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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Lit journal goes beyond tradition

Nikita+Redkar+%26%238212%3B+THE+BATTALION%0AJames+Leaf+and+Davis+Land+produce+%26%238220%3Bmostly+water%2C%26%238221%3B+an+experimental+lit+journal+based+in+Bryan-College+Station.+%26%23160%3B
Nikita Redkar — THE BATTALION James Leaf and Davis Land produce “mostly water,” an experimental lit journal based in Bryan-College Station.  

The community’s newest lit journal looks to stretch the bounds of traditional literary magazines in Bryan-College Station.
The experimental publication has a long title — “ok so you know how the world is mostly water and your body is mostly water well I’d be willing to bet that in the end pretty much everything is mostly water” — and is called “Mostly Water” for short.
It was founded by editor-in-chief Davis Land, a telecommunication media studies sophomore. Land said the journal was created to give a space for creative types in Bryan-College Station — including poets, prose writers, photographers and artists — to promote and publish their work.
“I noticed that there reallyweren’t many opportunities on campus for written or more experimental things,” Land said.
Land, along with managing editor James Leaf, a junior English rhetoric major, are active members of Mic Check, a weekly open mic poetry organization based in Bryan.“It was great that through Mic Check there was a platform for spoken word,” Leaf said. “But we wanted to give the artists in the community another way to get their work out there.”
Land said the journal’s title came to be just before the first edition was printed in October 2014.
“I was about to print the first edition and didn’t have a title, so I typed the first thing I could think of into InDesign,” Land said. “I actually really don’t like it because I think the wit of it only comes across when you say the full thing, and it often just gets abbreviated to ‘mostly water,’ which isn’t my favorite thing in the world.”
“Mostly water” is open to any type of visual or written art submission and is published on a monthly basis. Leaf said they are try to stay away from categorizing submissions.
“The categories can limit an artist,” Leaf said. “Artistic expression doesn’t work in categories. Many times, journals can feel limiting. We don’t want to do that.”
Among some of the work submitted to and published by the journal are a series of Snapchat images and photocopies of receipts.“The photocopies of receipts were kind of used to depict and tell a story,” Land said. “It was really interesting, the artist used the items on the lists to tell a story.”
Land said authenticity in a poem is what draws them in.
“I like it when I read somebody’s stuff, and you can tell that they’d be writing whether someone else is going to be reading it or not,” Land said. “I like it when you can see the ghost of the poet’s past and their poetic tradition.”
At the same time, Land said they try to emphasize that much of the selection does come down to personal taste.
“We don’t claim to be some grand arbitrators of art,” Land said. “What we end up selecting is what James and I like and what we think that other people should be exposed to and read.”
Land and Leaf work to keep the journal free for residents of Bryan-College Station, and have shipped the journal both nationally and internationally. Land said the majority of the journal’s funding comes from the two students’ personal funds.
However, Land said the two have also received support from Florence Davies, University Writing Center administrator and academic adviser for The Eckleburg Project.
“When Davis and James first told me about … ‘pretty much everything is water’ I knew almost immediately I wanted to help them in any way I could,” Davies said. “The experimental and experiential art they hoped to receive, as well as their process of selecting pieces, absolutely blew me away.”
Davies said the journal felt fresh and electrifying and that she could feel the heart put into its creation.
“These days with everyone on earth trying to blog for a hot dollar, the idea of two humans printing off zines in someone’s bedroom, making art for art’s sake is something you don’t come across very often,” Davies said. “You hear a lot of braggadocio about wanting to change the local art scene, but it’s another thing entirely to tangibly create something that’s doing just that.”

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