Chou Her, Prose Editor


As my time spent in Mush went from the first week to half a semester, I have witnessed many new and great things about our little organization. If I can, I will say that all of us are passionate about literature and art. I do know that everyone came to Mush for different reasons, pursuit, and goals. For me, coming to Mush was an opportunity to expand my knowledge of what a literary magazine is and how it works. Each individual had the opportunity to choose a role to partake in and I’m here to tell you about mine.

As an artist, specifically manga and animation, I came to Mush hoping to get something out of the experience. I am involved in my own group outside of my academics that printed a little manga very much like Mush magazine, except the print I did with my group is a manga style print. Manga is of Japanese culture style and the equivalent of comics. Through Mush what I wanted to learn was what a literary magazine feels like and how it works.

Entering Mush at the beginning, I found out there were roles. Little did I expect that there were three roles that conflicted my choice in what I wanted to do. They were Poetry, Prose, and Art editor. I like poetry. It was a writing form that I enjoy and makes me free to express myself. I thought it would be great to be the poetry editor because I had interest. However, the role did not fall to me after a vote of majority; my vote included. Sometimes you may not get what you want, but you can try for something else of challenge. Art was familiar to me, but I didn’t fight for the role. I believe anyone could be a great art editor regardless of familiarity or not.

Thus I got the role of Prose editor. I was a bit scared because I knew nothing of what a prose editor does. Eventually I got the hang of the job, which consists of line editing and reviewing prose stories such as short fiction, flash fiction, plays, etc. The job was no easy task, same goes for all the roles in Mush, and it was definitely an experience worth having. I hope to continue to do my role well and contribute to Mush until we have a final print in everyone’s hands!

Here are links to our Facebook page and to our Deviant Art page if you guys want to check it out!

By Ted Ceplina, Managing Editor

I somehow felt after multiple semesters of English courses that I had the basic skills to call myself well-rounded in the subject matter. Little did I know there are many finer nuances to being a writer, one of them is to be able to interpret the work of others. As writers, it’s common to assume what we are writing will be understood by others just the way we see it. When it came to judging MUSH submissions, I feel we as a group discovered quite the opposite. A piece can mean a whole lot of different things from individual to individual. For instance one person might read a poem as disturbing, with little value, or no direction. Someone else may see it as humorous, deeply rooted in personal experience, and a wonderful confession of intimate truths. As editors for MUSH we needed to take this into consideration. For each and every single piece we spent a great deal of time exploring what we felt the true meaning or vision of a piece may be. By discussing our individual interpretations of pieces, we were able to give them a much more careful examination and try to understand how the selection may be perceived by our readers.

            This process was not without heated moments. All of us editors are deeply passionate about the arts and naturally we hold our own personal viewpoints as a result. Determining what is a good fit for publishing was very difficult at times. Ultimately we had to throw our own biases away and try to put ourselves in the minds of our readers. Instead of thinking about what we want to read on a personal level, it was much more important to think about what pieces would be positively received by a larger audience. We joked many times about how we tended to pick pieces that were downright dark or even depressing in nature. I don’t necessarily think this reflects the persona of us as readers, instead it shows that we are all receptive of knowing and understanding the beautiful raw truths of life. This is one of the greatest merits of literary magazines like MUSH. The publication allows a diverse array of people to submit pieces that portray an individual viewpoint, a personal truth, something that we as adults are perfectly capable of digesting. With that said, there were also many positive pieces. Some carried a strong moral message, others relayed fond memories, and some were loaded with humorous wit. It was important to includ a nice mix of emotions and sentiments, after all what’s the point of cooking with just one spice?

            I sincerely look forward to seeing our first copies of MUSH with their glistening covers and factory-fresh ink smell. There is so much more to the publication than the physical magazine. MUSH is the collective voice for writers, it is all about who we are and sharing it with the world.

By Ariel Goronja


Mush is our own personal college literary magazine dedicated to publishing unique and creative stories, poems, plays and art. However, there is another form of art that I feel deserves recognition in our magazine, one that most people give a lifelong dedication to – tattoos. We publish stories and poetry written on paper, and artwork drawn and painted onto canvas, but we, as an entire student/community body, tend to forget that there is more to the world of art than just plain old white regular canvas. We are all human canvas’ ourselves, and many of us allow our canvas to be filled with extraordinarily beautiful ink. 

Though there is still such a controversial “taboo” surrounding permanent body art, isn’t there something to be said for the world of art and literature pushing the boundaries of what’s socially acceptable and what’s not? I feel that this should definitely play an important role in our own Mush magazine. We, as editors, spend weeks meticulously shuffling through submissions to choose the best work possible to be published. However, the common assumption of those who submit to our magazine is that we only accept generally what we’ve published in the past. What’s stopping us from opening up our minds and pages to something different? Not only is body art just as breathtaking and innovative as other artwork we’ve received, there’s  usually just as much, if not more story behind body art. Think about it; somebody who chooses to have something as permanent as a tattoo inked onto their bodies has to have a story, or some sort of very personal meaning behind it. It’s forever. It’s not going to wash off in a couple of weeks like “permanent” marker, or hair dye. It’s for life. In my opinion, that means even more than a poem that could be buried and forgotten, or a picture that can fade or be destroyed. A tattoo is a lifelong dedication.

  Not everyone is able to express themselves through writing or song or paint. Some people have an easier time expressing it through ink, with no words needed. If Mush opened its doors to the world of ink there could be so much more diversity and story in our magazine. Not only is the individual being able to share their beauty and love with the world, they are promoting their tattoo artist and shop, and helping stamp out the ridiculous controversy and discrimination surrounding body art. 

From my few months experience working with Mush, I feel very connected with the magazine, the authors, and the work I’m given the ultimate privilege to review. However, I feel our little community magazine could benefit greatly from spreading out, and really tackling all aspects of the artistic world we live in. Not only would it reach out to a more diverse audience, it would pull in more submissions and give our authors and readers a place to feel they can truly express themselves completely. 

A Brief Review of Ninth Letter


Hello and welcome to the Mush blog! I’m Karen Kilby and I’m the Art and Design editor for Mush. I’m an artist myself and even though my first love is Archaeology I do enjoy experimenting with graphic designs (computers don’t scare me!) so I’m looking forward to my job in Mush. My post is a brief review of Ninth Letter, the literary magazine that was required for this class.
I had gone to the Ninth Letter website to see what their mission statement was and I found out that the magazine was edited by graduate students and faculty at the University of Illinois. Now I know why Jill picked out this literary magazine specifically for our class. Their mission “is to present original literary writing of exceptional quality, illuminated by cutting edge graphic design.”
A lot of prose in the Ninth Letter seemed to want to evoke an emotion in a reader. The prose “Bird” by Terry Dubow told a story of a father who was trying to keep up a good relationship with his young daughter and trying to get his life back together after his divorce. All the while the story kind of centered on his daughter’s bird that has died because he accidentally neglected to take care of it while she was away. In the end he teared up, not over the bird, but over letting his little girl go down the street to buy a sticky bun all by herself. Sometimes a story asks an emotional question for the reader to ponder. The question includes the reader in the story and develops their interpretation of it. The prose “Mort Naturelle” by Ricardo Nuila had striking violent images. It was like a series of stories in one and each story had a surprise twist at its ending. It kind of reminded me of one of the submissions we received. Each little story asked provoking questions. What I also found really cool was that the abstract collage photo in the beginning of the magazine actually represents each story in the book. For example “Bird” is represented by a crumbled sticky bun with bird feathers.
The poems covered all kinds of themes like love, religion, music, animals, and humor. White space was definitely a factor in a lot of these poems.
Most of the art in Ninth Letter was abstract and most where photos or photos combined with art. One that struck me was the “Emblems in Color.” They were classical medieval drawings done in color. It had that black and white TV becoming color effect. The Animated Bestiary motion art is pretty cool and I think adults and kids would enjoy that section. They used the motion art on the cover as well which is really unusual and makes it different from other literary magazines.
One thing I found really interesting was a character named Ted White. He has six funny poems published in Ninth Letter, but he is actually a she. In the back of the magazine is a fascinating bio called the White Feature that describes how Ted came to life.