The Phoenix rises thanks to writer’s flesh-pierced suspension

The Phoenix, GRU’s award-winning student-run magazine, recently added two more accolades, both from the Society of Professional Journalists.

The Phoenix editorial staff – Editor-in-Chief Matthew Johnson, Assistant Editor Anna Garner, Creative Director Drew Greiner, and Business Manager Kaitlin Keller – was a finalist in the best magazine category, and Erica Ruggles won the Region 3 feature story category for “Hooked,” her first-person account of flesh suspension.

As a regional winner, Ruggles’ story will go on to compete for best feature at the national level.

“Erica is a talented writer,” said Dr. Debra vanTuyll, the magazine’s advisor. “They didn’t tell her they were submitting the story because they thought she’d tell them it wasn’t good enough.”

While the subject matter – being suspended above the ground by a series of hooks pierced through the skin – might raise some eyebrows, the writing is eye opening.

“My body starts to leave the ground as the rope pulls me up; the tugging on my skin becoming more intense, more earnest, as my entire body weight begins to be supported by nothing more than the hooks in my thighs, calves and back,” she writes. “I feel myself bounce a little, but before I can ask to be steadied, cheers and applause come from the small crowd gathered around me, and I realize that I am fully off the ground.”

VanTuyll said all the students are communications majors who realize the advantages of being associated with a regularly published magazine as successful as the 21-year-old Phoenix.

“It’s a good pathway to open up doors when you graduate,” she said. “Because people know you can get a product to market, so to speak.”

The Phoenix is published three times a year. The fall issue, which includes Ruggles’ story about suspension, is still available in print form and can also be found online here.