Humans of Spectrum: Belle Machado
Why did you decide to participate in the production of Spectrum? Also what is your current role?
I am the Managing/Fiction editor of Spectrum, and I hoped to be in this role because I am trying to explore the idea of becoming a literary editor as a career after graduation. As for why I’m the fiction editor, well, that’s because I love fiction.
What do you look for in the submissions that you receive for the magazine?
When I browse submissions to Spectrum, I mostly look for good writing and that “weird” element that Spectrum is really looking for. However, for me personally, I like to be emotionally moved by a piece, and I like to feel that there is purpose behind the work. If I read a piece that I felt was written “just for the hell of it,” I find that it’s less likely to resonate with me. That doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that I only pick profound and purposeful pieces: I love the nonsensical, and sometimes a piece’s purpose can be something as small as an illustration into one couple’s life. It doesn’t need to have a lesson to the story. I just want to know that when a writer sat down to create something, they had something in mind that they were making and didn’t just throw whatever whim they had onto a page and left it that way with no editing.
What genre (fiction, poetry, nonfiction, art) of Spectrum interests you most, and what about it speaks to you?
I have an affinity for fiction. I like how creative one can get through that medium and how unexpected and fun the stories can turn out to be. However, I’ve come to realize that I also enjoy non-fiction. I feel that, at least when it comes to reading, there isn’t much out there that is quite as magical or enchanting as a well-written non-fiction piece.
Can you share a story about your own writing?
As a writer, I’m still trying to discover my own niche and where I like to be. All I know is I love developing novels. In high school, I absolutely abhorred my Health and Family living class since we had the talk of the birds and the bees and the “don’t do drugs” lecture all in middle school, so I decided it was better worth my time to start my novel during that class. Every day in and out of class, I’d open a journal and write my book by hand, and that was the first novel draft I’ve ever had. “Don’t let learning get in the way of your education” as Mark Twain says. I like to live by that creed to this day as well: I continue to seek out whatever knowledge I can about the craft of writing and editing to not only improve my own works, but to hopefully someday help others who wish to publish their works as well!”