Photo by: Will Gentry
The Soundings literary journal at Oklahoma Christian University is hosting their annual fall fundraiser in the form of a European Christmas market.
The Christmas Market on Nov. 22 is one of many steps designed to involve the Oklahoma Christian community even more in the Soundings journal.
“It’s a Christmas Market with crafts, food, music and booths with people selling items, and it will be outside because we want it to have that Christmas feel to it,” Rebecca Briley, associate professor of language and literature and sponsor of Soundings said. “A lot of people have been to those markets in Germany and Austria, and we are excited about it and love the idea.”
This market will not be what most students would expect.
“We are really hoping this will appeal to people who have actually been on the Europe studies trip and have seen the real Christmas Markets before,” senior Shelly Welch, editor of Soundings said. “We are working to make it as much of a European-style market as possible – this just isn’t a flea market – we are actually building some facades to put on the tables to make it look like Christmas Market booths. We are going to have traditional Christmas punch, hot chocolate, candied almonds, gingerbread and other items along those lines.”
The Soundings staff is selling booth slots for the Christmas Market and is looking to include the community in the market as well. A booth costs $20 for any Oklahoma Christian student, faculty or staff, anyone from the community can run a booth for $35.
“We are trying to reach out to the community and find people who would like to purchase a booth,” Welch said. “There are plenty of slots and anyone can double-up on the booths to split the cost.”
The Christmas Market is an opportunity for both participants and Soundings to make a little money.
“Not only will we be able to make some money toward the publication, but people will be able to come out and make money for themselves, and everybody can just have a good time kicking the Christmas season off,” Briley said.
The Christmas Market is the beginning of a process headed by Welch and senior Jenny Dahl, who are both leaders on the Soundings staff.
“We are trying to take the journal in a new direction this year, and it’s not all going to happen overnight but over the next couple of years we want to reinvent the Soundings brand,” Welch said. “What I mean by that is the image of Soundings on campus. In past years we have had great participation from people across campus, but we still have been primarily confined to the English department, and that was never the intent of Soundings to only be a journal for the English department.”
The new direction will not change the substance of the journal, just the “face.”
“I think to say it’s a new beginning … is a little cliché,” Welch said. “I think a refacing or rebranding would be what I describe it as. It is everything you have always loved about Soundings, but now we are trying to push out beyond the borders that it has ever been contained in before.”
The goal for the journal is to reach out to other departments and students across campus.
“By having this Christmas Market and inviting everyone on campus to have a booth, we are really trying to expand and be a campus-wide presence and not just a department-wide presence,” Welch said. “We have so many creative minds across campus. We are really trying to pull all the different departments that might be interested in writing something creative.”
The journal takes multiple entries and is opening two new categories.
“This year we are accepting critical essays – which we have never done before – and we have always allowed creative nonfiction but we have never come out and said that we are accepting creative nonfiction, so that is something new we are advertising this year,” Welch said.
The journal takes entries in a number of categories including, prose, fiction – less than 2,000 words – poetry, art and photography.
A chapbook – a small preview pamphlet– is available to those interested in submitting art or literature to Soundings but are unsure of the requirements for submission.
“All of this information will be available in a chapbook that we are printing and going to be giving out for free at the Christmas market,” Welch said. “The chapbook is a condensed version of Soundings, with several examples of each kind of work that we are looking for just to show people examples of what we would like and include written guidelines of what we will accept and will not accept.”
Soundings is traditionally submitted to the English National Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta, and has typically done well, winning Best Literary Journal in 2007, second place in 2008 and an honorable mention in 2011
To submit to Soundings, email email@example.com and become involved in the new direction the journal is taking.