Behind the Ink: The Mechanics of Inkblot

by Miranda C.

With the arrival of Ms. Hoppie, an English teacher at Duxbury High School, the rebirth of Inkblot, the Duxbury Literary Magazine, quickly followed. Having been a club before, Inkblot had dwindled down and all but disappeared from the co curriculars offered at the DHS. However, Ms. Hoppie, and later Ms. Sergi, also an English teacher, took the leap and restarted the club within school just last year during the pandemic. 

When talking of her motivation, Ms. Hoppie said she was inspired by her own high school. 

“We had an amazing literary magazine. When it came to Duxbury, I felt that the sort of the celebratory nature of literature and creative writing, and what our students churn out; that was missing. So I wanted to kind of bring to Duxbury what I had experienced during my time at high school.” 

She also felt Inkblot benefitted student writers and artists.

 “It’s just great that students can see their work published. I think there is something in seeing your own words on the written page.” 

As a result of her drive, Inkblot is now among the ranks of co curriculars that Duxbury High School students can join. With a varying number of students throughout the year, ranging from five to twelve due to sport seasons’ schedules, Inkblot has been going steady since its revival last year. The club itself follows an ebb and flow of activities. It first starts with fundraising, usually a bake sale, in order for the club to have enough money to print and format the literary magazine, then they begin the collection process in which any student in DHS can submit, including those belonging to the club, and begin to grade the submissions. In this process, names are blacked off and the student members read through the writing and give each piece a number of 1-5. Five indicates a submission will definitely make it into the journal, four indicating that a submission will probably make it into the journal, and so on. 

After this process is finished, the students will also check through submissions, if writing, for grammatical or spelling errors and, if any significant changes are needed like shortening, then members t will reach out to the person who submitted. Once editing is accomplished, the club will move on to selecting what pieces go with which in order for the submission to compliment each other. All these ideas are then transferred to Canva, the software Inkblot uses to format their magazine. Students add their own touches during this part and express their creativity. They connect written work to photos and drawings, and can decorate and embellish the journal to fit with the submissions. 

Once the journal has been put together, they send the draft to an outside vendor to print the journal. Given that the amount paid is determined by page and whether it has color, the Inkblot club has to think carefully about both the amount they print and how much color they can have within the journal. 

Ms. Hoppie commented. “We have a lot of fun together creating this masterpiece during our meetings.”

Of course, this would be possible without the help of the two faculty advisors of Inkblot, Ms. Hoppie and Ms. Sergi who joined this year. Their job within Inkblot is varied. Ms. Sergi talks of how they act as guides for the students, “It’s really having the students come up with the agenda, helping them to really take ownership of the club.” However, the teachers have their own share of responsibilities, as faculty advisors they answer emails, make the folders of work for the students to look through, and assure that the bakesale runs smoothly. 

From the student perspective, Inkblot has also made a difference. Sophomore Ella E., an editor within the club, talked about why she enjoys Inkblot. 

I love getting to be very hands on in observing everyone’s talent and art. It’s also a very fun environment. I love to be a part of creating something so fun and cool that showcases the art and writing of Duxbury High School.” 

Ella E. also mentioned another aspect of Inkblot, chief editors. Chief editors are most often seniors who show enthusiasm and a desire for a leadership role. They write the mission statement of Inkblot and generally decisions have to be made with their approval. The current chief editors of Inkblot are senior Mackenzie P. and senior Julia R. 

However, it isn’t just the people within the Inkblot that have been affected by the club’s revival. Students of DHS also love the new opportunities and creativity that Inkblot has brought to the school. 

Sophomore Lina S., an avid submitter to Inkblot, shared her own view on the literary magazine. 

“ I feel like I belong. Literally. I have somewhere to let people see a side of me I don’t show to the world.” 

Lina especially loves one aspect of Inkblot. 

 “On one page, there can be one person’s artwork and one person’s writing, and they end up connecting to each other.” 

And for those who might be thinking of submitting to Inkblot, Lina offers these wise words, “Go for it! Even if you want it to be anonymous. Any art is going to be beautiful because it comes from your soul. Even if it’s anonymous, it can move people.”

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