Side Dish Mag: Writing in the AfterMAPH


A post from Emma Martin (AM ’11) on her new writing project, Side Dish mag, a community blog for writers and non-writers alike:

One of the downsides of leaving MAPH is the inevitable vacuum when your class disperses. Although I found a good job (thanks to the MAPH internship at the Newberry), and I felt prepared to take on this next stage, I missed having smart, creative, interesting people with whom to engage on so many different levels.


This is something that was echoed to me by many of my post-grad friends (even my far post-grad friends). No matter how fulfilling work was, we all thirsted for a place to share with our peers in an open forum that is rare outside of a school setting. Non-writers missed writing and being read; non-artists missed being exposed to the artistic side of their peers; writers and artists wanted a space to create without the pressure of writing or creating for a gallery or journal.

My second year after MAPH, I tried to address this on my own. I started a blog called makethreesixtyfive, which was a personal challenge for myself to make something every single day of 2013, be it a photograph, a painting, a piece of writing, a delicious meal, a risk, a connection, etc. It gave me the accountability to actually use my intellectual and creative muscles every single day, outside of my job (although, sometimes I include exceptional things I get to do at Newberry).

A huge number of people responded to this project, and as I continued to get feedback, I felt like the inspirational power make had for me was only half of a greater whole. Creation can get a little boring and lonely in the post-grad vacuum. In June 2013, I started curating a communal blog for post- (and post- post-) grads looking for inspiration and a place to create called Side Dish Mag.

The idea behind Side Dish is this: like the Moth or Rookie or any number of other fantastic themed creative venues before us, we have a theme a month. So far, the themes have been: Absolute Beginners; America; Fix; and (forthcoming) Old School. I started with a core group of people I knew were interested in this type of outlet, and we snowballed, picking up writers and artists and humans being along the way. We have contributors all over the country, and we are spreading internationally as I type this.


Now we want you. MAPHers have already begun contributing from the first month of Side Dish, and I hope that others will feel welcomed into the fold. Side Dish prides itself on being a safe and fun place for people who have busy lives to create pieces of writing, videos, photographs, DIY tutorials, drawings, and music with a theme as inspiration. We are messy, we take drafts, we have one editor who is known to work with gin at the ready (that’s me!), and we are having a lot of fun and creating a great community.


To submit to Side Dish or ask questions about what it is or how you can get involved, please email



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