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Our philosophy

The mission of cultivate & illuminate is to develop every piece of writing we work with to its fullest potential; whether we are contributing as editors, or creating as authors. We value our authors voices and unique perspectives and therefore cultivate environments that are generative to solutions and growth, as we also strive to help our authors develop their voice, craft, and revision skills along the way.

Since we are also amateur gardeners at cultivate & illuminate, we value the natural world, both wild spaces and cultivated ones, and make provisions to minimize our environmental impact with our printing practices. We attempt to always approach editorial work in the same way we approach nature, with reverence, curiosity, and respect.

Who we are

Lydia Barger Editor, founder

Before I became an editor I was a server, a cook, a canvasser, a grocery store clerk, and an activist. Even then, I knew my passion was in the written word. I had always been an avid reader, keeper of journals, and a wax poet. Love songs, short stories, and curses mingled in my notebooks as I refused to look my life’s purpose in the eye. It was not until the covid pandemic when I finally realized there was nothing else I could do to avoid my calling, and became determined to use my time in solitude productively. I applied to college, quit my cooking job, and threw myself into my studies.

I am now a recent graduate of Portland State University and was thrilled to start the cultivate & illuminate, which was developed during my final year as a undergraduate. I cannot wait to share my zines with you, but until then, I will be accepting editorial work.

I particularly like to work on nonfiction projects with clients seeking to develop their project’s narrative, define their audience, or ensure clarity. When it come to fiction, I tend to enjoy working with clients looking to strengthen their plot arches, develop characters and their voices, or ensure their target audiences experiences an authentic world.