Today’s Intern Update features Bri Perks, the Social Networker in Issue 9 of Superstition Review.
After graduating from ASU, Bri went on to work as a Consultant and Course Assistant at ASU where she helped design courses pertaining to Brain Research and Sensation/Perception.
Currently, Bri works as an Instructional Designer at Springfield College where she designs interactive content for college courses—creating templates, building online courses, and writing instructional guides.
We are so proud of you, Bri!
If you’d like to learn more, you can check out Bri’s LinkedIn here.
Before I started as an intern for Superstition Review, I wasn’t aware that most literary magazines and organizations send out biweekly newsletters. As I’ve become more acquainted with the literary scene, I’ve realized just how much information I have been missing. Let’s talk about why newsletters in general are so great.
First of all, newsletters are one of the best resources for compact and relevant literary information. They cover literary news, updates and advice from published authors, upcoming literary events, and articles on a wide range of beneficial writing topics.
Better yet, the information comes to you—delivered right to your inbox. Other sources of information such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Reader are useful, but newsletters allow you to get the information as soon as it is published. Most newsletters are monthly or biweekly, so they won’t ever crowd your inbox.
Most importantly, they’re free! And who doesn’t like free things? Especially free things that help you to become a better writer, be involved in a network with successful authors, and stay up to date in the field.
Over the last few months I have subscribed to over 20 newsletters not only to improve my own writing skills, but also to take advantage of all the beneficial, interesting, and free information. Here are my top 10 newsletters. They are my favorites because they have consistently provided fresh and useful information along with dependable resources.
Earlier this millennium, I learned from my friend Stan about the Esalen Institutea remote 27 acre retreat on the Big Sur coastline between Monterey and San Luis Obispo, California. Digging, I learned that Esalen was founded in 1962 as “an alternative educational center devoted to the exploration of what Aldous Huxley called the ‘human potential’—the world of unrealized human capacities that lies beyond the imagination.” I was intrigued. So in the summer of 2004, I made my first journey to Esalen.
I arrived at Esalen with my friend Stan after driving the better part of a day from Orange County, departing from civilization at San Luis Obispo and another 90 miles of the 2-lane Pacific Coast Highway, California 1. Arriving, I was taken by the striking beauty of theplace. After checking in at the lodge, we found our simple but very comfortable accommodations. After a brief exploration of the grounds, we headed to dinner at the lodge. Esalen’s meals are served camp style and the food is excellent. Meat, dairy, vegetarian, vegan, and raw foods are served at every meal and produce is picked daily from Esalen’s five-acre organic farm.
Stan and I had enrolled in a five-day workshop led by Steven Harper, an eco-psychologist, wilderness guide, author, and artist. At 8:30 p.m. on arrival day, we had our first session, an orientation to the week’s activities and brief explanation of the goals of the workshop. Harper’s work focuses on wild nature as a vehicle for awakening. For the remainder of the week, he took us for practiced meditative walks through four diverse natural areas in Big Sur’s Ventana Wilderness—a deeply satisfying, introspective experience. After 20 or so years in business, I so needed to reconnect with nature and Steve’s workshop was the ideal medium.
Since that first workshop, I have returned to Esalen four more times and each experience has brought new perspectives and opportunities for inward exploration. For instance, a workshop with cultural anthropologist Dr. Angeles Arrien, The Four-Fold Way: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Teacher, Healerutilized Shamanic dreaming techniques and practice that allowed me to reconnect with long forgotten experiences in overcoming personal and professional challenges today.
Another time I came with my wife and young children for a week-long session with Rick Jarrow that helped me change course in my career, providing the impetus for me to return to school. Esalen has a children’s program for seminarians through its Gazebo Park School Early Childhood Programand babysitters are available during evening sessions.
• Writing the Wildled by Marisa Handler, author of Loyal to the Sky, which won a 2008 Nautilus Gold Award for world-changing books. Her essays, journalism, fiction, and poetry have appeared in numerous publications, and she teaches creative writing at Stanford and the California Institute for Integral Studies.
• Framing Nature: Photography as Meditation and Mirror led by Andy Abrahams Wilson, an award-winning filmmaker and photographer. Recent projects include the Academy Award semifinalist Under Our Skin and the PBS broadcast The Grove. His focus is using the camera to create a bridge between ourselves and our environment.
Generally, depending on my level of stress it takes up to two days to melt into the Esalen experience. It is for this reason that I recommend at least a five-day workshop, ideally seven-days with a five-day and a three-day workshop.
Little did I know, my future career began when I was a junior at Arizona State University. I was enrolled as a slightly-disinterested print journalism major in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism – prestigious, I know – with a tourism minor. My goal was to become a travel writer, like those fortunate enough to be sent around the world to extravagant locations, much like the hosts of Travel Channel Shows.
But then I took a class entitled Business and Future of Journalism. Not only was I exposed to the fact that my field of journalism was forecasted – not predicted, forecasted – to be extinct within 30 years, but I also learned that the future of journalism as a whole was quickly moving to the digital realm, something I only used to submit papers or slaughter a few friends in Call of Duty. Having been faced with the very real possibility of graduating college into a dying field, I decided to bite the bullet and enroll myself in an online media course, hoping it would at least move my resume further up in the pile of the eventually unemployed.
I loved my online media class. I went from a person who basically only used the Internet to access Wikipedia to a full-blown web geek. I even took the advanced portion of the course the next semester, learning to design my own webpages and how to make Flash objects. I found myself shifting away from the ideal of being a travel writer (another job that could soon be left hungry) to some sort of multimedia journalist, something I still am pursuing.
I interned with a local radio station’s website, News/Talk 92.3 KTAR. While I spent my time, as many interns do, performing menial site updates, transcribing audio and maybe working on a few press releases, I did get to experience a fair bit of breaking news. At the end of the internship, I inquired about employment, was told there were no openings (I probably shouldn’t have shown up 30 minutes late a few times), but we parted ways amicably.
Fast forward one year. To make ends meet, I was bartending and managing a restaurant that I had worked at since I was 18. But then I got a call from my old boss at KTAR, who was looking for immediate help. I took the job and was moved from a part-time employee to a full-time Web Content Editor at KTAR.com in December 2011, after a year of working poor shifts and bugging my boss daily to bump me up.
Looking back on it, a series of well-taken hints and a leap of faith lead me to my current job, but it’s much more than that. I graduated with honors from a prestigious journalism school. I worked hard to make ends meet and even turned down a few job offers from sites like Yelp! that I knew were not for me. I held out for the job that would allow me to pay the bills, but that would also interest and challenge me.
What I took from everything was this: try everything you can once. Don’t take no for an answer and don’t sell yourself short. The economy and job market are really, really bad right now. You have to fight for every inch. But if you don’t fight for it, no one is sitting by waiting to help. Sometimes you have to make ends meet and there’s no shame in that, but make sure, when you sign that W-2 at the start of your new career, you’re where you want to be and doing what you want to do.
Poetry and culinary magic unite at Pomegranate Café, an Ahwatukee restaurant that focuses on a new way of eating. By “utilizing fresh organic ingredients” to “tempt the palate and create wellbeing,” Pomegranate Café’s ever-expanding menu defies the idea that healthy foods must lack flavor. My experiences at Pomegranate Café have confirmed that health foods are true indulgences, delivering tastes of wondrous vibrancy in every bite. Pomegranate Café is owned by mother-and-daughter pair Cassie Tolman, a former Superstition Review intern, and her mother Marlene Tolman.
Pomegranate Café has a diverse menu, full of wholesome vegan, gluten-free, and raw items. During my dinner there, I had a yummy potato-leek soup with a generous slice of gluten-free pomegranate-chocolate cake. I asked Cassie Tolman about how she conceptualized Pomegranate Café. I asked her if preparing a meal and writing poetry involve a similar process. A meal, she writes, “can be devoured”—perhaps like a poem. While poetry involves rhyme, meter, words, and sounds, the magic in food comes alive when “ordinary things—a bunch of beets, some garlic, a drop of oil, a handful of herbs—all begin to work together with elements like time and heat.” The work of a cook is similar to the work of a poet: the casting of ordinary objects into something that nourishes the soul. Cassie finds ingredients for nourishment in seasonal fruits and vegetables, supporting local farmers, and creates a beautiful meal.
True to form, Pomegranate Café’s chocolate cake was the richest cake I’ve ever had. The pomegranate seeds that top the cake add a bright note of citrus and remind me just how deliciously smooth the cake is—even though it is completely egg and dairy free.
Pomegranate Café truly values food. It’s evident that Cassie and her mother have worked hard to extract wholesome delights out of ordinary ingredients. In a culture of processed foods, where ingredient lists seem endless, the ingredients of Pomegranate’s meals are proudly simple. I am inspired by Cassie’s belief in the transformative power of food. She loves to “create raw vegan dishes because the colors, textures, and flavors remain crisp, bold and beautiful.” I am so excited that she catered Superstition Review’s launch party. Cassie’s love of food is evidenced by Pomegranate Café. It inspires me to experiment in my own kitchen, testing different flavors and textures together—as I’d experiment with different sounds and words as a writer—to craft something delicious, wholesome, and nourishing.
Behind every blog is a blogger. They are the unspoken authors of the internet that filter in a constant stream of news into your RSS Feed. As a Social Networking Coordinator for Superstition Review, Bri Perkins has learned first-hand just how challenging that job can be.
Working with a small team, Bri helps to maintain and write for the SR blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, which can include everything from interviews with esteemed authors to email correspondence to creating the latest trending topic. A resident night-owl, Bri usually can be seen tweeting in the wee hours of the morning or slumped over a keyboard asleep.
Having never really experienced the editorial process and the inner workings of a publication, Perkins applied to Superstition Review in hopes of getting hands-on experience in the literary world. Since then, her taste and exposure to art, literature, and writing has grown exponentially. Now a fan of Tin House and Ploughshares (and of course SR), she has developed a love of fiction and short stories. Her favorite readings range all the way from J.K. Rowling to Flannery O’Connor to the labels on shampoo bottles.
Bri is quickly approaching the finish-line of her undergraduate degree at ASU. Studying the unique combination of English and Psychology, she found she had a passion for the anatomy and physiology of the body, and in particular, the human brain. After graduation, she is planning to take a gap year to travel and read, which will be something new for a girl that has been barely beyond Arizona state borders. She subsequently plans to attend medical school at Midwestern University where she will study to become a doctor of osteopathic medicine, and ultimately, a neurologist or neurosurgeon. Bri hopes to translate the underlying themes of the liberal arts into the science realm in order to take a more well-rounded approach to healthcare.
Bri is 22 years old and is a Glendale, Arizona native. She loves overcast and rainy days, which are a rarity in the Valley of the Sun. She has no children and no husband, but she keeps the company of four very lovable mutts and one very fluffy kitty. Perkins currently works as a technician (also known as a Genius) at Apple fixing iPods, iPhones, Macs and iPads. She also volunteers as a Research Assistant at ASU’s Cognition and Natural Behavior Laboratory where she is studying the effects of shared space on productivity, and the effects of physical interaction on mental faculty and memory. Bri also works as a Psychology and Writing Tutor with the STEM/TRIO program on the ASU West Campus, which focuses its efforts on providing support for first generation and minority students.
Cassie Tolman and her mother Marlene Tolman created Pomegranate Cafe as a space to combine flavor and nutrition in an earth-conscious manner. Opened in 2009, Pomegranate Cafe become a Phoenix hit. Cassie Tolman is a former Superstition Review intern and a graduate of The Natural Gourmet Cookery School. Her mother, Marlene, is a graduate of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute’s Cordon Bleu. You can find out more about Pomegranate Cafe on their website or on their Facebook page. This interview was conducted by current intern Christine Truong.
Superstition Review: What inspired you and your mom to open Pomegranate Cafe?
Cassie Tolman: My mom and I were inspired to open Pomegranate Cafe because we wanted to do something creative and authentic. We also wanted to get to know and nurture our local community. We are both passionate about healthy, organic vegetarian food and recognized that there were not many places in the neighborhood that serve fresh, wholesome food and drinks. My mom had some money that was passed on to her by her grandfather, and she decided that with the instability of the economy, investing in this dream was just as sensible as putting her money into retirement savings or any other investments. My 90-year-old grandmother (we call her the original health nut) also invested in Pomegranate Cafe. Two and a half years ago, we both quit our jobs, took a risk and opened Pomegranate Cafe in Ahwatukee.
SR: How has your interest in poetry and literature translated over to the conceptualizing of the restaurant?
CT: My interest in poetry and literature helped me conceptualize Pomegranate Cafe by supporting the idea that ordinary, everyday work can lead to magic. Opening Pomegranate Cafe has been transformative. Through lots of hard work and practice, what was once an empty, abandoned wine bar in a strip mall is now a bustling, thriving, vibrant cafe!
SR: What are some of your favorite dishes to prepare and why do you prepare them?
CT: I do not have a single favorite dish to prepare. Rather, I prefer to experiment and almost never cook the same thing twice. My favorite way of preparing a meal is to start with fresh, seasonal, local ingredients. From here I am inspired by the people I am cooking for and the ingredients I have in my kitchen. I love to create raw vegan dishes because the colors, textures and flavors remain crisp, bold and beautiful.
SR: Do you think that preparing food and writing poetry involve, in some ways, a similar process?
CT: Preparing a meal and writing poetry do involve similar processes. The cook and the poet are both resourceful. We use what we have on hand, what happens to be in the cupboard or fresh from the garden today. With our hands, practiced technique, a few tools and a little magic, we create a meal (or a poem) that can be devoured. The magic comes into play when ordinary things – a bunch of beets, some garlic, a drop of oil, a handful of herbs / a single image, a memory, a string of words – all begin to work together with elements like time and heat. And somewhere in the process of hand and cutting board, stove and knife, pencil and paper, washing, chopping and mixing – a transformation occurs. The ingredients that were there in the cupboards, or the words that were under your pillow while you slept, are now coming together in the pot or on the page to form something new. Hopefully something to be eaten, savored, read, remembered.
SR: What are some things you like to do in your spare time?
CT: Spare time is almost non-existent since opening the cafe! Whenever I can steal a moment, I do still love to read…
Each week we will be featuring one of our many talented interns here at Superstition Review.
Kimberley Hutchinson is one of the Poetry Editors for Issue 9 of Superstition Review. Kimberley is currently a Junior at Barrett, the honors college at Arizona State University and is pursuing degrees in Creative Writing and Women/Gender Studies, as well as a minor in Anthropology. A native of Tucson, Arizona, Kimberley will likely be returning to southern Arizona after graduating in the winter of 2013.
A self-described bookworm, Kimberley has a long list of books she’d rather not have to live without, although at this time she is most interested in dystopian novels and short stories. She is particularly interested in how literature applies to the real world and why certain pieces of writing become popular or canonized. Presently, Kimberley is experimenting with the idea that fiction – especially dystopian fiction – becomes most popular when it is most relevant to the reader. That is not to say that the events portrayed in the book are true, but that the events and situations resonate with the reader because they parallel contemporary discussions and debates. As a result, Kimberley is presently enrolled in several classes which examine critical perspectives on various works of popular fiction.
This interest has been coloring her own writing. While Kimberley has previously had poetry published in Marooned, she has recently turned her attention to strengthening her short story writing abilities. Working with Superstition Review is helping Kimberley to recognize in her own work where her weaknesses lie.
If asked to pick a single book as her “favorite,” Kimberley would presently answer World War Z, although that is likely to change soon, as no title holds that position particularly long in the life of an avid reader.