Staff Profile: Eliana Meyer
By Patrick Carey
Eliana Meyer is a third-year MFA candidate in fiction here at Colorado State University. Having started at the Center for Literary Publishing (CLP) two years ago, Eliana is also now an associate editor at Colorado Review.
Born in Woodland, California, Eliana made her way to Fort Collins after undergrad. Her writing blends an impressive range of tones and techniques, from realism to the profoundly surreal. Reading Colorado Review submissions is just part of what we do at the CLP. Fellow associate editor Patrick Carey spoke with Eliana recently to learn more about her experiences here.
Patrick Carey: What’s your favorite project you’ve worked on at the CLP so far?
Eliana Meyer: There are so many incredible projects at the CLP, but one thing I have enjoyed working on is copy-editing and proofreading. When I copy edit, I feel that I’m on a journey with the writer sitting beside me. I learn so much about the world they’ve created, the nuances in their writing, and through this process I feel as if I am meeting a new friend. While copyediting, I’ve explored the ominous and stunning compositions of Masahisa Fukase’s photography book Ravens or learned about the history of the Roma tomato, that the fruit was developed around 1955, and yes, Roma is capitalized. With each new manuscript, I’m excited to see what new delicious details I can investigate next.
Proofreading has also been an incredibly rewarding experience. Most recently, I had the opportunity to proofread the 2022 Nelligan Prize winning short story, Mike Murray’s “Night Owls.” It may sound obvious, but proofreading requires an attention and intimacy with language that is unique to this stage in the writing process. Pouring over an author’s proof has taught me how to be attentive to, careful with, and a good steward of someone else’s writing. It continues to remind me just how intentional and moving the art of writing is for both author and reader and, as such, can be a very rewarding task. Proofreading is one of those things, if done well, no one notices, but the time I spend proofreading really is a love letter to the author and our readers saying: I care about this work and I want this story or essay to shine.
PC: It sounds like proofreading has been even more interesting than you’d expected. What else has surprised you about working for Colorado Review?
EM: My background is in fiction; I primarily write short stories but have also tried my hand writing the odd novella or novel. Colorado Review is one of those places where, as a fiction writer, I don’t only work with fiction. Before the proof goes to print and after the journal comes out, I’m always excited to see how elements of fragmentation or graphic novel work in creative nonfiction, how the role of negative space and omission play into the way meaning is distilled in poetry.
It’s great to see the range and diversity of submissions—from length, to content, to craft—in our fiction queue. I also appreciate being a part of the process that accepted submissions undergoe, from copy-editing and fact-checking to proofreading to the final copy. From our contributors to our CLP staff and editors, Colorado Review truly is a community effort.
PC: It definitely is. And has your work at the CLP affected your own writing process at all?
EM: Reading from the queue is an educational experience unto itself. I’ve come to appreciate the trends in submissions and also those submissions that break away from trends. They are all a reflection of where we are within the greater writing community. It’s a way for me to check in and see what the temperature is—so to speak—what stories and craft are of interest to us now.
Recently I’ve been focused on the role that point of view has in the structure of a story, how POV shifts balances of authority and power. I’ve also been interested in the role of structure, how nontraditional structures or divergence from an expected form can add layers of meaning to narrative. These questions and the way I try to answer them in my own writing are definitely influenced by the prose I read at Colorado Review.
On a much more technical level, I’m much more aware of my own writing—thinking about sentence structure, word choice, the difference that a comma or an em dash can make to the tone of my stories—sometimes that one little dash can make all the difference in the world.
Working at CLP has also given me the confidence to send my own work out to other respected literary journals.
PC: That’s a great type of confidence to have. Besides submitting stories, what else are you working on outside of the CLP?
EM: This fall I’m teaching Beginning Creative Writing at Colorado State University. As we speak, I’m working on my thesis, a collection of short stories resembling our reality but which touch on the uncanny or the unreal. I find myself writing into that unsettling space, where things that should be familiar aren’t, in the hopes writing new experiences and voices to challenge the domestic drama. I am also working on a novel based in the Midwest.
PC: A novel in the Midwest? I didn’t know that. Before I let you go, what’s the best book you’ve read in the last year or so?
EM: I recently enjoyed reading Yōko Ogawa’s haunting and dreamlike Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales, a recommendation from an online roundtable talk at last year’s AWP Conference.
Patrick Carey is an associate editor at Colorado Review and a third-year MFA fiction candidate at Colorado State University. He also teaches Beginning Creative Writing and writes stories about the Midwest.