Zig Zag: Who’s behind the local literary magazine

Stuck in the closet? Not anymore. Writers and artists throughout Addison County now have a literary magazine that will consider their work for publication. Zig Zag Lit Mag — a 64-page, black and white, 8.5-inch by 5.5-inch printed magazine — will release it’s first edition today, Thursday, Sept. 22. And there’s a party to celebrate. Head over to Bixby Library in Vergennes at 6 p.m. tonight. (Psst, there will be free doughnuts.)
“It all started around one woman — Michelle (a terrific poet) — who was so embarrassed she wouldn’t publish her work,” explained the magazine’s ounder and editor-in-chief Alex Jay Dubberly, he goes by Jay. “She’s been writing one poem a day for 30 years, and never published. She is so closeted. I wanted to help people like her publish their work.”
Dubberly, an MFA graduate of Goddard College in Plainfield, moved to Vergennes two years ago in July. Like any 28-year-old with a screenwriting degree, Dubberly is piecing several gigs together. He’s had a few poems and a novella published, waits tables at Mary’s Restaurant in Bristol, teaches at CCV in Rutland, and, of course, has a 600-page TV script; “but that hasn’t seen the light of day,” Dubberly clarified.
When he moved to the Little City, Dubberly found himself in Librarian Muir Harman’s writing workshop at Bixby Library, not really as a student, but more to see how he himself could start a writing class. Which he did; now Dubberly works mainly with long-form writers at the library, while Harman teaches intro and short-form workshops.
“Jay and I met to chat about the possibility of publishing our writers’ work,” Harman, who’s also a poet, explained. “It speaks to my desire for other people to express their creative selves.”
But Harman has a lot going on at the library, and couldn’t take on the publishing role 100 percent. “I rely on passionate community members to help,” he said. 
Take Little City Editing’s editor Keith Morrill, plus a few key members of the Bixby’s writing workshops and a sprinkle of friends, and you get the editing review board of Zig Zag Lit Mag: Jay Dubberly, Patrick Willwerth, Maddy Willwerth (yup, husband and wife), Keith Morrill, Muir Harman, Chloe Marchand and Nina Griffin. Fun fact: All of them live in Vergennes except Griffin (she’s from Ferrisburgh) and, yes, they get together for potlucks, basketball and game night.
“The group works really well together” said Maddy Willwerth, who volunteered to do all the graphic design and layout for the magazine. 
“Jay and I had pretty concrete ideas of what we wanted it to be,” Harman added. “We envisioned an extension of the process that we’d gone through with the workshops and other similar programs at the library; where we build and strengthen the writing community in Vergennes and the area through expression. We want to have a more open, public space to share people’s writing that they’ve been working on and hiding away. We want to create the place where they could share those things and connect and maybe surprise their neighbors.”
In total there were 104 submissions from 47 different people. Of that, 23 pieces by 19 people were published. The seven review board members removed the names (because they knew a lot of the submitters) and did their best to judge based on merit alone. 
Dubberly says about 85 percent of the submissions were poems. Only nine were visual art. The visual side of the magazine is an area Dubberly would like to see grow, and he encourages artists of all sorts to submit for the spring publication — entries accepted Dec. 1, 2016-Jan. 31, 2017.
“Read Local. Write Local.” That’s Dubberly’s motto for the magazine. “There are tons of real writers who live here and we need to support them … just to read their work is all we could ever ask.”
For more information, contact Dubberly at [email protected]. All photos by Dylan Griffin.

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