Katherine Dykstra


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Kelly Sundberg on publishing in Guernica

Kelly Sundberg was interviewed in Brevity about the experience of writing "It Will Look Like a Sunset" published in Guernica. In it she mentions our editing process.

The original essay had some more lyrical components that didn’t fit into the revision. They were some of my favorite lines, and I miss them, but they didn’t fit within the context of the new draft. Once the lyrical components, which had been the connective tissue were gone, we actually had to cut and paste the crots in order to re-achieve that balance.

Read the rest here.


Guest Blog: An Essay Like Mousetrap

Essay Daily: Take One Daily and Call Me Every Morning

A little something I wrote for Essay Daily about my job as Senior Editor at Guernica went up today. An excerpt:

I like essays whose inner workings are on full display, essays that don’t skip steps or make assumptions, essays that are logical, which is different from predictable. I am all for ideas that tangent and spiral but I want to be walked through these wrong turns, realizations and back steps.

The piece has to be like a game of Mousetrap, or like a Rube Goldberg machine. One sentence leading inevitably into the next. Each sentence completely dependent on the one before it. Every word clear, precise, considered.

Find the rest here: An Essay Like Mousetrap

Interview: Hard Wired

I got to interview Emily Bazelon for Guernica

On the evolution of Internet bullying, underdogs' resilience of underdogs, and the promise of today’s teens. 

Kids can be cruel. For generations, this was seen as an unfortunate fact of life. Adults advised the targets of adolescent nastiness to try not to dwell on it, to let it roll off their backs.

As Emily Bazelon writes in her new book, Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy, this all changed in 1999 when Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris walked into Columbine High School wielding a couple of semiautomatic weapons. Klebold and Harris’ rampage resulted in thirteen dead, two dozen more injured, and a country left struggling to understand what exactly had gone wrong.

Bazelon, a Slate senior editor and contributor to the New York Times Magazine, as well as a trained lawyer, writes in her prologue, “Harris and Klebold weren’t themselves targets of bullying (or known bullies). But,” she continues, “when a subsequent nationwide investigation revealed that most kids who turn into school shooters have previously felt persecuted, bullied, or threatened, the lesson was driven home: to brush off bullying was to court disaster… ”


Essay: A Place for Everything

I won first place in the Waterman Fund's annual Essay Contest!

Editor’s note: The winner of the fifth annual Waterman Fund essay contest, which Appalachia sponsors jointly with the Waterman Fund, ventures into new territory. In the previous four years of the contest, writers have reflected on the ways civilization encroaches on the wilderness. This year’s winner turns it around, describing the clash of wild animals with a busy car campground. More black bears show themselves near Delaware Water Gap, on the New Jersey–Pennsylvania border, than most people will ever see in darkest Maine. Katherine Dykstra’s honest story of what happened when she met her first bear on her first camping trip left us squirming and thinking harder about what happens when wild animals wander into settled areas. The Waterman Fund is a nonprofit organization named in honor of Laura and the late Guy Waterman. It is our mission to encourage new writers. See the end pages of this journal for information about next year’s contest.

We'd thrown the trip together in a flurry of phone calls and email exchanges all in 48 hours. Parker researched state parks, campgrounds, driving times. Ann went to a dollar store and bought four nylon camping chairs. I went to Target and came away with two tents. There was a moment when we nearly called the whole thing off, Seth having phoned every rental car company in the five boroughs and coming up dry; it was Fourth of July weekend after all. But dogged in his pursuit, he eventually found a car that had been returned early. It was the last, we believed, in the city.

      As we inched our way west on Canal Street, Seth caught my eye in the rearview mirror: “So I hear you’re worried about bears,” he said, amused.