Colby Ornell ’15 recently published her first creative writing piece, “The Rambler,” in the September edition of the Cobalt Review. The story is about a young girl who follows her loneliness though the desert of Arizona and New Mexico. “It focuses on this girl’s experiences and in a more abstract way … what has caused her to live her life really alone and isolated,” explains Ornell.
Reflecting back on the publication process, Ornell claims it was an interesting experience. Finding journals to submit her work to was time consuming because her piece did not meet the requirements of every magazine and journal. “The Rambler” is a prose piece, it isn’t plot driven, it isn’t your traditional ‘narrative’ storyline, it shifts between the first and second person, and I was very conscientious about that,” said Ornell. She needed to locate the perfect fit for her story: “I wanted to find a quality magazine or journal that would be interested in that type of a short story, because otherwise, it would be a waste of my time and theirs.”
Ornell was not discouraged by the first rejection letter she received. She said, “What matters is that someone did say yes, that’s validation, the no’s don’t matter when someone’s said that. Without that…I’d probably just be really depressed and feel totally incapable.” She had a second piece published in Curbside Splendor’s e-magazine as well. In the biography of the author section, Onell is referred to as a male author. Mistakes like that don’t bother Ornell because her work made it either way.
Ornell encourages other students to put themselves out there by sending out their work. “The best resource for creative writers looking to publish has to be Poets and Writers, pw.org,” cites Ornell. She describes the resource as a non-profit organization that with a full database of literary magazines and journals. Students can search by genre or subgenre and read through full lists of submission requirements for each publication.
After Wheaton, Ornell plans to continue writing. She hopes to be teaching English in Bulgaria with a Fulbright after she graduates. She is also applying to graduate school programs for a Master’s of Fine Arts in fiction writing. Ornell explains, “I’m actually an English lit major, not creative writing. I’ve never even actually taken a class in it. But I plan on writing no matter what and of course, I hope to just continue to have success with it. I’ve been very, very lucky so far.”