Darf ich vorstellen… Ta ta ta… Sarah Khan! Wer das ist? Die Frau, die hinter den beiden englischsprachigen Onlinemagazinen GREYstone und BRICKrhetoric steht. Damit unterstützt sie nicht zuletzt Jugendliche, die hier ihre ersten Werke veröffentlichen können! Für euch habe ich einmal nachgefragt, wie es ist, sich so für junge Schreiber einzusetzen.
Name I like to be called: Sarah Khan
Age I would like to be: 122 years, 165 days
Favorite place in the world: Easter Island
Profession I would like to choose: Bike Courier
The achievement I’m most proud of: I survived adolescence!
The funniest thing that’s ever happened to me: I thought until the age of about seven that I was a British princess (because my name literally means „princess“ and my family lived in England for a period before I turned four). I was obviously devastated when my mom sorted that one out.
The one feeling I wish I could’ve captured: That moment when they discontinued Twinkies, and then continued them again.
The scariest thing in the world: I’ve seen a few stories recently in the news about people discovering live venomous spiders in their store-bought fruit. I can’t think of anything more frightening, unless, of course, it’s a zombie apocalypse brought on by venomous fruit-dwelling spiders.
First thing to do after waking up: I lay in bed for some time listening to the coos and giggles of my children (ages 1 and 3) as they chirpily greet the morning.
The best thing to do on the weekends: Try out a new/unusual recipe on family and/or friends.
What would you do if you had more time? Sit around trying to wish even MORE time into existence.
…sport: Ultimate tree climbing (if that’s not a real thing, it should be!)
…art: Gustav Klimt’s Three Ages Of Women
…piece of clothing: Socks
…role model: Ms. D. (my 12th-greade English teacher)
…song: Trois Gymnopedies
Say what first comes to your mind!
Women! Louisa May Alcott!
Sunshine! „Wear Sunscreen!“ (Baz Luhrmann)
Roller coaster! Oww!
Cheerleading! Football and/or basketball sidelines and halftime!
Lollipops! Mr. Owl! (Okay, that’s tootsie pops, but still the first thing I think of)
Love! Stanyan Street and Other Sorrows! (Rod McKuen)
Thank you Sarah for letting us get to know who that person behind those wonderful sites is! Can we ask you some more questions about what you do?
Can you introduce GREYstone to us with two sentences?
GREYstone is a quarterly literary and visual arts journal for young writers and artists (K-12). GREYstone publishes works of poetry, flash fiction, photography and artwork, seeking submissions with a particularly multicultural/urban focus.
Were you also a writer during your teenage years?
I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing, and I was most active as a writer during my teenage years, spilling out pages upon pages of poetry and poetic prose.
What fascinated you the most about writing?
I continue to be amazed by the transcendent power of writing, and reading. What I love most about my participation with GREYstone is that it brings me right back to my school days. I also revel in the idea that a simple task like writing can awaken in us new understanding regarding ourselves, others, and the world that surrounds us.
How did you get started working for GREYstone?
I really wanted to create a space where young writers and artists would be able to share and develop their craft (and experiences) with others their age, so I initiated GREYstone as a new project shortly after establishing BRICKrhetoric (our regular publication).
How many pieces do you receive from young writers?
This varies with each issue, but we typically receive submissions within the range of 50-100 pieces each quarter from young writers/artists.
What does the submission process look like? What must a piece have to make it to GREYstone?
We have a small team of volunteer readers (some of which are high school students themselves) who read and vote on submissions. When reviewing submissions, we appreciate and understand that writing is a process; with this fact in mind, our main objective is to encourage the process. We look for works that are thoughtful and well-written. We look at overall content, and consider whether the piece will be interesting, thought-provoking and/or inspiring for a young audience. Lastly, we consider whether the piece fits in with our overall theme. When we reject a work, it is typically because the work was simply not a close enough fit with what we currently publish, and we encourage resubmission of future work from the author.
How many of the pieces you receive end up in GREYstone, how many do you have to reject?
In the last year, we have accepted roughly 65% of works submitted to GREYstone.
How many hours a week do you spend on working on GREYstone and what are your tasks?
The time I spend really depends on the time of year and the number of submissions we receive. In any given week, we can receive either a few submissions, or many. I read all submissions and maintain correspondence with contributors, as well as act as webmaster to the website. During our busier times, I spend anywhere from 2-5 hours a day reading submissions and posting items to the site.
What makes it so important to you to help teenagers with their writing?
My background is in Education, so it comes somewhat naturally for me to want to share and promote my own affinity for the literary, visual and performing arts with people of all ages. For teenagers, particularly, I feel writing can be a rather powerful tool for coping with and confronting everyday life. What I’ve seen from the submissions we’ve received, and what I remember of my own high school years, the feelings experienced and expressed by teenagers across the globe are more or less universal. The process of writing, particularly for this age group, can be extremely transformative. And the process of sharing creative works – works which are intimately tied to their creators – is a salient and harmonious way to build bridges throughout the world. This is what I find to be most important.
What’s the most important thing young writers should remember?
The best way to improve your writing is to read. A lot. Take the time to get to know a few beloved authors very well; find an author whose work you admire, and read as much as possible. And experiment. Study the rules and techniques of writing (grammar, for instance), and then experiment with when and how to bend the rules to discover your own voice and style. Lastly, don’t let rejection stop you or even slow you down. I’ve received rejections from other litmags, and countless authors have been rejected by their first-choice publishers. As a primary goal, simply enjoy and appreciate the process of writing, regardless of the outcome. The more you write, the more you’ll grow as a writer, and as a person.
Anything else you would like teenage writers out there to know?
We are accepting submissions! 😉