Welcome to our new Literary Mama blog series: Craft Talks. In this bi-monthly post, we’ll have a mini-interview with our own editors about craft, what they look for in submissions, and all things writing.
Today, I talked with Christina Consolino, Senior Editor at Literary Mama. She told me about her journey from science to written word, the impact of time, and the importance of a good story.
1. Tell us about yourself and your position at Literary Mama.
I’m a scientist who ignored the lure of writing and editing for far too long. But once I committed myself, I didn’t look back. Now, instead of teaching science (which I did for close to twenty years), I lead writing classes and freelance edit and proofread. I’m very active in the Dayton-area writing communities and try to give back as much as I reaped from those who generously shared their talents with me. I joined Literary Mama in January 2014, and since that time, I’ve served as profiles editor, interim fiction editorial assistant, and senior editor. When I’m not writing or editing, I’m usually reading, running, or spending time with my family, which includes my husband (another scientist), four children, and several pets. My debut novel is coming out in March 2021, which I mention because I want writers to know that if I can realize my dream, they can too.
2. Is there a passage, sentence, or line of a poem that you absolutely adore? Why is it so good?
A friend recently reminded me of Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, one of my all-time favorite books for a variety of reasons. In it, Francie Nolan prays to God and says,
Let me be something every minute of every hour of my life . . . And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.
When I was younger, this quote resonated in a slightly different way than it does now. But every time I read it, I’m reminded of the fleeting nature of time, how quickly life can change, and how important it is to me to make as much of a positive impact as I can in my time here on Earth. If everyone tried to be “something every minute of every hour,” I think the world would be a better place.
3. What do you look for in submissions? What type of writing grabs your attention?
My penchant for fiction might be the reason for this view, but every piece—whether it be creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, etc.—should tell a story. Granted, the story told by an interview or book review will look different than that told by a piece of fiction or poetry, but I like to see that story unfold, regardless of genre. In profiles, fresh questions that dig into the heart of the author’s work or perspective interest me, and in literary reflections and creative nonfiction, I like to see self-reflection in light of events and reactions. Honesty and truth stand out across all genres, in my opinion, and vivid imagery is welcome, especially in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.
Read something you liked? Let us know in the comments!