Fall Driftwood Submissions Close But It’s Not Too Late To Get Involved

Forty years of “Driftwood” Journal paper copies on a Bond Academic Center bookshelf. Photo credit to Anna Novelo.

“Driftwood” is a blend of student creative art expressions at Point Loma Nazarene University, serving as a creative literary journal, workshop class and club. 

The publication is designed, edited and sold by a fully student-run staff for the PLNU community, which extends to students, alumni, faculty, staff, administrators, family members and fellow San Diego neighbors.

Every fall semester, PLNU community members submit their best fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art, photography, music and film in hopes of being awarded a spot in the creative literary journal, as well as a chance at a cash prize. In the spring, “Driftwood” staff sell copies of the print journal and host an awards party. 

Katie Manning, PLNU writing professor and “Driftwood” faculty advisor, is the author of six poetry chapbooks. Her first full-length poetry collection, “Tasty Other,” won the 2016 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award. In serving as the faculty advisor, she said that she loves how  “Driftwood” provides  creative opportunities to students from all over campus.

“Students from a wide range of majors have their own creative work published, many for the first time ever, alongside alumni and faculty, and the students on the staff learn how to work through every step of the publication process to create each issue,” said Manning. 

For students interested in exploring the creative literary world, the journal’s one-unit workshop class at PLNU offers a place to do that. Students assist the editing team with reading submissions and collaborate on marketing and promoting the journal.

“I enjoy being on staff through the workshop class. I’ve met a lot of creatives there who enjoy writing and art like me. The class is a nice moment to breathe, brew a cup of tea and review student submissions we received for ‘Driftwood’ journal,” said third-year writing major Rachel Lemmen. 

Co-editor of “Driftwood,” Jordan Stokes, third year writing major, first got involved with the journal by being a part of the class workshop and has since transitioned to leading the staff. 

“I got involved with ‘Driftwood’ in my sophomore year through the workshop class, as a member of staff, but this year is my first year of being co-editor. Now my role includes ‘leading’ the staff, along with my amazing co-editor, Aliah Fabros, and making the final calls for journal submissions,” said Stokes. “We also work closely with our layout editor, Kylie Silkwood, throughout the semester to make sure the journal is up to speed on how it should look for the spring.” 

Students taking the class expressed the welcoming atmosphere they felt when joining the “Driftwood” team. Third-year writing major Sofia Lo Piano is in her first year of working on the “Driftwood” staff. She recommends it to anyone interested in working in the creative writing and/or magazine editing and design process. 

“We drink tea and talk about art and what goes into a creative magazine. It’s such a joy to read submissions and see the amazing pieces that PLNU students have created. Besides getting to be a part of the review process, my favorite part of being in ‘Driftwood’ is the space and comfort of being there. It feels like home,” said Piano.

Students can also get involved by attending one of their monthly club meetups, known as their creative series (Open Mic Night) held at the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC). Their next event is scheduled for Nov. 15 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. 

Open to the entire student body, attendees are invited to share their original or unoriginal work, or listen to others share. Awarded artists featured in the journal are given the opportunity to share their work first and then the floor is opened to any students, alumni or faculty. 

For those looking to submit their work in the future, Stokes said it’s important to be clear on submission details, such as genre, type of work being submitted and a short bio about themself. 

“After you submit, we’ll have a reading period for the rest of the semester before deciding what exactly to put in the journal,” said Stokes. “Really, we look for all kinds of work. We accept poetry, fiction, nonfiction, photography, music, visual art, film — if it’s creative it’s probably been in ‘Driftwood.’”

Specific submission guidelines are all listed in the submission link posted on their myPLNU app page. Stokes emphasized that even though it asks for your name on the form submission, entries themselves should not have any names, as selections for the journal are decided upon anonymously. 

There is no particular theme or style of creative work published by “Driftwood,” as they accept a variety of creative work. But, according to Stokes, their past submissions have included mostly photography and poetry. 

“It’s super exciting to see music and film get submitted to ‘Driftwood’ because I feel many people wouldn’t expect those to be included in a literary journal. What makes ‘Driftwood’ so fun to be a part of is that there is such a variety in what gets published,” said Stokes. 

Those looking to submit to the journal, but feel hesitant, Stokes advises not to overthink the process. 

“Do it. Don’t think too hard, just do it. You absolutely do not need to be a seasoned writer or artist to submit,” said Stokes. “I submitted for the first time last year and I was so intimidated and nervous about how my work would be received. But the only way I’m able to grow as a writer is to have it read and perceived even if that’s a super scary feeling. I promise you won’t regret trying.”

The co-editor recognized that due to the unique structure of“Driftwood”, there is sometimes confusion about what it is. 

Much like a piece of driftwood is weathered by many factors, “Driftwood” is a diverse and eclectic compilation created collectively. 

‘Driftwood’ has been going on for several decades now, and it feels really cool to be part of such a long-standing student tradition at PLNU,” said Manning. “It’s so impressive that a student-run publication like ‘Driftwood’ is consistently made with such high quality and that it includes a variety of creative arts in addition to writing. As a club/class and as a creative arts journal, ‘Driftwood’ is really something special that goes far above and beyond the typical college literary magazine.”

Their new edition is set to be published in spring 2024. 

To learn more about the club, visit their club page on the myPLNU app, which is also where the submission link can be found. Their Instagram page can also be found at @driftwoodplnu