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Sheridan Alumni Spotlight: Notes from Our Founder

By: Noémi Blom

I’m Noémi Blom and I am one of the founders of B222 and was its first Editor-in-Chief. 

The idea for B222—before we had come up with the name for it—had been brewing in my mind for quite some time. You see, before moving to Mississauga for my bachelor’s degree, I had completed a college (CEGEP) diploma in Arts, Literature, and Communications at John Abbott College. At John Abbott, I quickly got involved with the publication (LOCUS), a student-run publication focused on art and literature. I started out as an Assistant Editor and, in my final semester, was Editor-in-Chief and Layout Manager. I had learned and enjoyed that experience so much that it was one of the reasons I signed up for the Creative Writing & Publishing program at Sheridan. 

Now, there are a few reasons why B222 only came about in my final year at Sheridan. First, there was a global pandemic. I was stuck in Compton, Quebec, behind my computer screen, and barely got to know any of my classmates (the turning on of cameras was not a common thing), nor any of my professors. Never having been to the College yet—other than for Open House—I had no idea what already existed: was there a student newspaper? A magazine? I had no clue. 

Halfway through the program, things were hybrid. I was slowly meeting and making friends, but we would see each other so unfrequently that the friendships weren’t super strong at that point. 

It was only in the summer semester that things finally kicked off. I had made incredible friends, most of my classes were in person, I was familiar with everything the school had to offer, I had gotten to know my teachers, and so on. Life was good. During that semester, I had to choose between the Sheridan Reads elective and the Literary Journals and Zines elective. I ended up doing both—that’s a whole other story—but the Literary Journal and Zines class is the one that facilitated the creation of B222

In the second half of this class, in teams, we had to invent a literary publication. There were multiple assignments: we planned the concept, a distribution plan, a budget, and even designed and presented a pilot issue. At the end of the term, we also received feedback from our peers. We were encouraged by many to make it a reality.  

Before I continue, it’s about time I introduce the lovely ladies with whom I completed all those assignments and who are co-founders of B222: Emily Breitkopf, Stephanie Pugliese, and Hazel Mekkattukulam. When B222 came about, they were Artistic Director, Fiction Editor, and Scripts and Non-Fiction Editor, respectively. 

I also want to take a moment to finally explain the name choice for the journal. We wanted something meaningful, yet original. Our choice in the end was inspired by Disney (many of us were—are—major Disney nerds). Just like the number A113 is often hidden in Pixar films—a nod to the classroom where many of their animators studied—we wanted to do the same with our program. B222 is the classroom in which we had our Literary Journals and Zines class, as well as the main classroom for most of the Creative Writing & Publishing courses. It’s where we came up with the idea and, fittingly, it’s where we held our meetings and even where we launched the publication. 

Where was I? Oh, yes. That semester was also Tali Voron’s first semester as professor at Sheridan. Having been the one to oversee our assignments—and having her impressive resume—it was only natural that we asked her to be our mentor and faculty advisor as we brought B222 to life. 

In the fall, we were all back in each of our hometowns, busy with our internships, but a lot of research, searching for funding, and preparation was occurring. There were a few roadblocks and challenges along the way, but nothing we couldn’t handle. At the end of that semester, everything was in place: B222 had funding, a website was built, social media platforms were created, we had an approximate schedule for submissions, edits, layout and printing, etc. All we needed was a bigger team! 

You can guess the rest: we recruited volunteer editors, social media managers, and event planners; we put in countless hours towards making a great first edition; we learned on the spot and made sure to take note and reflect on it for next time; and we made it to a packed launch event, filled with pride and with many copies in our hands. 

We even worked towards creating internship roles within the team, as on-hand experience was a key mission from the start. And, although I had an amazing time and learned so much through building B222, I was glad to pass it on to the next cohort, hoping that they would be able to gain valuable experience from it, just as I had. I was also graduating, so I kind of had no choice. 

Although it hasn’t been a full year yet, it already feels so long ago. Since graduation, I’ve worked for the Salon du livre de l’Estrie (Eastern Townships Bookfair), got married, and now work as a Content Creation Officer at Bishop’s College School. I’m also involved with local publications and am constantly keeping my eyes open for new opportunities in the publishing field. I don’t have set goals and aspirations for the future—I just know that I want to keep learning new skills, stay up to date with industry happenings and advancements, and challenge myself constantly, whether it be by reading a book a week (not always as easy as it sounds!) or by taking a class online after work. 

Before parting, I thought I’d share the book I’d recommend right now: Pumpkin, by Julie Murphy. Although I read many genres, I’m a sucker for YA—they’re light reads, but usually carry great lessons about simply being your true self, something that everyone needs to hear and be reminded of every now and then. 

Read and write on, y’all!

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