Junior Emily Robinson, editor-in-chief of The Onyx, said during her sophomore year, The Onyx was “kind of thrown into my lap.”
Despite being unprepared, she said it was one of the best experiences she’s had at FSU.
She said, “I can’t describe the feeling, to be finally holding the book that started as poems in notebooks, and sketches on class notes. For so long, this has been just a series of Word documents on a computer screen, but now it’s real.”
Robinson, along with Jesse Sanicandro, senior and treasurer, welcomed the group of faculty and students gathered in the Ecumenical Center for the 2017 Onyx Launch Party.
English professors and advisors to The Onyx, Patricia Horvath and Sam Witt, welcomed Robinson to the podium and congratulated her on the outcome of the magazine.
Horvath said, “Emily is never fazed, even all through school, the editorship of The Onyx, her own impressive writing … is inspiring. We are so glad we are going to get to work together with her again next year.”
Students read some of their pieces that were published in the magazine. The Onyx features works of poetry, photography, art and short stories.
Robinson started the readings with her poem, “When Caterpillars Grow.”
She said her piece is about “experiencing a loss and facing it. The poem was written about a loss I experienced a few years ago, and how I learned to cope with grief.”
Senior Maggie McNeill read her poem, “A Conversation About White Walls,” and said it meant a lot to her to have her piece “included with so much wonderful work.”
McNeill said as a psychology major, she has “learned the horrors of mental hospitals in the past.”
She added, “I’m not too sure where it came from. I usually just write and go with whatever comes out.”
Junior and Onyx member, Kayllan Olicio, read her piece, “Magazines.”
She said being published in The Onyx “felt great. It’s such an important part of FSU – it’s more than just a magazine in which students get their work published, but a form of time capsule that reflects what students were feeling at that point in time in their college careers.”
Olicio said the piece came from a creative writing class she took with Professor Evelyn Perry. “It’s a sort of variation of a list poem. I ended up taking words that I saw on women’s magazines … and put them together in that space.”
She said the piece was a “reflection on what women are told, even at a young age, that these are things you should be aspiring to look like, and how outer beauty is portrayed in media.”
Olicio added the piece was a commentary on the societal standards of women’s beauty.
Senior Christina Joseph read her story, “The One Formerly Known as Julia.” Johnson said the piece was her “first published thing, ever,” and thanked the staff for selecting it.
Joseph said the piece came from a prompt from her professor. “I had unresolved feelings about what happened with the person, and I found that writing helped a lot.”
She said the prompt was “to write about a person I knew, and I just let my thoughts and the feelings go.”
Joseph said she was surprised to find out her piece was selected. She said she sees it as “a little story about my life, so for it to be put on display – and for so many people to express how much they liked it – makes me really happy and proud.”
Senior Sarah Lacaire read her piece, “Return.”
She read, “The kingdom of my childhood has lost its grandeur, through no fault of its own / The eyes looking are altered / Perhaps they are the most changed of all.”
She said being published in the magazine was “an incredible experience.” She added the piece was the first work she’d ever submitted and had published. “I honestly was just so honored to be picked among so many worthy submissions.”
Lacaire said, “Everyone who contributed was amazingly talented and I was so happy to be part of it.”
Senior and Onyx member Megan Muise submitted a poem and short story to be published, but did not read them at the event.
She said, “It didn’t really sink in that my work was being validated until after I saw it printed on the page. Then it was a wave of emotions. Like, ‘Oh my God, I’m actually an artist.’ It’s insane.”
[Editor’s note: Emily Robinson, Jesse Sanicandro and Kayllan Olicio are all members of The Gatepost editorial staff.]