Archive for Thursday, November 10, 2005

Fate of LHS literary magazine no longer a mystery

November 10, 2005

The tale of the fall 2005 edition of Lansing High School's literary magazine, Lion Scratches, reads like a mystery, complete with plot twists and the untimely demise of a key player in the production process.

Elizabeth Grady, LHS junior, is the literary magazine coordinator this year. She has run into deadline dilemmas, printing problems and the death of an editorial assistant - her computer.

It all started when Grady found out the drama club would put on its play a week before the date that had been announced last year.

Grady's plan was to release the magazine at the play because the community event would garner more exposure for the magazine, she said. Unfortunately for Grady, she found out about the new play date when it was too late to change the deadline for submissions.

To compensate, Grady spent four days after the pieces were chosen for publication coming to school at 6:30 a.m. and staying until 5 p.m. to type each piece and create the layout of the 24-page magazine. The only work she could really do before the submissions were in, she said, was to create the cover art and write the accompanying poem.

Adding to her stress, the computer that Grady used to design the publication was causing more problems than it solved. Once it "died," she said, she had to use the library computers to finish her work.

After her whirlwind week, Grady had pulled the magazine together and had it ready to publish. Then came more bad news.

"The problem before has been money. The problem now is how to print it," Grady said.

Grady said she had been working with the LHS Future Business Leaders of America club to help her find a printer for the magazine, which will sport a new format this year. In the past, the magazine had been spiral-bound and was printed on cardstock, Grady said. This year, she wanted to print it on glossy 11"x17" paper that would be folded in half to look more like a magazine.

"I, personally, always thought it should be like that," she said.

Linda Leffler, sponsor of Pen and Paw and Lion Scratches, was able to buy the expensive paper this year thanks to student fundraising. Pen and Paw members have worked with FBLA members selling concessions at the Kansas City Chiefs' home football games.

"That has been hard work," Leffler said.

But it has paid off - students have raised about $1,000 so far to benefit Lion Scratches, and some of that money went to buy the large, glossy paper.

The trouble is that no printer or copier in the school can handle that size of paper, Grady said.

"When I designed it, I thought they could do it," she said.

FBLA is still in negotiations to find a copier within the district that can handle printing 3,600 pages in color. The printing snag resulted in having to postpone the magazine's debut.

"We just couldn't get it printed in time (for the play) because of that misunderstanding," Grady said. Her new plan is to distribute the free magazine at the winter choir and band concert Dec. 6, Grady said.

In spite of the hardships the magazine has caused, Leffler said she was eager to see the final product.

"It's been so exciting and Elizabeth is just so motivated," she said. "The pages are going to look so different than in the past."

Grady, too, said she was seeing the fruit of her intense labor. She said she chose the new format "to get people excited about (the magazine) again," and she said the magazine has gotten more submissions than in the past. She even said she would be willing to coordinate again next year.


The fall 2005 edition of Lion Scratches, titled "Our World is Not Black and White," is expected to debut Dec. 6 at the Lansing High School choir and band winter concert. The magazine is free, and about 300 copies will be available.

The magazine contains poetry, short stories, art and photography, all from LHS students.

Here's a preview from coordinator Elizabeth Grady, an LHS junior, about some of what you'll see in the literary magazine:

"Because it's teenagers, we get a lot about love, a lot about depression," she said. But, she said, this issue also contains a lot of poems about pets and two scary short stories.


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