who they are as well as how we look at ourselves. terrarium will always hold a special place for me, it’s the first place I’ve been published. As a writer I think that is something one never forgets.”

Students agree that Miles has been their biggest advocate in this endeavor, and that she does a great job of maintaining the balance between overseeing the work while also letting the class take the reigns. The students have the final word on the publication, including the look and feel as well as the content.

Professor Kathryn Miles says, “Writing for Publication is a seminar course that models in real time the publishing industry.  Students not only write a series of publishable articles, but they also serve as editorial staff for Hawk & Handsaw. Perhaps most significantly, they create, publish, and maintain their own journal.  It’s a daunting task to create a publication, particularly in the digital age.  I have been universally impressed with the grace and skill these students have brought to the project.  They have established an online presence that is both function and elegant, and they’ve demonstrated a keen understanding not only of design features, but also trends in publishing.  Working with them is a joy and a delight.”

Writers are asked to work within the parameters of the magazine’s style, which can be challenging, given the diversity of the contributing editors. That challenge however is also what keeps the publication interesting—the class is still learning who they are as writers, and have very different voices, interests and writing styles which makes the magazine stand out. Overall, the publication strives to: examine a variety of different works; utilize writers from all walks of life; capture the cultural interests of the next generation; let the reader become part of the told experiences; and inspire others to write.

Brittany Groat ’13 says, “Working with terrarium has given me a better understanding of what it takes to get work through the publication process. I feel the writing has more of a life once its out there being read by people.”

To read the latest issue of terrarium, and to learn more about the publication as well as the magazine’s contributors, please visit terrariumonline.wordpress.com.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012