Who are we?
While it may be romantic to say we started with a simple “Hey, do you want to start a literary magazine?” our roots don’t stray too far from that concept. Jennifer Snow is our catalyst in bringing forth a magazine that has become a cornerstone of our lives. She was the one to ask the question that sent us down the path of creating Transcend. Individually, each of the three founders saw a disparity in published works, both in our childhoods and in present day literature. The gap may be closing, but there is still a gap, and we want to play our part in shaping the future of prose and verse.
We want to transcend the limits of current literary magazines.
Hold on, that’s getting a little romantic again, isn’t it? Let me bring us back to reality. I wish I could say our name stemmed from the idea of transcending limits. Rather, none of us could properly think for a name for a magazine with such inclusive goals. It took a suggestion by an outside-party and we fell in love with the idea. There was no going back from that point on.
Transcend is by people with passions for writing, editing, and literature. For each of us, these details highlight different aspects of our lives but it allowed us to connect on one important detail: we want to share underrepresented perspectives.
I have long believed my heart to belong in California. Sure, I was blessed to be able to come of age in central Massachusetts, but since my first visit to San Francisco, I felt like I fit in there—with people I related to on more than just a superficial level. Since leaving Massachusetts, and the I.T. field I had called home for almost twenty years, I opted to pursue a career I felt would be more appropriate to my desires and moved to Sacramento. In order to acquire my AS in biology at Sacramento City College, I was told I would have to take an English Literature class. I thought to myself how easy English had always been for me, and how I had been writing and reading for most of my life, so I took a class that would have me reading works I enjoyed in both written and film form. Little did I know then that it would come to be a most defining moment in my life.
The professor of my class made a suggestion and I took her advice. I enrolled in “LitMag” at American River College. Today, I am a published writer (after never having thought to submit my work anywhere), I have served as a managing genre editor for two literary magazines, I am an intern for a world-class publisher in the San Francisco area, and I am the Assistant to the Editors at Ad Lumen Press. If that professor had not suggested I take a creative writing class, I would be missing out on the tremendous joy I have found by writing and editing.
I was fortunate to grow up in an environment that fostered reading to the extreme. Going to the library to check out a dozen books was a biweekly occasion in my childhood. When I was still young, my family stopped recommending books when everything they suggested was something I had already read. It wasn’t long until I followed the relatively natural progression of dabbling with writing. I think the first story I ever attempted to write, I was about seven years old. I started writing more frequently as I grew and my fiction mirrored the YA narrative I read. It wasn’t until the completion of college did the full disparity if my writing hit me. I am a queer woman, but I never wrote anything that replicated my life. Instead, I wrote material that was popular. Through my years of clearing the local library shelves, I cannot recall a story that represented my identity.
I went to college with the intention of teaching future generations, of passing of a love of science I also developed young. But I now realize I have more to give the future. I want to foster narratives that represent every child. I did not read a story I related to on a personal level, on a level of identity, until I was 23. Queer material wasn’t kept from me, in fact very few books were kept away from my eager small hands, but rather it didn’t exist in prevalence until I was graduating high school. It has taken a difficult road to come into a definition of acceptance, and a definition of who I am, and I do not wish that on anyone. Instead, I will share my experiences to add to the collective of emerging voices, the voices future generations will be able to find themselves in, instead of molding themselves into something they’re not.
I am a young queer person. I am a writer, an artist, and a creator. I will accidentally hold up traffic to make doe eyes at a dog as I'm crossing the street. I am a pineapple-on-pizza hater. I am long-winded, prone to hyperbole, and often too preoccupied with entertaining everyone around me.
I am also confused, frustrated, and enormously upset by the callousness of the world around us. The weight of that cruelty is overwhelming, and for as long as I can remember I have wanted to alleviate it. Writing is the way I learned to bridge the gap between the dream of a kind, just world and the bleaker reality that we all live with. For me, creating stories functions as a coping mechanism as much as it does a hobby. I have a passion for words, but more than that I have a passion for helping to make things better than they are, and I believe a good first step is to ensure that everyone has a voice. Marginalized people deserve the dignity of being seen, heard, and respected. I hope that this platform can aid in this realization.
Anyway, I'm just a tired kid from Brooklyn who thinks the world could do with a dose or two of radical compassion. Call me Steph.