Phantasm Producing Its 40th Issue Despite the Quarantine

Haidu Li

Members of our school’s literature and arts magazine, Phantasm, have been working on the 40th issue for Spring 2020 despite school being shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. With school being closed, this year’s issue has faced more difficulties than ever. “I think this has been a challenge for us for keeping up the motivation as well as working together with the physical barrier,” said Xinrong Ye ‘20, co-editor-in-chief of the Spring 2020 issue.

The conventional way of producing any form of art is to engage in human contact, which has been prevented by the quarantine. In the past years, members of Phantasm had always stayed after school for at least one to two days per week for about two months each season to examine the submissions, to discuss the layout and pagination, and simply to enjoy the moment of creating art. Printing out every submission, though paper consuming, is extremely helpful and necessary for the editors to organize their thoughts and demonstrate their opinions. In addition, suggestions or changes for each submission can be directly written on the piece in a way that is both easy and straightforward.

Unfortunately, the editors can no longer work with papers as the school shut down due to the pandemic. The editors have to move images and articles around in a Google slide to achieve their preferred arrangements, which has been most difficult especially compared to the old fashioned way with papers. The inconveniences greatly reduced the editors’ efficiency and productivity, and these factors have caused the release date of this Spring’s issue to be postponed.

Despite the challenges, the Phantasm editors are determined to put this issue together. “This magazine represents the voice of our student body and we think that it means a lot for us to finish this magazine,” said Ye. The editors are having virtual meetings on Zoom about twice a week at 3:00 P.M. to simulate the meetings after school. Even though Phantasm is not a required course, the editors have been disciplined to show up for the meetings and work on the magazine in their free time.

Besides the student editors, the Phantasm moderators have been putting extra efforts into this issue. One of the moderators, Ms. Katie Haviland, for example, is in charge of putting all the arranged works into one nicely edited file, which will become the final copy of a Phantasm issue. As easy as it might sound, this task is terribly time-consuming and requires great patience. In the past, this was usually completed in several weeks after school by three or four student layout editors using the program Indesign, which most students don’t have access to at home.

The production process had not entirely been enjoyable, but the members of Phantasm are proud to still be able to present an issue with a slightly plain design but full of intriguing content. Although it is unlikely to release this issue during the spring semester, it is still possible to pass out the copies when students return to school in fall. Seniors will likely receive it on their yearbook signing party or graduation. “At the end of the day, I appreciate all the members, especially the teachers, for their hard work,” Ye said, “I believe that Ignatius spirit shines even more under difficult circumstances like this.