Thursday Mar 30

When Ken approached me last semester and asked if I would be interested in taking a course where I would have the opportunity to work on his online magazine, I was thrilled. I jumped at the opportunity and enrolled in his class for the Spring 2011 semester, my final semester as an undergraduate student at Waynesburg University.
Ever since I was little girl, I’ve loved to read and write. I love words. And I felt like this was the perfect opportunity to express my love of the English language. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into, but when Ken asked the class to appoint an editor, I knew that this was something I was made to do. I also thought this could be a sort of senior capstone experience. So here it is. Here is the project that I, along with my 10 other fellow students have worked on for the past four months.
It hasn’t been easy. There were definitely a few times when I wondered what I had gotten myself into. But I’m glad I did it. I’m a journalist, so I love to see my name accompanying the work I’ve done. It makes me feel good, because I know that I am trying my best to live up to the name my parents gave me. Now, my name will be associated with one more project that I can look back on for years to come, and it’s an amazing feeling. But what makes it so amazing to me, is the fact that I feel like I’m bringing some good into the world. I truly believe, that if we didn’t have art, the world wouldn’t survive. As someone who has had much experience with stress, I understand what great literature can do. Great literature can take you places you never dreamed. Great literature can give you hope. Great literature can make a rainy day just a little warmer, even brighter. And I know, because I’ve experienced it first hand.
Our featured artist is Dr. Bob Randolph. I’ve had the pleasure to take two of Dr. Bob’s courses while a student at Waynesburg University. I believe that he’s a brilliant man who has done a lot for this world and I think it’s a better place because of him. I’m happy to publish his work this month and I know you’ll enjoy it.
Casey Zell, Emile Khoury, Alan Jaskiewicz and Rob Griffith produced a documentary  featuring avant-garde designer MJ Whalen and her fashion show at Whim nightclub in Pittsburgh. I’m proud of the amount of time these four put into the project. The quality speaks for itself. You will definitely enjoy watching this.
Cassie Fox, our poetry editor, has some amazing artists featured in her column, including some who are just starting out and others who have been in the writing business for a while. Enjoy poetry from Michael Blumenthal, Matthew London, Steve Shilling, Martin Cockroft, and Ken Nicholson.
Matti Miller, our fiction editor, also has some top-notch pieces for enjoyment. Len Kuntz makes a second appearance in Connotation Press with some flash fiction work. Jonnell Liebl and Britt Saunders are both undergraduate students who will have their work published in the magazine for the first time.
Jordan Merenick, our creative nonfiction editor has a number of contributors, including Jill Moyer Sunday, who is a professor at Waynesburg University. Sarah Hulyk and Jessie Carty, whose work has appeared in Connotation Press before, will also be featured this month, along with Renee Wiltrout. Jonnell Liebl, whose work appears in the fiction column, will also be featured here.
Kyle Cogar will be providing you with some reviews, including his own analysis of the media. His column also features Waynesburg University Professor Dr. Joonna Smitherman Trapp and undergraduate student, Sarah Wheeler.
Lauren Rearick and Emily Ellis added a unique spin to our project by providing us with some reviews of music groups and venues.
Because I am graduating on May 15 I’m not too upset that the stress of this project is now behind me. However, I’ve benefited from watching this all come together, and I hope you like what we have presented here. Although one chapter in my book is closing, another one is about to open up. I’m not too sure what I’m going to be doing on May 16, and though my life may be a little chaotic right now, it sure is exciting. But art makes my life more exciting and I’m glad we have it. So let’s appreciate what we have and be sure not to take it for granted. Enjoy!

Natalie Bruzda is a 22-year-old. And because she is about to graduate, she’s not quite sure what title should attach to her name.  [UPDATE!] Natalie has since been hired as a journalist by The Punxsutawney Spirit in Punxsutawney, PA!