~From English Department Communications Intern Ashley Alfirevic
The last few weeks of my senior year have been filled with nostalgia for CSU, a calm fondness and bittersweet assurance that just as I finally understood all the ins and outs of the English Department, I’d soon be leaving. And as a former editor of the Greyrock Review, I thought I knew just what this year’s Release Party would entail: a little bit of mingling beforehand, selling books with an outdated credit card carbon copier, and readings from a brilliant new batch of authors, with a few returns from the last issue.
Nostalgia can also be hampering, and the present rarely resembles the past. The changes that have taken place for the Greyrock Review have been amazing for the editors, authors, and readers, but not so much for the former editor who declined to rush over on the assumption that mingling and an outdated carbon copier would delay the actual start time.
When I arrived at Wolverine Letterpress and Publick House, the room was packed to the brim, the journals nearly sold out, and the readings already underway. As I noticed how this Release Party had diverted from ours, it was so spectacular to see the changes this year’s editorial team had made. The crowd seemed to have doubled, maybe tripled in size, as had the number of authors featured. The sleek new copies had an updated format and gorgeous design. And, thanks to a strengthened affiliation with ASCSU, the journals were now free to students, eliminating the need for outdated and cumbersome carbon copiers for credit card purchases.
As I stood in the threshold of the doorway, the downstairs music from the Publick House mingled with the spoken words of former classmates and acquaintances whose insightful writing I had admired and envied, and nostalgia blended with an equally wonderful reality.
A former classmate from my creative nonfiction course read her short story “Petrichor.” With lines like, “golden, but dulled in the diffused light of a cloud-laden, late afternoon sky,” her voice sounded just as it had when she would read lines in workshop.
Another read, “Small Lipstick,” a piece we had discussed all together. Hearing where she honed certain images or paragraphs with lines like, “Her body weakens, her mind festers,” made the ambiguities all the more mysterious and poignant.
One more from our class read “Song.” A poem filled with lines like, “where buds, blossoms, and broken stems are buoyed by equal eyes,” it so gorgeously expressed the zest for life and incredible kindness that accompanied all of her writing and critique.
A fellow editor from last year read her poem “Decomposition.” Seamlessly combining beauty and decay, lines like, “the weeds swelter in the noon-day heat. I wonder if I were to lick the stems, would their dirt coat my tongue?” brought back fond memories of our poetry fundraiser.
Upon my return home, I couldn’t stop turning the pages of the new Greyrock, filled with both unfamiliar authors I would not have the chance to meet, and ones I had always felt in awe of but had never quite gotten to know.
Nostalgia can be dangerous when it constitutes what you think will happen next. But being surrounded by such passionate authors, editors, and classmates, I couldn’t help but be in the present in those moments. CSU is filled with so many talented thinkers and writers that must be appreciated while they’re here, before they’ll have to be relegated to memory.