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Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Open Ceilings

New literary magazine accepting submissions

Student-led publishing company Mechanisms Press has created a new literary magazine at UC Davis titled “Open Ceilings,” which will publish student work, from creative writing to art and photography.

The company was founded in the fall of 2018, when a group of students came together to create an outlet for sharing and celebrating creative works on campus. The mission statement of Mechanisms Press describes their intention as trying to “foster an appreciation for literature in our community” and to “empower unheard voices and provide the students, staff, and faculty of UC Davis with an avenue for creative expression.”

Matthew Pimley, a second-year English major and the co-board director, founded Mechanisms Press. He was inspired to create a literary magazine when a friend and fellow writer came to him and expressed disappointment in the lack of emphasis on creative writing on campus, especially in the realm of publishing.

“We don’t have a publication on UC Davis campus that is specifically dedicated to creative writing,” Pimley said. “So we decided to carve out a space for us.”

While there may be several publishing opportunities for student writers in Davis, they are predominantly focused in areas of academia or journalism. Pimley and other creative writers he spoke with have all struggled in finding opportunities to showcase their work and build their portfolios. Through Mechanisms Press and “Open Ceilings,” Pimley is hoping to change that.

After months of dealing with the intricacies of creating a legitimate company and publishing body through the campus, “Open Ceilings” is finally in the production stage for its debut issue. For Pimley, all the hard work has been worth it.

“I believe that it’s a really important project for creators, for writers, and our community,” Pimley said. “I myself am proud to head up a project that will archive and preserve in print the voices of this time period.”

The magazine wishes to generate an interest for literature and the arts among the student body. The Mechanisms Press Board hopes to receive submissions from a range of voices and perspectives. Pimley sent announcements about the magazine to advisors of all undergraduate majors, instead of just those in arts and humanities, in an effort to encourage a wider range of students to submit their work.

“I think that our magazine is going to do a lot to emphasize collaboration among fields and show that the arts are not just for music and art and English majors, the arts are interdisciplinary,” Pimley said. “This is a project that should be welcoming and encompassing of a variety of fields.”

Third-year managerial economics major Patricia Swing works as the treasurer for Mechanisms Press.

“Outside of what I study, I really love creative arts,” Swing said. “I love creative writing and I’ve always wanted to work in publishing.”

“Open Ceilings” is a path for students to get experience in both the writing and publishing of creative works. The magazine accepts works of short fiction, poetry, memoirs and literary reviews. There will also be a section for artwork and photography.

Second-year English major Helena Sherman, works as the submissions committee chair for “Open Ceilings.” Sherman is a writer herself but is also excited to help choose content for what the magazine will publish.

Upon receiving all of the submissions, Sherman’s committee will give blind, objective readings to each piece in order to create an ethical path to publication.

“Because this is our debut issue, we are willing to take anything creative,” Sherman said. “We want anything that people are proud of and they want to see in publication.”

Mechanisms Press is planning on publishing quarterly issues of “Open Ceilings” and is currently accepting submissions for their debut issue at submissions.mpress@gmail.com. Written submissions will be accepted until March 15.

Written by: Alyssa Ilsley — arts@theaggie.org


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