‘Pillars of Salt’ literary magazine extends submission deadline to November 12

One+of+this+years+promotional+memes+created+by+the+Pillars+of+Salt+staff%2C+encouraging+upper+school+students+to+submit+their+writing%2C+art+or+photography+to+the+magazine.+The+submission+deadline+was+extended+a+week+later+to+Nov.+12.

Photo credit: Bri Gonzalez

One of this year’s promotional memes created by the “Pillars of Salt” staff, encouraging upper school students to submit their writing, art or photography to the magazine. The submission deadline was extended a week later to Nov. 12.

By Vaughan Anoa'i, Editor in Chief

Archer’s creative writing elective is a class dedicated to editing and producing “Pillars of Salt,” Archer’s literary arts magazine. The magazine features the work of Archer students, whether it be a compilation of poems, scriptwriting pieces, short stories or even photographic images.

“Pillars of Salt” is a print magazine that is distributed twice a year, toward the latter half of each school semester. As its own independent entity, upper school staff members have full ownership of the magazine’s production, from start to finish. This entails coming up with the theme, featuring original writing and art, editing the content itself, designing the layout and encouraging peers to contribute. Submission is only open to current upper school students, as the creative writing elective is not offered in the middle school.

The original deadline to submit work this year was on Nov. 5; however, due to a low number of submissions, the deadline was pushed a week back and extended to Nov. 12. In an effort to encourage students to submit, co-editor-in-chiefs Shaun Milton (’22) and Bri Gonzalez (’22) spoke briefly at Community Connections on Wednesday, Nov. 3.

This school year marks Milton’s third year participating in the creative writing elective and she said it feels “crazy” to be back on campus after spending the entirety of last year online.

“It’s been pretty crazy … Definitely a new experience trying to gain back a lot of attention after COVID, just because a lot of people haven’t really been at Archer,” Milton said. “It’s trying to gain that publicity once again, which is probably the most challenging part, but it’s very fun and I’m so excited to put it [the magazine] together.”

English teacher Jennifer Dohr serves as the current faculty advisor for “Pillars of Salt.” This is her first year in the position, as it was previously held by 12th grade dean and English teacher Kathleen Bergen. Dohr said she feels “honored” to serve in this role for the 2021-2022 school year.

It’s a great joy to work with students on their creative self expression and then to also push their pieces out into the world and realize there is a dual purpose to writing that’s meant for not only for one’s self, but is meant to be shared.”

— Jennifer Dohr

“I’m honored to be the advisor,” Dohr said. “It’s a great joy to work with students on their creative self expression and then to also push their pieces out into the world and realize there is a dual purpose to writing that’s meant for not only for one’s self, but is meant to be shared.”

Gonzalez said she enjoys how the literary magazine sparks connection through shared experiences

“I think it’s really about perspective and vulnerability within the community. Personally, so many times I’ve opened ‘Pillars of Salt’ and read all of the poems and prose in there, and I’m like, ‘Oh my god, I didn’t know that these people had shared experiences with me,'” Gonzalez said. “It’s just really nice to feel closer and more connected.”

As a tactic to encourage students to submit, staff members created meme posters they posted in bathrooms, on bulletin boards and on the front of lockers. Following the decision to extend the submission deadline to a week later, Dohr said how important this opportunity is for young writers, as they’re able to see their work published and featured on a larger scale.

“I think young writers and artists didn’t realize how exceedingly cool it is to see their work published,” Dohr said. “It’s one thing to create a poem or to take a photograph, but then to see months later that it has emerged into this glossy publication and to be able to take that home and set it on a coffee table and show it to Grandma and Grandpa and aunts and uncles and cousins and neighbors – it really becomes a self-confidence builder in ways that kids don’t imagine.”

Upper school students may submit any original writing, photography and art to [email protected] by Nov. 12.