Assistant Nonfiction Editor Vipra Ghimire discusses the Eckleburg family, what she is looking for in submissions, and how her writing practice is a psychological salvation.
Q) How did you learn about/become involved with Eckleburg?
Vipra Ghimire: I took a class with Rae Bryant (Editor-in-Chief of Eckleburg) my first semester in the MA in Writing Program at the Johns Hopkins University. I wanted to take her class, because it promised to teach me everything I ever wanted to know about literary magazines and writing. And, the class was AWESOME. Rae exposed us to a variety of magazines – traditional and avant-garde – as well as various styles of writing. The class met primarily online, but the set up of this course lent itself to creativity and personal development. I vividly remember mentioning to Rae that I was hesitant about the style I’d chosen for a piece I’d written for her class. She said something like: go with it until you decide if it’s for you or not…maybe something great will come of it. Man. What a great teacher. I knew that I would want to help her if I could.
Q) What genre do you edit/what role do you have?
VG: I work with a gifted writer and editor: Chelsey Clammer. I’ve only worked with her for a few months, and she’s already taught me so much about good writing and editing. In many ways, Chelsey and Rae are similar in their approach to writing and mentoring: they are open to creativity as long as the writing is damn good. I do the best I can to help Chelsey work with various non-fiction pieces, including reading the submissions that come in.
Q) What are you looking for in submissions?
VG: I am looking for pieces that reveal something brutally honest about the soul of the writer, and timelessness about the story. I read every submission I come across at least twice to make sure that I really like it or don’t. I am a sucker for a good story, though. If it’s written well – no clichés, has a voice that’s grounded and can stand the test of various days of reading – then, I’m hooked.
Q) What have been one or two of your favorite pieces you have seen in Eckleburg so far?
VG: I love them all – from the interviews with the artists to pieces about teaching those who prefer to cheat. Really. I’m not withholding.
Q) What are some publications you have/accomplishments you want to share?
VG: My background is in public health. I’ve had a few publications in my discipline. My accomplishments are many, but I’m not one to talk about them. I’m most happy when I’m helping folks.
Q) How do you approach writing?
VG: Writing is my psychological salvation. Sometimes, this means that I don’t yell at folks. Other times, it means that it sustains my happiness.
When I sit down to write, I’ve got to be excited about my topic and must have spent a few days (or weeks) thinking about the subject of my piece. It took me two weeks to answer these interview questions: I had to think about the writing, not the questions. It’s strange, I know. Writing doesn’t come easily, and when it does, I quickly become paranoid that the words will be too simple and lame.
Q) In 5 words or less, describe what kind of a journal you think Eckleburg is.
VG: Politically charged and literary honest
Q) Any other promotion/interesting fact/random tid bit you want to share?
VG: I laugh easily. I love That 70s Show. And, I’m a total goofball.
Vipra Ghimire is a student at the Johns Hopkins University’s MA in Writing Program. She has an MPH, and her interests in writing and health care range from felines to tuberculosis. Originally from Kathmandu, Nepal, she’s lived in the US since 1980. Her passion is literature, feminism, animal rights, politics, music, and art. The vast world sometimes frightens her. However, she laughs easily and has been known to say and do many nonsensical things.