There is a question that I get every time I mention that I am an English major: what are you going to do with that? Sometimes it worries me because what can I do with that? I made the decision to become an English major because it was my only interest in my high school studies, but what can a person do with a degree in English.
During my last year of college I got an internship that proved that many things could be done with my degree. When I became an intern for the University of Alaska Southeast’s literary and art journal, Tidal Echoes, I realized that my degree could apply to many careers and life skills. Thus far, Tidal Echoes has showed me that writing is a challenge, because even my PSAs need to be clear and concise yet professional, all while being under 500 words. Tidal Echoes has proved to me that we need writers and artists in order for the modern world to function, because without them we couldn’t convey emotion, feeling, or information to the public.
With this internship I have had the privilege to do many things that I had never done before. Outreach is a huge part of Tidal Echoes due to our mission as a regional journal, meaning we accept both UAS student submissions and full-time resident submissions. The best part of this opportunity for me was attempting to contact people from the farthest Southeast Alaskan communities to get my flyers to them. The moment I got permission to send my materials to Hydaburg was one of the highlights of my internship so far.
Through Tidal Echoes I have also had a lot of exposure to local artists and writers. I thought that I knew of many Juneau artists and writers until I began working for the journal, but then I realized that many people I have never met before created some of the most beautiful published works I have seen. One of the artists from last year’s edition, Lillian Ruedrich, allowed us to use her piece of photography titled “Fireweed Fizzle” for this year’s outreach. There is nothing more special than sending out posters and instructions with her stunning image of our local flora on them, and to know that the image was created by a community member.
It is inspiring to see that people use writing and art in their careers, with our featured writers and artists displaying that these skills can become much more than just a hobby. This year I have the pleasure to interview Maureen Longworth, our featured writer, and Pat Race, our featured artist.
Maureen Longworth is a poet and playwright who recently put on a play titled Blue Ticket: Ferries/Fairies out of Alaska, which sheds light on an issue from Alaska’s past involving LGBTQ rights. Longworth has had a long history of writing scripts, even continuing her passion for writing throughout medical school publishing the skit “Turning Around Sexism in Medicine”.
Pat Race is the owner of Alaska Robotics Gallery which creates everything from comics to postcards. Race illustrates many things that have made a prominent mark on Juneau’s community, such as the “I voted” stickers that were handed out to voters throughout elections in 2018. His art focuses on different aspects of life in Southeast Alaska from the “Pel’ Meni” print, which displays a staple to Juneau-ite diets, to the “Grey Skies” comic, which shows the mood we all suffer from in the cloudy, cold climate.
Being a part of a journal that showcases the talent of both seasoned and new writers and artists makes me proud to be an English major. Tidal Echoes has proved to me and to many other previously published students and community members that the arts have utility in Southeast Alaska.
If you find yourself wishing your art or writing could be a part of something bigger, then consider submitting your work to Tidal Echoes before the December 1st deadline. Applications and guidelines for the journal are accessible through the Tidal Echoes’ Submittable page. I am excited to see our community prove, once again, the importance of art and literature in Southeast Alaska and I look forward to seeing the submissions that we receive.
Kelsey Walsh is the Tidal Echoes intern this fall