Annual ‘Eclipse’ Shines Light on Creative Writing

El Vaquero Staff Writer

In 1990, GCC English professor Bart Edelman was commissioned by the college to continue and edit the school’s literary journal, which published the works of fiction and poetry of the students: naming it the Eclipse.

“I like the idea of light and dark, of what you can and cannot see,” said Edelman in his explanation of Eclipse as the title of the journal.
The Eclipse receives manuscripts of fiction, drama and poetry from many parts of the world, yet only publishes an average of 1 to 2 percent of all outside submissions. The students of GCC are to a greater advantage, as 20 percent of the journal is devoted to them.

The goal is to “publish the most provocative journal we can, to get more students involved and published and to bring the spotlight and prestige to the college,” said Edelman.

In 2000 the Eclipse began to publish writers outside of GCC, extending the possibility of publication to whoever would send a manuscript and expanding the range of works presented.

“We want to expose students to other writers who have been published,” Edelman said, as to why the choice was made to incorporate writers outside of GCC. In annual release, the journal has been funded by the ASGCC, the Professional Development Center and by private contibutions.

The compiling of the journal is a year-long process, during which submissions are accepted months before the pending journal’s release in August.

The criteria for the publication of students is different than that of outside writers, taking into account the greater degree of experience by professionals along with volume of received works, producing a highly selective journal.

The method of selection is weighted toward literary merit, composition and style, judged by Edelman and the Eclipse staff. “On the fiction, what happens is that it gets read,” said Edelman. “If somebody likes it, it gets sent to another reader, if that reader likes it, it gets sent to me,” he said.

The Eclipse seeks to be a literary journal of relevance, publishing modern writing as well as the traditional.

“We won’t shy away from four letter words…as long as there is a reason for it. It’s all got to be good writing,” said Edelman. “It should be fresh and tell us something about the human condition.”
The importance of the journal is that it allows the work of the students of GCC to be recognized alongside the work of published, and in some cases, award-winning writers.

Submissions can be brought to professor Edelman at his office in LB216, in the form of a paper copy, or can be mailed in.

As for the future of the journal, “We hope that the Eclipse will endure and we hope that we will get even more students publishing their works,” said Edelman.

Newly published for the fall of 2004 is volume 15 of the journal. It can be purchased at the GCC bookstore, via mail order and at many bookstores across the nation.