Putting together the 20th anniversary issue of Bellerive with the smallest staff in the publication’s history was a triumph for the tight-knit crew.
Also: A lot of pressure.
That partially explains the feeling that junior Alix Enkel felt when she first held the finished product in her hands.
“I was so proud,” Enkel said. “It was kind of up in the air because we had a new printer this year. We didn’t know whether everything would be correct. It was pretty spooky. But then it was so rewarding to find out we’d done everything right, and it looks so beautiful.”
The anniversary issue, titled “Heir to Air,” featured reprinted work from the first 19 issues alongside a full-length amount of new material. It launched in February and is part of a long-held literary tradition of the Pierre Laclede Honors College at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. The book is the product of a class taught by Associate Teaching Professor Geri Friedline. She offers the Bellerive course every fall semester, and every spring, students can intern with the publication, which is launched in the spring.
“What I really hope students take away from the experience is more than the satisfaction of producing a book that continues to grow and evolve with the talents of the staff and with the amazing authors, artists and musicians who are featured in its pages,” Friedline said. “I hope that they will gain as much from the experience of working and creating together and of discovering new and exciting talents and interests as individuals, as they do from making the book. They never stop growing, and they never cease to amaze me.”
The experience tends to inspire devotion in the participants. That’s true for Enkel, who already plans to intern with Bellerive over the summer and take the class again in the fall, and for her colleague Haley Graham, an Honors College alumna who graduated in December having spent three years working on Bellerive.
The first third of the fall class is spent reading submissions and selecting work before the group splinters into specializations. Graham spent the majority of her time working on editorial, one of three committees that also includes layout and art. Her final semester she was head of the editing committee, ensuring that each piece shone to its full potential.
“I liked working with the editors in our committee meetings,” she said. “Also when we’re finalizing with the layout committee and making sure everything is as it should be. It’s also about working with the other kids in the class. Eventually you’re tired and have been working on it for so long that you crack up because of ridiculous stuff. That moment is always fun – when you’ve gotten to gel that much.”
Part of the challenge of Graham’s role was figuring out how to divide the sizable editing workload between the four editors instead of the normal seven to 11.
That was difficult but satisfying.
“I’ve never really been much of a leader, so it was really figuring out how to step up and help, because I was also the only returning member of Bellerive,” Graham said. “It was helping mesh these old ways of doing things with a lot more people and adapting it to the workers that we had. A lot of figuring out workloads without overworking any one person. But in the end, everyone was absolutely stellar.”
Enkel noted that dividing work was made easier because of the class members’ devotion to the project. The upside of a small team was easier decision making.
One choice that stands out in her mind was picking the cover.
“The most satisfying moment was when we finally decided on a cover for the book because it was was such a near decision between between the two final cover images,” she said. “They were both gorgeous. We did a vote. It was also satisfying to to see the finalized PDF proof we got back back from the publisher with the cover and content and everything. It was great to see all our hard work from the semester come together like that.”
Though she initially decided on taking the class because it related to her English major and professional writing certificate, Enkel quickly found herself working on the visual side of things. As one of two students on the art committee, she sorted and edited all the art submissions and image files for the compilation.
Then, for her internship this semester, Enkel assumed a more administrative role and worked with Friedline to plan and promote the spring launch party, which took place on Feb. 28 in the J.C. Penney Summit Ballroom.
Working on the book helped both students develop and hone their interests and career aspirations. A stage services assistant at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center and an assistant teacher at an area preschool, Graham hopes to transition to the publishing industry.
Though Enkel still has senior year to mull over her post-graduate profession, Bellerive has opened her eyes.
“I can’t even express how happy I am that I took this class and this internship because I didn’t realize how much of an interest I have in social media and graphic design,” she said. “I think it’s something that I’m definitely going to pursue either by continuing my internship or seeking another one in a similar field. It’s such a great outlet, and I really love the reward of coming up with an idea and designing something to fruition. It’s so satisfying to me, and it may be something that I want to do as a career.”