Catch up on Chapters 1 and 2 from the last couple weeks and read on!
Nothing outrageous or flashy this week, we will be sending y’all off into the jaws of spring break with a pleasant and audibly delightful performance by Dustin Lowman.
Come by for some post-patty’s day partying, some sweet wavering tunes, and the long awaited return of Middlebury’s very own Tallest MC On Earth.
When: 9 PM Tonight
Where: Gamut Room
Whether we (talking to you, 2015/2015.5) like it or not, it’s senior spring, aka it’s almost over, aka we need post-grad plans stat. To those of you with a job or alternative plans on lockdown, snaps for you. And to the rest of us: it’s crunch time. But, if you’re still in search mode, don’t fret, we’ve got a lead. Carter Makin ’15, intern at the Middlebury Programs for Creativity and Innovation Center writes in to tell us about an available professional opportunity here in Middlebury: become a Post-Graduate Presidential Fellow in Innovation! Sound’s like a sweet position, and if the separation-anxiety’s got you stressin’, what better option than to stick around for another year? Read up on Carter’s description below:
The Post-Graduate Presidential Fellow in Innovation position will be filled by a recent graduate and selected by the president of Middlebury. The fellow will provide full-time support to the Fund for Innovation (FFI). This is a one-year term position that with approval may be extended up to 3 years. The fellow will report to the president.
The job will begin April 1 as a part-time position (up to 10 hours/week) if it is filled by a current student scheduled to graduate this May, or full-time (from April 1) for those who completed their Middlebury education in February. For May graduates, full-time work will begin June 15. There is flexibility surrounding the start date.
The fellow’s responsibilities will include:
- Maintenance of the FFI website
- Assists in engaging students, faculty, and staff about the FFI, and encouraging proposals from across the institution (the undergraduate college, Institute, Language Schools, Schools Abroad, School of English, School of the Environment)
- Secretary to and support for all meetings and Fund Advisory Committee deliberations (emails and in-person meetings)
- Proposal categorization, logging, and communications with inquirers and applicants
- Input and support in the selection process to ensure timely decisions
- Enabling transparency in all FFI processes
- Authoring summaries of proposals and posting results of the selection processes
- Ensuring necessary follow-up, feedback, and networking to and among applicants and grantees
- Support data collection, record-keeping, and trend analyses that will be conducted on the Fund and its grantees with the guidance of Office of Planning and Assessment
- Other assignments related to the FFI and innovation initiatives
- Graduate of the college (February 2015 or anticipated May 2015)
- Ability and willingness to work independently and collaboratively
- Excellent written and oral communication skills
- Able to work within tight deadlines
- Proven track record of engaging students, faculty, and staff outside one’s social and intellectual comfort zone
Hourly Wage $18.36 (annualized $37,000) + benefits for a full-time appointment. If a current student is hired in a part-time status benefits will be offered once the position transitions to full-time (post-graduation).
If you are interested in applying for the President Fellow in Innovation, please send an email to Ron Liebowitz ([email protected]) by March 25th a letter that includes:
- your graduating date (February 2015 or May 2015—anticipated)
- the courses you have taken that you think are relevant to this position
- two faculty/staff references
- why you think you would be successful in this particular position
- how you would help attain the goals of the FFI
- any other information you wish to provide
“STORYTOLD: Your Stories. Our Words”
Perhaps you’ve heard this tagline, perhaps you haven’t. Either way, it catches your eye on first glance, and combined with an awesome logo (see above) makes you pretty damn curious about the new-ish student org “Storytold.”
At Middlebury, we’re always telling stories — how we got here, what we want to do with our lives, how to deal with living in an arctic tundra, why we’re in love with a Proctor Crush we’ve never met, how to cure cancer, you get the picture. Think about it: whenever we chat with friends, family, or ourselves we’re constantly creating narratives to describe our lives and the world around us. In this sense, stories consume our conscious and unconscious minds all day every day — and to my fellow lit majors/lovers, well, good luck to you and the Red Sox.
Point is, we tell and listen to stories to survive: it’s a human instinct, and we undoubtedly enjoy the process. However, among the crazy hustle that is Middlebury College we rarely have the time or motivation to get those stories on paper (or a Word Doc, sigh). Thankfully, that’s where Storytold comes in.
Storytold is “a serial, personalized fiction service for anyone who has struggled to find a certain kind of book or story, for anyone who has ever thought, “I wish someone would write about…” Basically, it’s a group of super creative, writing-inclined students here to make us happy, tell our stories, and let us read them: to “make our dreams a reality,” nonetheless. It’s like Seamless for stories except free and better. What more could we ask?
Storytold started up this year, and has hit the ground running. Because this kind of thing has a tendency to get a bit “niche-y,” we story-lovers at middbeat decided it’s crucial to spread the word on Storytold a bit wider. We’ve interviewed Storytold co-founder Ben Mansky ’15, and we’re excited to give you the scoop. Read up below, request a story here, and if you’re interested, join the Storytold team! They’re always looking for writers, designers, illustrators, and other interested persons, and feel free to show up to their weekly meeting, held each Wednesday at 9:15 PM in Chateau 107! Also check out Storytold on Twitter (@storytold1), Facebook, and at their website (go/storytold), it’s really cool, .
MB: So, simply said, what is Storytold?
BM: At its simplest, Storytold is a personalized, serial fiction service. What does that actually mean? It means that people ask us for stories, and we deliver. Like, we literally deliver the specific stories they ask for to their mailboxes in a series of hard-copy installments.
MB: Where did the idea and inspiration for Storytold come from?
BM: It was the natural conclusion of years and years of geeking out over the ridiculous variety of ways people have managed to construct a piece of fiction. Inspiration came from so many different sources, expected and unexpected. On the expected end, there’s an endless number of books, the indie video game industry, choose-your-own-adventures, and new interactive and alternative fiction platforms including Twine, Inform, and StoryNexus. On the less expected side of things, it came from food. I was working on a design for a fast food restaurant, and the idea of prepackaged vs. made-to-order had been stewing in my mind for a little while. Somehow, I made the leap to fiction. I figured books are currently served pre-packaged, but there’s no reason they couldn’t be made-to-order.
MB: Who’s in charge of Storytold, and how is it run? Who’s writing these stories?
BM: I suppose I’m in charge (along with help from our treasurer), though our writers do most of the work. Now that we’re officially a student org, we’ll be electing a third co-president for next semester. The group meets each week to check up on story progress, bounce around ideas on individual installments, do some peer editing and package pieces for delivery. Stories are delivered every other week so as to give the writers plenty of time to produce quality content while allowing our clients plenty of time to read. The stories are written by a group of approximately six or seven students who are passionate about storytelling, with a wide range in terms of year, major, and prior experience–we even have a couple of alumni on board!
MB: How long has Storytold been in the works?
BM: Fall 2013, Storytold was officially founded as a project at the Old Stone Mill. Still in its earliest stages, it was little more than an okay-looking WordPress site that received a tiny bit of attention from a small handful of friends and a couple interested students. At that point, it was mostly about figuring out how the system would actually work, and after we took our first few requests in spring of last year, it became clear that we would need more than two, three people to make this actually happen. Over the summer I switched to a different web platform, which allowed me to totally revamp the website to make our system clearer and more accessible.
MB: Will you take any story idea? What are the boundaries?
BM: We will take anything within reason! Our basic boundaries are built into the request form: only two out of a handful of genres can be applied, and it can’t run any longer than ten installments. We’re committed to giving our clients the stories they want, so unless a request seems terribly offensive, we will accept it. If it does seem offensive, we put it up to a vote among our writers. If it passes, it’s published, and if it doesn’t, it isn’t. If one of our writers is still willing to take it, that’s up to them. And if a request is just too ridiculous for us to accommodate, we’ll get in touch with the client and work with them to figure something out–but I don’t anticipate that being a problem!
MB: What’s the craziest story request you’ve received?
BM: It really depends on what you mean by “crazy.” We’ve had a couple of extremely specific requests, including one that required at least two “that’s what she said” jokes and a Spice Girls reference. In terms of something you won’t find on the shelves of bookstores, we’ve had a request for a story featuring a trans-identifying (female to male) princess (or prince, rather) who lives in a land where people occasionally turn out to be shapeshifters. We’ve also had some unusual requests on the other side of the spectrum, like the one that was just a couple lines of song lyrics.
MB: How do you go about matching a story to a writer?
BM: It’s largely personal choice combined with coincidence. Our writers see all the new requests at each weekly meeting, and stories are assigned based on who would prefer to write what. If a writer is already working on a story, she won’t be assigned a second one, but if she really, really wants to write a particular request, she can hand off a story to another available writer. In cases of story-swapping, we do our best to keep voice and style as consistent as possible.
MB: What’s been the most fulfilling part of Storytold so far? And what’s been the biggest challenge?
BM: The most fulfilling part has definitely been people’s reactions once they understand how the service works. There’s obviously some initial confusion with a service as uncommon as this, but when people realize the potential it has for the way people read and the way people view fiction, there’s this air of excitement that’s particularly contagious. Reactions have been overwhelmingly positive, and really, it’s extremely validating to see that I’m not the only one who thinks that personalized fiction is an avenue worth investigating.
We’re still a burgeoning student organization, and our biggest challenge has been staying on top of our bi-weekly installment schedule. We’re trying to amp up our recruitment efforts so that we’ll have writers to fill in if any one of us gets too busy to finish a particular installment, but as it is, we mostly just rely on our clients to be understanding with us and our crazy schedules. After all, we’re students too.
MB: What are your hopes for the future development of Storytold?
BM: I have high hopes for Storytold, and I think the potential for growth is nearly endless. In the short term, I’d love to see more writers getting involved, more stories being requested, more content being produced, more media being explored. As we’re now a student org (and able to host events), I’d like to hold monthly or bi-monthly write-ins for anyone who wants to just come hang out, snack, brainstorm, and write creatively. Eventually, we’ll produce a hard-copy publication containing the completed stories that appear on our website and perhaps a few that don’t appear anywhere else. If we are successful in our on-campus endeavors, there’s no reason this service can’t expand to encompass a significantly wider area. After all, if you can receive mail, you can receive a story. And if you can receive a story, you can have whatever experience you’d like with just a little imagination.
Middbeat wants to send a sincere thank you to Ben Mansky ’15 for taking the time to explain the in’s and out’s of Storytold to us! It sounds like a fantastic organization, and we encourage everyone to participate! Tell on.
The Translingual submissions deadline is this Friday (3/20)! Make sure to send in those poems, stories, photos, and whatever else you’ve got to [email protected] before it’s too late — more info can be found at go/translingual.
Curious about what your future has in store for you? Afraid of adults who ask about your career plans? Want to meet like-minded underclassmen? Come to Axinn today to learn the ins and outs of selling yourself with the Oratory Society. Should no doubt be a good pre-break prep for those of us who don’t have our summers figured out.
“Class of 2017 and 2017.5! You never know who you’ll meet over spring break that can help you find that perfect internship or connect you to the right person. Come use this workshop as an opportunity to practice what you’ll say!“
Date: Today 3/18
Time: 4:30 pm
Place: Axinn 103
In a recent study, it was found that while Greeks have the most sex, Japanese have the least. While this fact could be completely irrelevant to today’s lecture, “The Survival of the Author: Ghosts and Nonhuman Actors in Natsume Soseki and Henry James,” point is sexuality is not frequently talked about with regards to Japanese culture, so we’ve got a unique opportunity to learn about it today. At 4:30, J. Keith Vincent, Assoc. Professor of Japanese Comparative Literature at Boston University will be give a talk on “Queer Reading and Japanese Literature: Natsume Soseki and Henry James,” and we think it’ll be really cool.
Date: Today, 3/18
Place: Robert A. Jones House Conference Room
This almost goes without saying, but a lot of us are in need of a serious study break these days. Can’t wait for spring break? Come see Middlebrow perform with two new members (assumption: they’re the two larger ice cream toppings)! Put down that Bio text book and have a good laugh– it’ll help you in the long run!
Date: Today, March 18th
Time: 10:30 PM
Place: Pearsons Lounge
The Department of the History of Art and Architecture will be hosting Robert Slifkin, Associate Profesor of Fine Arts at NYU, to discuss the burgeoning role of space as an artistic medium in the mid- 20th century. Slifkin’s scholarship focuses primarily on post WWII art in the United States and how it mimicked drastic changes in American culture. Today’s lecture, The Empty Room and the End of Man, will focus on the importance of space in American art in the ’60s an ’70s and the growing role of the gallery as an integral part of the artistic fabric of an exhibit.
Date: Today, March 17
Time: 4:30- 5:30pm
Place: CFA 125