December 6, 2019 | Narrative
going but not gone
Like the end of a beloved book, the final chapter of our post- experiences feels bittersweet. In our two-to-three-semester tenures as managing editors or copy chief, we’ve experienced highs and lows, late nights and early mornings, laughter and lethargy, all sustained by white cheddar popcorn, good tunes, and the support of one another’s company. We leave post- in the extremely capable hands of our successors, but like in any promising sequel, characters you know and love will return in greater capacity while others will make cameos—either through contributing pieces or filling other roles. And as the semester and the decade draw to a close along with our chapter of post-, we’ll say goodbye one last time.
post- was a late night that just got later. I began writing for it my first year at Brown, finishing articles the day they were due. I sat in my dorm room, alone, at 8:00 p.m., working through rambling Narrative pieces about baristas and oil painting. While I am not all that proud of those early pieces, they led me to a section editing position two years later in the Feature section.
I had a decent idea of what editing entailed when I began: weekly content development, grammar checks, and close reads of articles. While all of these responsibilities have certainly been a part of my post- experience, there were also the coffee-fueled Feature meetings on Monday mornings, during which we caught up on weekend adventures while perusing the piece of the week. There were the Thursday production nights, with free pizza, snacks, and exposure to new and exciting writers. There was friendship. There was being a part of something, of a family of creative, dynamic editors with inimitable tastes in music. When I finished my edits on those Thursday nights, around 9:30 p.m., I often didn’t want to leave.
So, eventually, I didn’t. I took on a managing editor position for the Feature section. I got to lead the Monday morning Feature meetings. Production nights went as late as 1:30 a.m. for me, spent poring over drafts and waiting for the printer at the Brown Daily Herald offices to work. And though I’ve never loved staying up so late, my work allowed me to grow even closer to the post- team. So much so that I can barely imagine what next semester will be like without it. But I know I will always have a part of post-, and it will always have a part of me.
post- is the only venue on this planet that has never rescinded my aux privileges. That’s remarkable. After an adolescence spent inflicting my Spotify selects on parents, high school friends, and boarding school van drivers, lifetime bans are what I’ve come to expect; yet, somehow, each Thursday night during production, my colleagues will actually ask me to play my music! Given that my self-esteem is almost entirely tied up in how others react to my preference for 1970s German funk-rock and modern-day Detroit scam rap, I cannot overstate what this validation means to me.
I like to think that this attitude—everyone’s embrace of the intimate—carries over into the work that our editorial class has done; under the kind, curatorial eyes of Celina and Sydney, the Narrative and Feature sections have been bastions for the kind of personal writing that few campus newspapers have ever cradled.
For my part, I received the Arts & Culture section in 2018 with a mission to shun topicality, forego criticism, and instead encourage students to tell their life stories through their relationship to artists and their work. At the end of the day, I’m grateful to my writers above all. When it came time to pitch each week, they accepted my bizarre mission with force and ferocity; I have no doubt these talented folks probably would have written really great reviews, had I not refused to publish them.
Ten years from now, if I’m still working with people who wholeheartedly embrace the weirdness coming out of my speakers, then I’ll have post- magazine to thank for plugging me.
Summer after my senior year of high school: It’s a sweltering night, and I am making no attempt to sleep. My phone dings. Morning Mail. I am an eager pre-frosh, excited to be looped into University goings-on even before I step foot on campus. Some publication called post- is looking for editors, copy editors, and staff writers. Gee—they must really need a copy editor if they don’t know to capitalize the title of their own publication.
Winter during my junior year of college: I am cozy on the Copy Couch, named as such for no reason other than my insistence on occupying it every prod night. Music is playing, snacks are haphazardly shared over the table, old issues of post- lay around the room. Someone asks me whether a person stands “in line” or “on line.” With an executive decision to instate the former as an official entry in our style guide, I invalidate this linguistic oddity of New Yorkers. Argument ensues, and everyone is shouting or laughing, or both.
It’s been an absolute pleasure to be post-’s copy chief. Contention over commas and em dashes aside, I’ve grown to love post- and the family that we’ve formed around this incredible publication. I’ve grown to love the intimacy with which our writers approach each article, the vibrancy that emanates from our illustrators’ works, our dedication every Thursday as we work—through drooping eyelids and against assignment deadlines—late into the night to get the next issue out.
But this is not a farewell. I’m excited to try and fill the shoes of our graduating staff next semester, even if that means I have to leave the comfort of the Copy Couch for a ripped leather chair at the head of the table. Thank you all for everything you’ve done for this magazine.
Until next semester, post-.