A Letter from the Editor: Mina Jang
Hi, I am Mina Jang, co-editor-in-chief of West Ranch Suburbia, our high school’s official literary magazine club. Here, I will talk about several things, including the backstory of how Suburbia came to be, reasons why YOU should submit work or join the club, and a few more details about our spectacular, wonderful, and amazing club. Enjoy!
Q: How did Suburbia--West Ranch’s Literary Magazine club-- begin?
A: So, when I was in seventh or eighth grade, I had seen in my brother’s yearbook that there had been a literary magazine club going on at West Ranch. And back then, that whole idea of a group of students coming together, sitting in a classroom sorting out poetry and putting together a collection of students’ artwork was just so interesting to me, because there had been nothing like that in my middle school. But when I got to high school in the years 2015-16, much to my dismay the club had disappeared, as the adviser had left and most of the past members had been seniors, so they had all graduated the year before.
After a while, I completely forgot about Lit Mag until a little later into my second semester as a freshman. I had watched “Struck by Lightning,” a film about a student (played by the actor who was Kurt in “Glee”) who starts a literary magazine club with a bunch of other students in his school, and when the credits rolled, there I was staring at my laptop--frickin’ pumped, driven, and already dreaming of what our literary magazine club would look like! (P.S. I know movies and real life are very, very different, but how could I not be excited after seeing Chris Colfer and Rebel Wilson blackmail students to write original pieces for their literary magazine? Brilliant!)
Everyday, I dreamt of creating this glittery, big boxes to put outside of classrooms where students would submit their work like Nikki in “Dork Diaries” did and scrolled down 5,470,000 results for “How to create a high school literary magazine?” on Google Search. But having only an idea wouldn’t do it; for starters, to make a club like this, the most important things you needed were an adviser willing to overlook the club, members who were passionate about this, and lots and lots of planning.
A few weeks later, I found someone who was just as wide-eyed and enthusiastic about creating a literary magazine just like me. That person was Skijler Hutson: super artsy with very long eyelashes, beautiful sweaters, and this stylish haircut that looked like the wave from “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” by artist Katsushika Hokusai. It was in Mr. Correll’s math class with me sitting in front of Skijler, the two of us casually solving geometry problems when I turned around and asked something like, “Hey, want to start this literary magazine club with me?” He stared at me for a second, probably wondering, “What the heck?” and then the rest was history. I found out later that day that Skijler had also watched “Struck by Lightning,” and all we did throughout that semester and summer was talk about literary magazine, whether it was whispering ideas in math class (sorry, Mr. Correll), walking down the baseball field, shouting out in excitement what we could do as a club, hanging out at Starbucks looking at websites through Skijler’s Macbook, or going to the fantastic Ms. Frame’s class for the first time (well, for me anyways).
When school started after summer, the first thing we did as sophomores was get Ms. Frame to sign the Adviser’s Signature section in the club application form that we finished over the two months, and then we sent it into the ASB office. Ta-da, that is the beginning of Suburbia!
Q: What does the club, West Ranch Literary Magazine, mean to me? And why should YOU submit work or join our club?
A: WR Suburbia is many things to me, but most of all, it has become a motivation, a push and a pull, a reason for me to go to school and to get on with my life; you probably do not even know how many emotions Suburbia has made me feel, but the main feeling I treasure the most whenever I do something for Lit Mag is this fluttering bliss I cannot feel anywhere else.
Throughout the beginning of Literary Magazine, I was a very different person; the Literary Magazine club I envisioned seemed so easy, so perfect, as if all the people who would join the club would automatically become friends with me and being a leader would be simple. How wrong I was. The first meeting, I remember meeting our current Writing editor, Noah Chang and countless others who dressed in their own, unique way and stood confidently across the room; I could barely speak that day and the other meetings after that one. The cycle was always the same: me looking over at Skijler--the more outgoing person and the natural leader out of the two of us-- for him to continue what I was trying to say if my voice started to tremble. More and more, I started to slip away from Lit Mag and from myself, my fear of speaking up in that room eating away at the passion and excitement I once had in creating and doing this club; I did not feel like a leader at all. Instead, I was a lint on the ground, a mouse hiding in the corner.
The pivotal point for me was when one day, Skijler and I were on the phone when we began talking about my problem and how members were questioning my position and why I was even at the front of the room. (I do not blame them) In a whisper, I told Skijler that I didn’t feel like doing Lit Mag anymore, that I could not do it anymore, and even after we ended the call with Skijler telling me not to and to think about it, I was sure I was quitting until I sat myself down and talked about it (what a dork).
Because here’s the thing: You can either go through all the obstacles and past the bad things knifing your sides to get to the best stuff you will ever have, or you can give up now, let it go, and walk away with whatever is already laid out for you. And I didn’t feel like giving up Lit Mag all the way, because I wanted more of the moments in Lit Mag that made me happy from the Castaic potluck we did last school year where Zoey brought her gigantic acoustic guitar and Simon with his chocolate cake to the countless fundraisers where we would run around Santa Clarita doing. Those days are the days I enjoy the most and feel happiest, because they make me want to go outside even more and spend time with these people who are probably the most beautiful and wonderful people I have ever met and call my friends. Just yesterday, we had a bake sale at Piers One Imports, and even though my mother asked me in Korean, “Won’t it be tiring to stay there from morning to the afternoon?” that entire day was the best time of my week. Using Alana’s camera to take over 600 random photos of people, running to Target to eat 82 cent pickles, telling Chika to not play anime openings but failing, and just sitting there in those dusty white lawn chairs and selling food to high school teachers, parents, little kids--how I ever wanted to leave this club, I do not understand. For these people have become my second family, and these moments are my most cherished, my most treasured things in this world. I do not say this word often, because I feel that it is a very sacred and precious word to blurt out, but I truly love our club and all our members whether they came in from the beginning or last week. Everyone is welcome to join, and do not ever feel like you do not belong, because in Room 206 on Thursdays at lunch, there will be at least one person in that room who will take you under their wing and introduce you to all the other friendly faces. I promise that also, if YOU join, you will be introduced to beautiful, unknown poetry or dazzling artwork from our very own students at West Ranch, and you will be creating your own work as well to show to the Santa Clarita community. How awesome is that?
So you see, West Ranch Suburbia makes me so very happy even if at the start, I wondered if I could take this big of a role, but that is Suburbia. It pushes you to try harder and tells you to create, because what our Literary Magazine club always does is that it will always get back up even if it falls at one point. Personally, the moment I felt proudest of myself in my entire lifetime was during our first Literary Magazine Showcase, when I spoke out to an audience of people; to others, it may have been nothing, but to me, it was a step towards something better. And it was because of Lit Mag; my fellow members who comforted me, like Zoey Greenwald, when I was down, and held my hand when I couldn’t stand up straight are what pushes me forward to be a better leader and overall, a better person. I hope that despite my mistakes and problems I may cause, that I will work my very hardest to never let any of my members down, and if I do, I will work harder than the day before to make sure that it never happens again. For everyone in this club is to feel welcome, have a great time, and never feel invisible. So if you are reading this, please, please join if you attend West Ranch, because you will not regret it, I swear. Thank you.
P.S. If you are halfway interested in joining Suburbia, there is especially one person in this club that you should approach besides me or Skijler (she’ll probably go to you first) if you come to our first meeting and are feeling awkward or needing someone to talk to. Her name is Chika Ma; she is the brightest, liveliest person I have ever known, and while I do not mention this to her because of her EGO, in my life Chika is probably one of the only people who can make me happy and comforted just by looking at her. So, if you ever need someone to talk to in Lit Mag, just find Chika :)
And guys, honestly, even if you don't feel like lit mag might not be your thing, you never know until you try, right? We all have these beautiful creative souls inside us that usually get locked up unintentionally by something, and we're here to save everyone from that! So please, swing by and just say hi even if you have the slightest interest in joining us on our revolution of creative colors, because we'll always welcome you with a big Olaf bear hug.
And I'll make sure you fit right in, and lead you to whatever you need. No matter what the problem is, I'll always make sure I can fix it for you so it'll go by how you are comfortable. We can be BFFS! And we can start hella artsy stuff and do fun photo shoots and everything. I mean like seriously if anyone wants to start a food section with me, please come forward cause Mina won't let me, so lets protest! I just want everyone to enjoy the club and meet these amazing people that are in the club, cause holy cow, i would marry them all if I could.
Remember, if you want to join, West Ranch Suburbia will always be waiting for you in Room 206 with open arms.
A little letter from us, to you:
To: Everyone reading this
Hi! In case you still didn't know, we are the official literary magazine at West ranch. Here at West Ranch Literary Magazine, Suburbia, we publish art from our local artists and students. We believe that art needs to be appreciated and shared with the world in hopes that the creativity we generate, publish, and share will inspire and touch others. We all have beautiful creative minds that needs to be touched on, and we like for everyone to express their creativity a whole lot more. Imagine world domination with our epic minds. Now that's pure gold.
That being said, we want you to be a part of our movement.
So submit your art. You submit, we publish - simple as that.
Love, West Ranch Suburbia