Exploring the feeling of ache through print

UI senior Ava Gripp helped create Ache Magazine, a publication exploring the feeling of aching.


Lily Anne Smith

UI senior Ava Gripp poses for a portrait in Prairie Lights on Monday, January 14, 2019. Gripp serves as the editor of Ache Magazine, a collection of art and writing focused on the concept of ache and nostalgia.

Sarah Stortz, Arts Reporter

As a part of a class project, University of Iowa senior Ava Gripp oversaw a team to publish a unique arts and culture magazine.

Gripp had known she wanted to be a writer since she was in elementary school, whether it was keeping a journal or writing short fiction.

Last semester, Gripp enrolled in the course Publishing I: Introduction to Literary Publishing, in which students have the hands-on opportunity to create their own publication. Their project resulted in Ache Magazine, an arts and culture publication with the theme of nostalgia.

After spending a large amount of time editing and reading in college, Gripp said she was particularly drawn to publishing an arts magazine.

“I was wondering how I could read a lot and somehow make that into some sort of career,”  she said. “I discovered publication here, which is just reading, submission, and putting everything together. I love visual art as well, so compiling reading and making a beautiful visual aspect is all that I was asking for.”

I love visual art as well, so compiling reading and making a beautiful visual aspect is all that I was asking for.

— Ava Gripp

The work in Ache is heavily influenced by the feeling of nostalgia, she said, whether it stems from sadness or joy.

“It’s basically all about that pulling, aching feeling,” she said. “[Whether] you’re pulled toward a memory of riding your bike when you were a kid with your neighbor or driving down the highway with your friend, it’s all about that strong feeling.”

RELATED: UI Student waves her artistic wand in all the art-world corners

During a class session, Gripp said, her classmates were throwing out ideas of what to write about, and someone came up with the word “ache.” Later on, people in her class popped out various ideas related to aching.

“We were noticing a lot of the ideas we already had could be related to ache, and we didn’t want a specific, cut-and-dried subject that you can’t fit a lot in,” she said. “We realized with ache, you can fit a lot in it and expand the meaning.”

Gripp’s responsibilities as a co-senior editor consisted of overseeing all the aspects to ensure they could create a cohesive magazine.

The final product took the entire fall semester, and once the magazine was complete, the team threw a release party before finals week. After months of work, Gripp said, it was worth it to see a physical copy of the magazine.

“Everyone on the staff was very intelligent and wanted to do the work,” she said. “Working with them honestly made it very easy.”

While Ache remains a single issue magazine, Gripp said, she is toying with the idea of creating more volumes.

“It was a very rewarding experience,” she said. “Everyone was so on board completely, and with the amount of time we had in class, everyone went way in-depth.”