Excitement. Suspense. Anticipation.
These feelings were palpable, circling around the Dolan School of Business Dining Room as people filed in on the evening of April 1 for the one-year celebration of Mason’s Road – an online literary journal that has quickly gained a reputation as being a publication to watch.
Mason’s Road, a literary journal with educational underpinnings, is sponsored by Fairfield University’s MFA in Creative Writing program and run by its graduate students. Launched in July 2010, it has quickly grown into a literary magazine that local and foreign writers and readers tap into. The website at masonsroad.com has had visitors from 57 countries who have left over 101 comments on its literature to date, according to Lisa Calderone MFA ’11, Founding Editor.
Photos by Jean Santopatre
Calderone welcomed the crowd with introductory remarks about the history of Mason’s Road, and then the celebration took off with the presentation of the first $500 writing contest prize by Fiction Co-Editor Chris Belden MFA ’11 to C. Joseph Jordan. Jordan, who read an excerpt from his award-winning piece “A Way in the Wilderness” to the audience, later commented that Belden helped him with a “story that was good, but not quite in its best possible form,” and that Belden’s help with the story’s ending enabled him to “get something really strong out into the world.” Jordan used the published version of “A Way in the Wilderness” to apply to MFA programs and was admitted with a full scholarship to the University of Minnesota. “In one sense,” he says, “I owe the next 3 years of my life to the folks at Mason’s Road.”
As testament to the publication’s devotion to the expansion of ideas and innovative ways in which they can reach their audience, 3 of the 6 other contributors read in a non-traditional and experimental Skype-session in order to include writers from around the globe, with live streaming “global citizenship” readings from India, Israel, and Georgia. Attendees of the event heard from:
- C. Joseph Jordan, “A Way in the Wilderness” / Intro. By Chris Belden, Fiction Co-Editor
- Brandi Dawn Henderson, “Unsung Sorrow” / Intro. by Ioanna Opidee, Current Editor-in-Chief
- Tamara Madison, “Swing” / Intro. by Colin Halloran, Poetry Co-Editor
- Lucas A. Gerber, “Assorted Rain Drops” / Intro. by Steve Otfinoski, Drama Editor
- Kathryn W. Craft, “Standoff at Ronnie’s Place” / Intro. By Elizabeth Hilts, Creative Non-Fiction Co-Editor**
- Kathleen Kraft, “Ballad of the Never-Ending Date” / Intro. By Brittany Hill, Poetry Co-Editor
- Laura Valeri, “Fallow Fields” / Intro. By Mark Berry, Current Creative Non-Fiction Co-Editor
**Two days later, Kathryn Craft wrote about her reading experience on her blog.
As an English major at Fairfield University, I personally felt connected to the writing, some which had been honed with hard work and determination through a collaborative and educational process that involved MFA graduate student editors and the writers. Although I came to the event knowing that the writing presented would be exceptional, I was surprised with the beauty of the words read to me, and for once I was able to sit without distraction among others who enjoy writing as much as I do and listen to the original works of developing craftsmen.
It is clear that Mason’s Road is here to stay, and that the partaking voices are becoming louder and stronger with each new issue. This publication is quickly becoming a cornerstone for both developing writers and for revolving editorial teams drawn from Fairfield’s MFA program.
“Outfits like Mason’s Road are where the future of publishing is, at least to a degree. And I expect big things from Mason’s Road in particular, both because its founders have been so tireless in getting it started and making sure there’s a strong product on the market, and, frankly, because the prize money they’re able to offer will attract talented people who want to be paid. Equally important, of course, is that the editors continue to be of the high caliber that they’ve had in Lisa and Chris, though I think the early success of the Fairfield MFA program and the magazine itself will help ensure that good people steward it going forward.”
One current editor, Brittany Hill (poetry), appreciates the cross-genre educational opportunities the journal offers. “It is always important to view different genres and styles of writing, and just because I write poetry doesn’t mean that I can’t take aspects of fiction or non-fiction or drama and apply it to my writing style,” says Hill. “It’s fun to incorporate different genres. Although I edit poetry, I read everything on the journal!”
When asked about her perspective of the literary magazine, Hill offered a simple statement that summed up the overall feel for the future of the publication. “It’s been an exuberant experience and I know that Mason’s Road will continue to exceed and excel. Bring on the submissions!”
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