Interview with 2015-2016 Writing Contest Winner

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Elan Writing Contest winner, Terrence Scott

Terrence Scott won Élan’s 30th anniversary writing contest. He was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. He currently attends Flagler College, majoring in theater. Previously, he went to Douglas Anderson School of the Arts for creative writing. Poetry is his favorite form of literature and his biggest inspiration in poetry is Jasmine Mans.

Read his winning piece here: https://elanlitmag.org/submissions/contests/

Currently, what role does art play in your life?

Currently, art plays the role of catalyst in my life. It usually is a sort of trampoline that launches me into experiences that nothing else could. In my writing experience at DA, the art I was producing and inhaling worked not only as a means of connection and expression but also as a venue for self validation. A way for me to watch and document my growth and experiences, whether it be in a flash-fiction piece or spoken word poem. Each time I’ve written anything, it could be observed as a checkpoint in my life.

What was your inspiration for your winning piece?

The inspiration for my piece stimulated from my middle school experience at a private Christian school. I had learned so much about the spectacular side of biblical stories that I was left with a little bit of curiosity about the darker side. This piece is my exploration of that.

What is your process for creating art?

My process for writing is obtuse. A templated structure has never really worked for me. Usually, I get my best work after a emotionally, mentally, or physically  provoking event. It could be as simple as stubbing my toe on the edge of the bed or as life changing as a death in the family. Thereafter, [an emotional release happens] on paper. I just let myself say what I want to say. Finally, I revisit the piece after a few days of stepping away from it. Then, I can see things from a different perspective and attack metaphors and syntax and structure in ways that I couldn’t while emotionally impaired.

Do you have any tips for budding artists?

If I could give any tips to young artists, it would simply be to write what you know. For example, in the piece that I was fortunate enough to win the award with, it is obvious that I have no experience with casting plagues onto an entire civilization. However, there are moments and experiences in my life that have similarities to what the people surrounding that event must have felt. This is the key to making certain aspects in writing that you thought were intangible, tangible.