It takes guts and fortitude to stand up in front of a crowd and read your own words, share your own thoughts, feelings and emotions. More than a dozen Columbia High School students did just that at the Guildscript Open Mic Night held on Thursday, December 16, at the CHS Black Box Theater.
Cash and food donations were collected at the door to benefit the Community Food Bank of New Jersey in Hillside.
Guildscript is the CHS literary and art magazine. It features student-generated content that can include short dramatic sketches, essays, poems, short stories, humorous pieces and art work. Publication in Guildscript is quite the achievement. Last year, only 19 literary pieces made the cut out of more than 120 submissions.
Guildscript is published annually, typically after spring break in April. This year, the editorial staff, led by senior and Editor-In-Chief Whitney Braunstein—who also acted as emcee for the Open Mic Night—have already started reviewing submissions.
English teacher Mary Brancaccio is the faculty sponsor for the literary content in Guildscript. CHS art teacher Cindy Malhotra is the sponsor for the arts content.
Brancaccio has been literary faculty sponsor for the last 5 years. She says that the process of reviewing submissions and making final decisions on what is published is a collaborative one. "It is a fairly supportive process," commented Brancaccio, adding that the editorial board is "looking for pieces that represent a wide range of ideas and students."
Guildscript has an editorial staff of more than a dozen students as well as a separate writers group with a similar number of members. According to Brancaccio, the magazine "is still able to reach outside of these groups to solicit submissions. We receive submissions from poetry and creative writing classes." Brancaccio noted that students with "no connection with the club or classes" have had articles published.
Guildscript has proved to be a fertile ground for writers in recent years, according to Brancaccio, with published students moving on to writing and literary programs at Brown, Oberlin and Emerson—among other colleges and universities.
Braunstein, who recollected that she "has been writing since she was eight years old," enjoys the effort because it is a "way you can mold your emotions so that other people can understand them." As editor-in-chief her job is "making sure everything runs smoothly." She leads an editorial board of more than a dozen students, who review, critique, and ultimately decide which submissions are selected for publication. All submissions are blind so that the editorial staff has no idea who has authored a particular submission.
Guildscript is planning another Open Mic Night for the spring, so be on the lookout for this event. Also be on the lookout for the 2011 Guildscript Magazine.