Meet an Editor: Gray Ashford

What do you look for in a Silk Road piece (or any writing)?

The first thing I look for is a hook. Whether it’s poetry, fiction, or nonfiction, I expect something to be there that entices me to keep reading. Sometimes it’s something as simple as the title. Beyond that, I’m looking for a heart. Underneath all the prose and metaphor, there’s gotta be something there that breathes. I love flowery language as much as the next reader, but there needs to be something deeper, some kind of core that really resonates or else I feel like it was all for naught. Even if that core is just the intention of telling a good story. If you’ve put your heart on the table, whatever that heart may be made out of, then that’s a success to me.

If you could have ANY job once you graduate, what would you love to do?

If I could have any job once I graduate, I’d love to magically find myself as an author of short stories and novels, capable of being financially self-sufficient. One can dream!

Do you have any authors (or pieces of literature) that inspire you?

Kurt Vonnegut once wrote: “When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.” This speaks to me on a spiritual level and has driven me through a lot of my own writer’s block. Whenever I feel myself start to over-think, I think of that quote. It helps me remember that writing is meant to be spontaneous and at times, absurd. Save the rest for editing.

What does Silk Road embody to you? What words would you use to describe Silk Road to someone who knows nothing about it?

To me, Silk Road means diversity. It’s a celebration of our differences while at same time bringing us all closer together in our most ancient and cherished of traditions—the exchange of our stories. There is truly nothing better.

Major: Creative Writing, Theatre and Editing & Publishing Minor

Graduation Year: 2017

Hometown: Oregon City, OR