Launching Online Opens New Opportunities for Crossings Literary Journal
The Crossings, the student-led literary journal of Bethel College, recently launched online. Its purpose? To cultivate “a community at Bethel College which takes seriously the call to worship God and express ourselves through the creation of a wide variety of beautiful art.”
Since its first publication, The Crossings has undergone many transformations, including moving from spiral notebooks to stapled pamphlets and from black and white to colored pages. Perhaps the biggest renovation came this year when the managing editors decided to move the literary journal online (ceasing all print versions) and to publish monthly rather than annually.
While some of the editorial team had reservations about the switch, Managing Editor Casey Stump, a senior, was eager to take the journal to the web.
“I was confident we could get a better readership,” Stump said. He was right. Because only 75 copies of The Crossings could be published each year, the website quickly transcended the print edition’s limitations. The website has already hooked over 300 unique visitors over a two month period and gained the attention of students, faculty, alumni and other colleges’ campuses.
In the first official issue of the online journal, the editors accepted a poem from an Asbury University student, a move that opened The Crossings to the artistic community at large. To Stump, it was a natural step forward for the website.
“It’s something that most other journals like us do,” Stump says. “We want to cultivate a community that appreciates art. Mostly we want to showcase Bethel, but it’s also valuable to read pieces from students less familiar with Bethel. We want to foster a broader community than the few English and art students on campus.”
The Crossings’ goals are clear, but what constitutes as beauty in any art form is a little more complicated. For Stump, it is more cut-and-dried than you might think.
“I really try to not have a super subjective approach. I don’t just look for pieces I really like, but more pieces that are well-written and well-crafted and well-put together. It’s not as subjective as some people make it out to be.”
To Assistant Professor of Writing Jennifer Ochstein, the faculty advisor for The Crossings, beauty is a broad concept in both art and life.
“I’m not sure that ease has a lot to do with beauty,” Ochstein said. “What I find beautiful are people who struggle with each other, with themselves, and with what it means to be here. That’s reality. In my experience life is complex, ambiguous and dirty. I find that much more appealing to truth. It points toward beauty, and it’s more meaningful because of how messy and dirty my life is and has been.”
Though the editorial team has to juggle these ambiguous concepts, they feel that a need for something like The Crossings is clear.
“It gives people an outlet,” Ochstein says. “Creativity and art can be done well on a Christian campus. We’re all trying to find beauty together.”
To check out the online version of The Crossings, visit thecrossingsjournal.org.
To submit your own work to The Crossings, email firstname.lastname@example.org