In a lyric of “Kokosing Farewell,” one of Kenyon’s traditional songs, it is established that when alumni are far from campus, they “still shall hear a calling bell.” In the spirit of that song, Frances Sutton ’13 and Maggie Jaris ’13 founded “The Calling Bell,” an online literary magazine that showcases work created by Kenyon graduates.
The intent of the Tumblr-based blog, Sutton said, is to recreate the Kenyon experience in an online setting. “Often at Kenyon I would meet students like myself, non-English majors, who loved the literary scene in which we were immersed,” said Sutton, an anthropology major. “Post-college life doesn't always account for that creative passion.”
Sutton and Jaris hope to reach out to fellow alumni who have written work but are unsure how to effectively share it. “Kenyon is an amazing place where students discover a passion for writing inside and outside the classroom,” said Sutton, who works at the Experience Music Project museum in Seattle and is applying for graduate programs in anthropology. “I know quite a few alumni, myself included, who love to write but do not have a suitable public outlet for their writing.”
Jaris, who majored in English and now works at the science-education nonprofit Iridescent in Chicago, said reading the day’s submissions is “definitely the part of the day I look forward to the most — talking them over and then sharing them.” It’s a relish, Sutton said, that originated in their Kenyon days. “Maggie and I have a common trait of being unapologetically passionate about Kenyon creativity. We often talked about student writing that we enjoyed as if we were discussing famous authors.”
The two chose Tumblr because of its ease of use for readers and contributors. “It’s friendly and easy to follow in a way that’s a little more organic maybe than subscribing to a WordPress blog,” said Jaris, who added that the blog also maintains a presence on Facebook.
Alumni and students can submit their work to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions need not be exclusive to “The Calling Bell” and may have been published elsewhere.
“We’d love to see greater representation from other class years, and welcome all kinds of writing. We’re eager to share whatever people want to share,” Jaris said.
By Matthew Eley ’15