Happy New Year! I’m starting something new this year at Shine, Just Shine. Every month or so I will interview someone who is helping others tap their creativity and Shine.
This month’s interview is with Jenine Boisits. She is an incredibly hard working and dedicated woman who has a passion for encouraging and supporting novice writers. This commitment goes back to 1999 when Jenine created the literary magazine Beginnings. The magazine was very popular and well read, unfortunately it had to shut down in 2007 for economic reasons. In 2015, Jenine is set to re-launch Beginnings and its website, dedicated to supporting and publishing novice writers. Join me as I chat with Jenine.
What moved you to start publishing Beginnings again?
It didn’t take much, really. Dan Welden, a local artist, teacher and author here in Sag Harbor was the one who motivated me. He is an amazing artist and just a fantastic, giving person who I respect a great deal. He was also my husband’s boss back in 2013. One day I decided to show him some of my old Beginnings issues since he was also a creative person. Not only did he love the idea of the magazine, he thought I should eventually help emerging artists as well! His enthusiasm and encouragement woke that creative spirit in me again! So here I am, seven years later just as excited, and maybe even more so this time around.
In Oliver Peterson’s article in the blog www.danspapers.com, he mentioned that Beginnings had to shut down in 2007 for economic reasons; how have conditions changed to make Beginnings viable this time around?
Conditions haven’t changed! Just like it didn’t stop me from starting the magazine in 1999, it’s not going to stop me from publishing again 14 years later! I’ve learned a lot from seven years relating to the new writer and because of that I have done my “funding” homework!
How would you describe your vision for the journal? Has your vision changed during Beginnings‘ seven-year hiatus?
Hopefully, funding will be a part of our new “beginning,” because through grants and/or private donations we can expand our dedication to the new writer through improved online writing workshops, access to professional writers and teachers, more contests, and the best part: publishing more than three times a year!
Are you planning to publish as an online journal or a print journal? Both have challenges, what are some of the biggest you are facing?
I will be publishing a print issue in early summer 2015 unless funding comes in sooner. That’s my one and only obstacle. I’ve never used advertising in the past or have any sort of funding for a variety of reasons. It was a struggle in the early 2000’s trying to produce a quality print magazine without any “start up” money. Since Beginnings is now a 501 3 (c), donations are tax deductible.
We will always have a website because I want to make it an interactive site where writers can use the Forums pages as they have in the past. The Forums page has always been the heart and soul of Beginnings. It was the place new writers discovered they could comfortably post their finished work, or drafts, or just commiserate with other writers. This forum thrived on a camaraderie of kindred spirits who understood that ongoing, personal struggle of becoming better writers. They say writing is a lonely business, but it doesn’t have to be! Sirrus Poe, recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize for his poetry, explains how the Forums helped him become the poet he is today.
Currently we have a Q&A page where readers write in questions about writing or grammar. The questions will be answered weekly by Carol Thomas. We’ll have contests on a regular basis, and we will also be partnering up with STORYMANIA, an excellent writing site that we’ve worked with in the past.
Eventually we will have photography contests and artwork by children and young adults. I am also going to spend a bit more time encouraging young writers because it’s so very important to nurture young minds. Using their imagination to write or draw is especially important now because this generation has a lot of distractions with technology and social media. Writing or drawing is also a very good way to channel the boundless energy of the young into something tangible, something they can be proud of!
Is it difficult to get the word out about starting up again?
No, getting the word out about Beginnings has always been easy. Many writers from the original Beginnings have even contacted me and asked if they could help spread the word.
Are the author forums moderated? Has there ever been any problem with authors ‘stealing’ each other’s ideas?
The forums have always been” moderately” moderated. Sorry, just had to say it that way! This question about authors stealing each other’s ideas, I’ve heard that before but I’ve never actually seen it happen! However, I did have an entire story of mine stolen in high school. The student used a short story of mine that had been published the year before in our school magazine. He used it as one of his own for an English assignment. Now that was BOLD!
Thank you Jenine.
Join Jenine in helping novice writers by getting the word out about Beginnings. Connect with Jenine and Beginnings on Twitter @jennyboisits and at www.literarybeginnings.org
Please leave your comments below. I’d also love to hear your suggestions for people to interview- people who help others tap their creativity and Shine.