Élan’s Legacy, and How It Shaped My Own

I truly care about Élan, and I hope that dedication is felt by future members. I want incoming students to see the hard work my peers and I accomplished during events like read-thrus, ArtWalk, Homecoming, Coffee House, and so on, and use that as a guide to propel this magazine forward. With each passing year, Élan is able to evolve the caliber of its works and its visibility in the local art scene, and it has been an honor knowing my efforts contributed to that.

In Élan, we are a collective. In this group, at least, we recognize and respect its thirty-one year heritage. There’s no hesitation in putting aside personal differences to ensure the product we put out is worthy of our title, school, and identity: Élan International Literary Magazine, student-run by Douglas Anderson School of the Arts’ Creative Writing Program. It’s a great name—one that’s audibly aesthetic yet also has the history to back it up.

I’ll admit it does sound like I’m laying it on really thick, but all of my praise is genuine. I’m incredibly thankful because Élan changed my life, no lie. The Élan legacy played a large part in shaping who I am today. Long story short, I was terribly insecure about my writing, all throughout middle school, and most of high school. I did have moments where I looked at something and thought, “Yeah, I wrote this, and no one else could’ve,” but for the most part, I didn’t think I had a place in this department. This insecurity was enough that I avoided confronting my cultures, fears, and identity in my own pieces. I was afraid of my voice.

Élan gave me that voice. Being chosen for a position at this magazine showed me that I had potential. It told me that I had a place in this department, and that my voice mattered. Taking on a specific role with specific expectations conditioned me, in a good way. I learned what I was capable of, which was certainly more than I’d given myself credit for. Being in Élan in junior year grounded me. I felt closer to the department which gave me a safe atmosphere to write, and my confidence grew.

I write this at the end of senior year, happy with who I am, thanks to Élan. It was at the beginning of this school year—about a year into my “job” at the magazine, that I felt comfortable enough to tell myself “stop.” Stop being scared of who you are. Stop blocking out the pain and sadness and distance you want to write about. Stop keeping good work from coming out (haha)!

And that’s what I did. My confidence and writing improved because Élan awakened me, in the same way it did others before me, and I’m sure will continue to do. Even our adult sponsor, Tiffany Melanson, proudly states that Élan gave her her voice, when it was a voluntary after-school club. Today, she leads us, an actual class we come to every other day. Élan will continue to grow, as it inspires others to grow alongside it.

Seth Gozar – Co-Fiction Editor