“Salamander” editor speaks

BOSTON — Jennifer Barber sits at her computer in the cramped Salamander office, located in Suffolk University’s Fenton building. Her computer monitor shows some open windows, most of which seem to be emails – proof that she’s always working hard. As the literary journal’s founder and editor-in-chief, she has to be.Jenny BarberSalamander publishes fiction, poetry, and memoirs for a national and international audience. It celebrated its 15th anniversary last year. Before coming to Suffolk University a few years ago, Barber ran it out of her home. She began thinking about founding a literary journal while she was in graduate school, but it took her about 10 years after completion of her graduate studies to make her dream a reality. Continue reading

Writing as resistance: A lecture by Dr. Bryan Trabold

BOSTON — Most Americans would probably agree that the First Amendment is an integral part of our society. The freedom to express ourselves, to say and do and write what we want within the limits of the law, is what makes America what it is. How would we feel if that right was taken away?Dr. Bryan Trabold

Dr. Bryan Trabold, professor of English at Suffolk University, lived in Cape Town, South Africa, from 1998 to 1999. His study of the Apartheid through the eyes of two South African newspapers of the 1980s, the Weekly Mail and the New Nation, helped to solidify his dedication to honesty through media and bringing the truth to the masses.

Trabold’s lecture, “Writing Space and Resistance in Apartheid South Africa,” which took place at Suffolk University’s Sawyer Library Poetry Center on March 25th, centered around the two newspapers and their rebellion against censorship. The newspapers used unique tactics to publish information that the South African government wanted to hide. They attempted to balance upholding the law with sharing information that they felt citizens had the right to know. Continue reading

Hair-pullers: Suffering in silence

BOSTON — When I was in high school, I never left the house without a pair of tweezers nestled comfortably in my purse. The fear that I would need them but that they wouldn’t be there greatly outweighed any anxiety or embarrassment I felt regarding the reason for carrying them; all that mattered was that they were easily-accessible when I felt the urge to pull.

In tenth grade, I was diagnosed with an impulse-control disorder called trichotillomania, commonly referred to as “TTM” or “trich.” This psychological condition is described by the American Psychiatric Association as “the recurrent pulling of one’s own hair with the potential for considerable hair loss.” As a 15-year-old struggling with depression, social anxiety, and a group of friends who related to and supported her destructive behavior, a diagnosis like this was not particularly surprising – I actually sort of wanted there to be something wrong with me so that I would have a reason, an excuse, to feel what I felt and do what I did. Continue reading

Mining your obsessions

BOSTON — “Write what you know,” the old adage goes. Finding connections between what you’re writing and what you care about can sometimes be a challenge for writers, no matter what format or genre you write in.

This was one of the many topics covered at Boskone, a regional science fiction and fantasy convention held at Boston’s Westin Waterfront Hotel every February. Genre writers from all over the country fly in to lead panels and discussions about all aspects of the genre and writing within it. Every writer, whether he or she is an author or a poet or a reporter, should learn to use his or her obsessions to craft well-thought out and interesting stories. One of the most interesting panels of the convention was on that very subject. Continue reading