Staff 2013

Jake “Key Alan” Hillis

Editor-In-Chief/ Web Editor


What’s your favorite part about working for The Finger?

“My favorite part would have to be the diverse span of individuals with whom I get to embark on this incredible creative adventure. This magazine would be nothing without the care and support of my fellow staff members. Everyone has a unique set of skills, personal knowledge, and an individual creativity which rivals the literary and artistic giants of previous generations. This year’s edition as well as all that follow will be a result of the hard work and constant toils which we have endured.”

It seems like creating The Finger isn’t the easiest task.

“Creating The Finger is about as easy as counting the hair follicles on my Assistant Editor’s legs. And if you’ve had the privilege of seeing him in short-shorts, you know what a daunting task that is. With less than half the budget of similar collegiate anthologies, we employ the problem solving capabilities of brilliant engineers and mathematicians… that is, we would if we could afford them. It’s not an exaggeration when I say every aspect of this incredible creation results from the diligent minds of the people listed here, combined with the facilitation of a 15×15 room, a computer that’s on the fritz, and the hopes that someday our names will be on a Pulitzer for pure innovation.”

Which one of your associates would you rather be trapped in an elevator with?

“Although being trapped in a metal box with one of my associates, suspended hundreds of feet in the air, sounds absolutely riveting… I am afraid that my Claustrophobia would inhibit their enjoyment of the situation. I would probably need at least two people, one to hold my hand and one to talk me down. Garrett being my right hand man might as well hold my right hand. Since gents need a buffer in this type of situation, I would employ Jessica as my resident therapist and the meat in the rather awkward lunch-boxed sandwich which would ensue.”

What’s your favorite childhood memory?

“Barbies, definitely Barbies.”

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

“Ah, the monumental question of any college student. If we knew where we would be in ten years, the entire aspect of what makes life interesting would be ruined. I have more dreams than the normal person my age, and my plan is to accomplish all of them. Instead of making long-term goals, I tend to make shortened more manageable bite sized pieces- a trick I learned from all of those etiquette classes. Ah hell, might as well tell you my first goal- to get this interview over with.”

Garrett Walborn

Assistant Editor


So, what brought you to working on The Finger?

“I used to study English at another college before I enrolled at FLCC, so I’ve found the idea of working for a literary magazine really enticing. I’ve taken a few independent and informal classes before, and they tend to be demanding, but just as beneficial to the students that take them. On top of that, we get to give something back to the student community. Most of my classes at FLCC were to finish my general education requirements for other schools, so getting to take a course focused on something I’m passionate about, where we get to tackle problems creatively, was a real treat.”

What exactly do you do for The Finger?

“I’m the Assistant Editor. We’re allowed some license to rework our job titles, so I’m really pushing for “resident buffalo herder.” Helping to run a magazine and maintaining a sideline business based around America’s indigenous grazers doesn’t sound like a harmonious union—and it isn’t—but I like a challenge. In reality, I try and help Jake out with whatever I can, despite the verbal and (primarily) physical abuse. I write and edit, review and mark submissions, and try to help things move along in general. I’m also heading a project which is going to bring attention to and recognize interactive fiction, which has a pretty bad reputation and tends to be dismissed too easily.”

What’s it like working for Jake?

“It’s okay. At first it was just beatings, but I got so much nerve damage that I stopped getting sore. At that point I was really bothered by how much money I would spend on sunglasses and makeup, and time I would spend covering my bruises. He’s really accommodating though, now he just uses a sock full of overripe plums, so it’s mainly the stickiness.”

That sounds pretty rough.

” [laughs] Yeah, but I think that being covered in pulverized fruit is just a part of the experience. I learned, and started wearing dark shirts and wrapping my body with cellophane before class.”

The Finger is pretty new, so what do you think we can expect from it in the future?

“We’re a young publication, and the students who participate really decide the direction, so it’s hard to tell. There’s a lot of focus on structured web content this year, and I think it’s something that future classes are going to be able to use and even improve on. I think we’ve started laying a lot of ground work, so I’m excited to see what’s going to come of it after a couple of years.”

Jessica Clancy

Creative Editor


So, what brought you to working on The Finger?

“I had no idea that I would be hanging out with boys in short shorts, picking locks, and handing out candy to strangers. I was initially drawn to literary magazine publishing to view my own writing in a different light. Now, the elements I find annoying in others writing irritate me to the point that I’ve shot them right through their little paper-bound hearts. My own writing has changed and I am grateful.”

What’s your favorite childhood memory?

“I remember knocking on trees to try and gain entrance in to my sister’s underground studio. She told me she was Paula Abdul, and that one of the trees would open to me with the right combination of knocks. It really got me thinking about what would be on the other side of the doors I could not open. So many places imagined. So many scenarios. What a beautiful lie my sister had told. ”

How do you think that inspired you to be a writer?

“I learned to open up empty space with tiny hands and fill them with curiosities. The right combination became an empty page and some ink. I’ve inhabited strange places in my writing.”

Which of your associates would you rather be trapped in an elevator with?

“Do I have to choose only one? I like variety. I mean, how long are we going to be in there? What are they wearing? What are you wearing? [Sniffs my shoulder] is that Dior for men I smell?”

Indeed it is. Let’s move on… Where do you see yourself in ten years?

“In ten years I will have acquired a condo on Jupiter. Don’t tell me it can’t be done. There will be harems of celestial beings wearing roller skates and spandex that will bring me a variety of tea from exotic galaxies. I will fall deeply in love with one of these beings during a sultry, late night, language learning session. Soon thereafter, I will fall out of love, as I liked him better when I could not decipher a word he was saying. There will be snacks and beverages served on the backs of decorated ponies. I don’t know. Realistically? Paris, maybe. Then, there is a chance I will finish my education and become a professor of English.”

What’s it like working with Jake?

“He constantly needs to be productive, unless he’s talking about sex. He’s  savvy:  a whip-cracker with great hair.”

Mike Schwander

Managing Editor/ Music Liaison


What’s your favorite part of The Finger?

“The Finger huh? Well the people; okay well most of them.”

Does that help inspire you as a writer?

“Well, I am a people person. Well perhaps if you look at what I want to do for a living, I suppose it does contribute.”

How will The Finger help progress your long-term goals?

“The experiences I have in The Finger will help me once I transfer to SUNY Brockport and will contribute to my future once I enter my profession.”

What’s your favorite childhood memory?

“Childhood memory? Well… When I was a young lad, I had a dream of being a Ghost Buster. I know not why, but my mind was set on it.”

How do you think that affects your writing style?

“Well once I found out that the Ghost Busters were an exclusive group, I had to focus on the closest alternative. This realization caused a great deal of preteen anxiety, but after I got over the inability to bust ghosts I found writing as a way to vent my feelings.”

So far, what is the proudest moment of your life?

“The proudest moment of my life was the day I decided to leave that sh*tty little town that I had to call home for so many years.”

How did that inspire you to push forward and reach your goals?

“The reason that I left my home town was that I was looking into the depths of a dead-end job, and I really

had to think and decide whether or not  I wanted to stay there the rest of my life, or leave and make something of myself.”

What have you learned from all that?

“That I could accomplish anything and everything I wanted in life.”

Kylie Westlake

Visual Editor/ Designer


So, what brought  you to working on The Finger?

“After completing my degree in Fine Arts, I returned  to Finger Lakes Community College this year to complete a degree in Graphic Design. I did this to learn skills I thought would be valuable and make me more well-rounded in my field. Since the goal of this year was to get out of my element, I decided to take literary magazine publishing, the birthplace of The Finger.”

What’s your favorite part about The Finger?

“My favorite part about The Finger is the amazing experience I’m gaining from working with this group to produce an actual tangible product within a solid deadline. This first taste of real world experience is something I will take with me for the rest of my life.”

How will that help you progress your long-term goals?

“The experience I’m gaining while working on The Finger will strongly and immediately benefit my goals of becoming a freelance Illustrator, Graphic Designer, and/or Visual Editor. The work I’m doing for The Finger is the same as what I hope to be hired to do one day. Because of this, the work I complete for The Finger will be an invaluable addition to my portfolio.”

Which one of your associates would you rather be trapped in an elevator with?

“Probably Jake. After a while I’m bound to get hungry, and Jake tends to have socks full of plums on his person at all times. They’re usually a bit too ripe and they’re sometimes all mashed up in there, but hey, food is food.”

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

“If I’m not hiding among a pile of half-finished projects and snarling at the sunlight, I suspect I’ll be making a somewhat unsteady income as is customary for a freelancer of any profession. If I’m lucky enough to have been discovered by a business and picked up by them, perhaps I’ll have enough going for me that I can have a nice little house somewhere. Even if I have to give up my bedroom I WILL have a studio, wherever I am and whatever I’m doing. That is a long time dream that I will not sacrifice.”

What skills are you learning in The Finger that will help you get to that point?

“I already find myself hiding within the computer lab long enough that I might have a head-start on snarling at the sun. And perhaps if I can get enough copies of The Finger magazine, I can build a small home from them.”

Zack Bassage

Music Review


So what brought you to working on The Finger?

“I liked last year’s issue and thought it would be fun to contribute my two cents. ”

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

“I just want enough money to live and keep doing the things I love: peeing in public places, making music, and being free in ‘merica.

So far, what is the proudest moment of your life?

” I played on Canandaigua Academy’s varsity hockey team throughout high school. In eleventh grade we lost in the state finals, but we also developed a strong hockey community within Canandaigua. It’s kind-of sad when your proudest moment came in high school, but I learned a lot from this experience. I spent over a decade practicing and studying the game; we even set some records for our school. I also learned that you can spend most of your life practicing something and still fail at it. It’s a good life lesson, I guess. Besides, I’ve got some other things in the works so I believe there’s prouder moments to come.”

Which of your associates would you rather be trapped in an elevator with?

“James has an overall good attitude and I think he would be least likely to complain out of all of my associates. Less complaining means more sleep for me while we wait for rescue because there’s nothing better than sleep to pass the time.”

What is your favorite part about The Finger?

“The Finger allows me to read a lot of writing and help develop my sense of good versus bad. I’ve learned flannel is my friend (good). To know this, surely, will help me overcome my issues with squirrels. Sometimes I can’t help but get angry at these squirrels. All they want from me is my nuts, and it’s not okay. But you know what? The Finger helps me accept when a squirrel just wants the nut. And that’s alright with me.”

James McDaniel

Literary Review


So, what brought you to working on The Finger?

“I was originally a Communications major, but when it came time for advising week, there were certain courses I wanted to take but wasn’t able to. This class was one of them. I changed my major to Humanities so I would be able to take this course. I knew this course would be beneficial to me and the fact that I would like to pursue a job in the field of Public Relations and Journalism.”

What’s your favorite childhood memory?

“The proudest moment of my 20 years was when I graduated kindergarten. The day will live on in the memories of my family and myself forever. I can remember my mom and dad rushing on stage and congratulating me, even my dad said “James this will undoubtedly be the biggest accomplishment of your life.” I look back on that day and I couldn’t agree more. If I hadn’t passed kindergarten, I would not be where I am today. That moment taught me that anything in life is possible. No dream is too large. If I can pass kindergarten, I can pass any grade, even college.”

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

“In ten year’s time I see myself doing something I enjoy, and living comfortably in an area I enjoy. It’s so difficult to imagine where I will be in that length of time. I am not a psychic, so I cannot read into the future that extensively. If I could, however, I would want to be living in England.”

How will The Finger help you accomplish that?

“I feel The Finger has the components that can prepare me for a work environment. Whatever I’m doing in ten years time.  I’ll  look back to The Finger for the guidance I need in life.”

What’s your favorite part about The Finger?

“My favorite part about The Finger is the camaraderie. I enjoy the good-fellowship of my classmates. I also enjoying reading the submissions we receive. This course will help me by building my team working skills, it will help me work in a stressful environment(due dates) and could even help improve my own writing by what I read.”

F. Dylan Henry

Grant Writer


What’s your favorite childhood memory?

“One of my favorite childhood memories was when I was six or seven. My elder brother knew I hated stepping in our dog’s piss, so he poured water on the floor and called me over to watch my reaction as I stepped in it. But instead of walking over, I ran, slipped, fell, and cried. My brother watched as I cried laying in what I presumed to be dog piss. ”

Do you think that inspired you to be a writer?

“Moral of the story: you’re not always lying in piss when you think you are. This has shaped not only my writing style, but my entire life.”

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

“I see myself working as an exterminator of small rodents, traveling the world eliminating vermin and eating different kinds of chocolate.”

How will The Finger help you accomplish that?

“The Finger is preparing me for the inevitable heartache and missteps I am sure to encounter along my path. ”

What’s your favorite part about The Finger?

“My favorite part about The Finger is that it encourages the sharing and analysis of deep feelings and emotions reflected in prose. The Finger is open minded and is to be taken seriously, but has a side that also supports levity.”

How does that inspire you as a writer?

“This inspires me as a writer because it reminds me that everyone has an individual style and not all criticism should be taken to heart. ”

Logan King

Marketing Representative


So what brought you to working on The Finger?

“This is my, in no uncertain circumstances, last semester at FLCC. Been here too long anyway. Gotta move on. Even the luster of running the club where people play video games bought with college money has grown dull.

So when signing up for classes that looked like fun so I could burn through the rest of my scholarship money (as opposed to it just going to waste), I stumbled across this class. It looked interesting, and I’d done some writing in the past so I really just wanted to see what it was about.”

What’s your favorite part about The Finger?

“I really enjoy the personal responsibility involved, as well as learning a lot of new things about the writing and editing process. All of my writing background on a professional level, has consisted of technical journals and essays up to this point. So many of the things I’ve experienced through The Finger have put a new spin on things.”

How will that help progress your long term goals?

“While I don’t think it will help me with my creativity, I do think that the self-sufficiency that I’ve been forced to adapt myself to (as well as the problems that I have had to overcome when it comes to reviewing things) will help me look back on situations with a new, experienced perspective. When I run into a similar situation in the future, I do think that this will help me buckle down and just get it done.”

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

In ten years… I’ll be 33 years old. To be excessively literal, I’m pretty sure I want to move to the Northeast, because I hate warm weather. I’m thinking Massachusetts or some such place. But at that point in my life, I hope to have a career going. I’ve found that I’m very interested (and very good to boot) at sales, so I hope to have that under my belt at that point.

How will The Finger help you accomplish that?

If nothing else, it’s a good thing to put on a resume. “That guy knows how to get things done” they’ll say; and praise will fall from the heavens, I’m sure. More seriously, I hope that all of this independent work combined with team discussion will instill a stronger sense of self-commitment in me for my future endeavors.

Brandon Hubbard

Creative Consultant


So what brought you to working on The Finger?

“I heard about The Finger from Mike Schwander who has worked on The Finger staff prior to my addition. I had an interest spark for the class because someday I would like to write for a newspaper. The publishing experience that The Finger provides will play an important role in my ability to accomplish this goal. ”

What’s your favorite part about The Finger?

” My favorite part about The Finger is the process of brain storming. The staff is full of incredibly different personalities and when ideas are placed on the table, there are a variety of approaches and differences in opinion which result. This makes the results something very true and artistic. ”

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

“I see myself living in a city apartment with a  job. I don’t know what I will be doing to get by, but I know I’ll make it somehow…maybe. ”

So far, what is the proudest moment of your life?

“The moment in my life that I am the most proud of is receiving two national edition awards for two articles I wrote for my school newspaper. This is what originally sparked my interest in journalism. ”

What would you do if you won the lottery?

“”If I won the lottery I would sell everything I own and move to a tropical island, preferably the one from the television series Lost.”