Whether your family has lived here for generations or you’re a summers-only visitor, chances are you have a story to tell about this place, what it means to you, or what you imagine could happen here. Local writers Bethany Snyder and Alex Andrasik want to hear those stories. Together, they’re launching a Yates County-based literary magazine called Bluff & Vine.
“A lot of the fiction I write takes place in Penn Yan, or on Keuka Lake,” says Snyder. “It made me wonder, who else has stories to tell?”
Andrasik and Snyder started a workshop for local writers, PY Writes, in 2014. Andrasik is the Adult Services Librarian at the Penn Yan Public Library, while Snyder serves as Creative Director for Rochester-based e-learning company CypherWorx. “We’d both thought about a literary magazine, and this spring, we started talking seriously about it,” says Andrasik.
They knew they wanted to tap into the talent in the community not just for submissions, but also to make the magazine. They asked local writer Sarah Thompson to join the staff of Bluff & Vine as their nonfiction editor. Thompson, a freelance writer, moved to the Finger Lakes region in 2005.
Snyder then brought up the idea of featuring work from the artists at SkylArc Studio, a program at the Arc of Yates. “Not only will work by the talented artists at SkylArc be a part of our magazine, we’re also working with The Print Shop at the Arc to produce a limited run of our first issue,” says Andrasik. Snyder’s sister, Jennie, is one of the SkylArc artists. “She won’t get preferential treatment, though,” says Snyder.
“We’re looking for stories about Penn Yan, Yates County, Keuka and Seneca Lakes, the people who call this place home, and anyone who loves it here,” says Andrasik. Along with fictional stories, the editors are also looking for nonfiction pieces, including memoirs and personal essays. “Maybe you’ve lived here all your life, or maybe you summered here with your family when you were young. This place means something to each of us, and we want to know what it means to you,” says Snyder.
Andrasik and Snyder hope to have a launch party in late October. “We want to bring together everyone who helped make our first issue possible,” says Snyder. “It’s a community effort, from beginning to end,” agrees Andrasik. “It’s a new way to showcase the talents of the people who love this place as much as we do.”
Submissions of 5,000 words or less are due by Aug. 31. Complete guidelines can be found at bluffandvine.com.