Behind the Masthead: Dana Diehl
Editor-in-chief, Dana Diehl, will be leaving Hayden's Ferry Review this summer, but before she goes, interns Shelby Heinrich and Sarah Stansbury caught up with her for a conversation concerning the Bachelor, how HFR has affected her writing, and Galapagos tortoises.
Shelby Heinrich: How has working with HFR shaped your own fiction writing and/or other methods of creation (if at all)?
Dana Diehl: I think it’s shaped my writing in subtle ways. Reading hundreds of submissions has taught me what makes a piece stand out in the slush pile. When I’m writing a new piece, I now have this voice in the back of head saying, “How can you make this stranger/ more distinct/ more you?”
SH: How would you describe HFR to someone who knows nothing about it?
DD: HFR is like the zombie in the horror movie that just won’t die. The zombie that also ends up having a conscience. The zombie that might become a love interest for the heroine.
SH: What is your spirit animal?
DD: Smokey the Bear.
SH: What do you feel is the current theme song to your life at the moment?
DD: I’ve been obsessed with this Say Hi song, “Back Before We Were Brittle.” It’s the opening song for two of my favorite things, The JV Club with Janet Varney and Playing House. Also it’s about nostalgia, which feels very relevant to this transitiony time in my life.
Sarah Stansbury: If you had the ability to transform into a lizard/reptile, which would you choose?
DD: Galapagos Tortoise! They sip dew from rock depressions and spend their days basking and foraging. It seems like a good life.
SS: What is your favorite HFR memory?
DD: I’d have to say that time the Spring 2015 interns and I took a fieldtrip to the reptile exhibits in the Life Science building.
But a close second would be the #superblueferry reading at AWP 2015. HFR teamed up with Superstition Review and Blue Mesa Review in Minneapolis to host a reading at the Nicollet Café. It was so much fun to collaborate with awesome journals, and it was great to meet some of our contributors in person.
SS: What is the most important skill you’ve learned by being the editor of HFR?
DD: I’ve learned so many things! I think I’m proudest, though, of learning how to use InDesign and doing layout for Issue 55 and 56. I’d never done layout, and in the weeks I put together Issue 55, I had some crazy stress dreams in which the journals were printed in fuchsia or had every other page missing. I’m still far from being an InDesign pro, but I’m grateful that working for HFR allowed me to learn more about the design side of publication.
SS: Who was your favorite Bachelor/Bachelorette on the past seasons of The Bachelor/Bachelorette?
DD: Ashley S wasn’t a bachelorette, but she’s my all-time favorite contestant. In the final episode, she said, “It’s so weird, just that we’re all on TV.” Ashley S was the only contestant to ever acknowledge how very strange it is to be looking for love on reality television.