No Single Life to Live, or Way to Feel

There are many beautiful and thoughtful pieces in Élan’s 2020 Online Spring Edition. A poem that comes to mind is “Primal Instinct,” by Sophia Miller. The sensory images and tactile descriptions make it come off the page. The same could be said for the choice of diction in this piece; its words are lively, creating a flow for the reader to move through. “Primal Instinct” gives a haunting reminder of what, I interpreted, women must go through in society – what we must go through in life. The last two stanzas especially bring this idea to light, its bitter-sweet details almost sticking to the roof of your mouth. I highly encourage that this is read this with a careful eye and thoughtful mind. It is truly a beautiful work, and shows the diverse selection of writing we have accumulated this edition.

Another work that stands out to me is “His Love,” by Lily Stanton; a fictional piece that depicts familial love and its strength through trial and hardship. This piece introduces us to the tired, almost melancholic mood, which connects to the dark setting the two main characters inhabit. The casual tone of the main character, James, puts us into the situation, his inner dialogue true to the emotional trials of having an aging mother. The specificity also makes this piece to come to life; little descriptions, such as the color and texture of the couch, or the elderly mother’s hands, gives us a space to see and feel. The dialogue is also very telling of the writer’s skill, as it develops the relationship between the two main characters and sustains enough tension to push the story forward. The same could be said for both the character’s actions, as well; every gesture and choice of body language drives the emotional plot.

It’s the final moments of “His Love” that truly deepen the wounds of this piece. In those moments you see time reverse; you see James yearning for the past, when he was just a boy. Then, an aching quiet spreads over the page as those final words are said, leaving you unresolved. That is why I always go back to this piece – the emotional depth is thought-provoking.

“Primal Instinct,” “His Love,” and many more will leave you in a similar, thought-provoking state. These types of works are important to art, because they expose you to different ideas and experiences – that connectivity and understanding of individual human experiences is key. You will find that many pieces in Élan’s 2020 Online Spring Edition deal with family and hardship, both in our selections of poetry and fiction. Coupled with these works are visual pieces to amplify their depth.

As an artist, myself, I feel as though it is vital for art to show us the array of experiences a human can have; that there is no single life to live, or way to feel.

Reece Braswell, Senior Art Editor