Classical Music at the Orpheum

I finally got to go to a symphony! For the first time ever!

NJ and I took a trip to the Orpheum Theatre on the first of October to see the award-winning, Romanian conductor Cristian Macelaru’s take on three classical pieces. The hall itself is quite gorgeous, with high ceilings and gilded banisters and columns, as well as crystal chandeliers and heavenly murals.

Of the three pieces we were able to listen to, I actually found the Romanian composer George Enescu’s Symphony No.1 in E-Flat Major, Op.13 the most beautiful. It started so dramatically, and ended with a crescendo of what Macelaru called “French love.” You can listen to audio clips of the symphony on the VSO’s main page, or just listen to Enescu’s symphony here:

The concert was wonderful, but getting there proved to be difficult. The night we went in, and entire track of the SkyTrain was suddenly unavailable due to a medical emergency, and, since the rest of Vancouver was gearing up for a football game, streets were absolutely packed. NJ and I left the house two and a half hours before we needed to be there (and I even said “doors open at 7pm” when it was actually 7:30) and we still only got there at 8:05…. a couple minutes too late to go in for the overture. ☹️ We didn’t have a chance to eat before the show, which meant dinner was Church’s Chicken at 11pm, when we finally got home.


Episode 2: September Wrap-Up

September is long gone, but I haven’t had time to document everything that happened in September until now. If anything, that should tell you how busy it’s been! But even a month and a half in, I’m loving this program, and have no regrets in working so hard to pursue it.

The Courses

PUB 600 (Topics in Publishing Management): Absolutely my favorite course so far, PUB600 delves into management and financial considerations for publishing houses. We’ve had a number of industry guests come in (or Skype in) as well, and they’ve told us about all of those things I went into the program to learn. Marketing and PR (as the trad. presses do it), title P&L (which basically tells you whether you can publish that book you want to or not), and how to position your publishing house to succeed in the market. This course also has two “major” group assignments and presentations, which I actually found to be really enjoyable. We reverse engineered a marketing plan for an existing book on the market, and then had to work with a 40% budget cut to still make the book viable in the marketplace.

One of the nicest things about the coursework is that you can build your third project into something personally beneficial. In my case, I decided to work on a SWOT and Competitor Analysis for a magazine near and dear to my heart. That meant getting in touch with the management team and having real discussions about the future of the publication and where it is heading. I might be getting a letter grade in the course, but the document itself will keep evolving to help this company in a real way (and also help my CV!)

PUB601 (Editorial Theory and Practice): This has been a surprising course for me. I’ve done editing in the past, but have never really felt like I wanted to become an editor. However, this course is making me reconsider! PUB601 is probably the most-discussed class among the cohort, as we are learning the acquisitions process from a real book that is actually being published next year. The book we were given to analyze is in pretty awful shape (would have absolutely been rejected by a trade fiction U.S. publisher). Obviously for the purposes of the class, the author’s name and book title have been redacted, but we’ve had to write “letters” to the publisher and the author describing what we think the book needs to be publish-ready. The vast differences in everyone’s answers have been really enlightening. You really could give your manuscript to ten editors and get ten different prescriptions back. What I’m learning for self-publishers is that you all need to have more confidence in your vision, and drop editors and beta readers who don’t “get” you. For traditional publishing, I’m finding that all the experiences in editing I’ve gained by working with self-publishers is going to serve me well going forward, if being an editor is the path I want to take.

PUB602 (Design and Production Control in Publishing): Ah, design! This class, so far, has been a lot of typography and general design philosophy, though more recently we’ve had the opportunity to ogle beautiful books and learn all the ways design can run amuck. Most of my Instagram photos from the last week have come from Design.

I really like the instructor for this course, and am hoping for guidance in building up my portfolio and rebranding Country Mouse Design (that’s a project for February). I think I already know where I want to intern, and will be seeking advice from both my PUB600 and 602 professors. The other big project for this class will be a novel redesign, and I’ve chosen (because I’m nuts) a redesign of Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber omnibus, because I really hated the layout of that book. Why does this make me insane? We only need to redesign the cover and first few pages of the interior. I’m doing all ten books. Because why not. 😂

PUB802 (Technology and Evolving Forms of Publishing): PUB802 has probably been the most difficult class so far, as a lot of it is simply theory so far. There is a lot of reading every week, and we use an annotation plugin to have conversations throughout the week on the various articles assigned to us. If technology in publishing interests you, you could actually read all the course materials on your own time here. One of the things I’m finding particularly trips me up in the tech class is just the idea of reading books online (any books). It’s hard for me to imagine a situation where books could be hosted by the publisher online, and the book would still make a profit. Considering link rot on regular articles, and the abundance of free fiction on the web, I sort of feel it might be too late for regular books to make their own way on the web without insulting readers with paywalls or subscriptions. (Since publishers, they say, are rarely branded, what would make a reader want to fork over a monthly fee for a specific publisher’s backlist, unless that publisher was Harlequin, Penguin, or Tor?)


It was definitely a busy month. I’m just managing to keep ahead of my assignments by a couple days a piece, but others in my cohort seem to be having a little difficulty. I’m finding that not working has definitely allowed me to have the energy to take on all of the reading that is assigned, and if you’re someone who plans to apply in the future, you should definitely keep that in mind.

Other than that, I think the rest can be shared in pictures!

A minimalist cover for “The Three Little Pigs”… created in 20 minutes with my classmate:

I'll huff and I'll puff… #minimalist for #PUB602 @cft731 @mauvepg #mpub

A photo posted by Ariel Hudnall (@arielhudnall) on


Working on the editorial outline for that PUB601 manuscript:

Working on an editorial outline for #PUB601. Still obsessed with new apartment's gas fireplace. 🔥🔥🔥

A photo posted by Ariel Hudnall (@arielhudnall) on


The “art” installment in my department’s hallway:


My mailbox!

#todayinmpub I found out we have our own mailboxes! I'm gonna have to use these at some point this semester…. 🤔😎

A photo posted by Ariel Hudnall (@arielhudnall) on


I got a haircut, at long last. I hadn’t had the confidence to get to a stylist for over a year. My poor hair…

New haircut, finally!

A photo posted by Ariel Hudnall (@arielhudnall) on


Playing with pretty books and paper and ink! (I ended up being a huge dork and buying a bunch of sample paper packs from local presses…)


And then we learned about all the ways production can go wrong…

And finally, I got some glasses! My long distance vision has been deteriorating for some time, but I really started noticing it when school started. Now I finally have some glasses. Somehow, it makes me feel like more of a writer.😉

Hope you all had a great month, too.


linotype header image

The Beauty of Letterpress

One of my favorite things to study in publishing is typography, and its history. While most typography is done digitally these days, there is still some affection for the metal, grease, and ink of linotype and letterpress printing. Especially in the case of the latter, there has been a bit of a revival of the old standards of printing, with wedding invitations and small press books using letterpress to add a certain texture modern and offset printing can’t replicate.

While I’ve always wanted to have a hand at setting the letters myself, for the time being, I’ll have to count my pennies for the next local workshop and simply admire the craft from afar. In Japan, there was a letterpress right near the train station in my neighborhood, and sometimes I could see the manager inside setting the ink and plates into his massive machine. Part of me still wonders how different letterpress in kanji is compared to letterpress with Roman letters. My neighborhood was also the home of the temple with the oldest letterpress type kit in all of Japan, which I was fortunate enough to have stumbled upon while exploring.

Japan, Kyoto- Ichijoji Area-89.jpg

If you’re curious how each of these “stamps” are made, the following short film might interest you. The level of detail, and the ability to imagine letter forms backwards is a pretty amazing feat! I can read upside down and backwards, but I don’t think I could ever do this…


…Finally, if you’re interested in maybe following a letterpress on social media, I recommend the Portuguese press below on Instagram. They always share interesting stuff!


How about the rest of you? Does letterpress interest you? What about calligraphy? Have you ever been able to use one of these machines? (Is it worth paying $189 to experience?!)


WORD Vancouver – A Festival for Literature

On Sunday, September 25th, I went to WORD Vancouver, a literary festival for BC’s local writers, poets, comic artists, magazine publishers, and small presses. The festival took place in front of and inside Vancouver Public Library, a beautiful, Coliseum-esque building that winds into itself.

The festival coincided with the Royal Couple’s visit to Vancouver, so there were a lot of people in the downtown area, but the crowds could have been equally divided between the events. One of the things I’ve really noticed about BC since moving here is just how vibrant the literary culture is here. Part of that is because the Canadian government assists the cultural arm of the publishing industry through grants and subsidies. Presses that promote the curation and celebration of Canadian heritage receive quite a bit of funding, mostly to allow them to compete with the U.S. economy (which is ten times the size of Canada’s), but also to ensure that not all of publishing is simply revenue-driven. It means that Canada’s small presses and magazines have enough of a safety net to be a little creative, be a little bold, and a little funky with what they choose to publish (and how).

WORD Vancouver is one of the places to really see how that affects the local publishing community. I went as a volunteer for Magazine Association of BC, and was given the very fun task of taking photos of the association’s members. It’s been a few weeks now since the event, so I can share those photos with you now.

The writing community in Vancouver is pretty tightly-knit: everyone seems to know everyone else, and as an outsider, it took a bit of time to get used to all the name dropping among the people present, but it’s wonderful to experience. It was also fun, as always, to get a bunch of swag. I didn’t buy anything, but ended up going home with four magazines and a couple of novels. Pretty fun!

Are there any local writing events you like going to in your part of the world?