Saying Goodbye

It’s hard to believe that my time as a part of Elan is coming to an end. For the past two years my experience on this staff has built so much of who I am today. Freshman year, before I even really knew what Elan was, I knew that I wanted to be a part of it one day. For two years now, I’ve made so many memories and learned skills that I’ll not only take with me after graduation, but also that I’ll cherish forever.

When I first joined the staff, I had no idea all of the incredible opportunities I’d be introduced to. I didn’t know all the wonderful events I’d be a part of. Listening to the seniors talk about their roles and the things they’d been a part of the previous year, I was struck with wonder. For so long I’d felt like I didn’t play a big enough role in the creative writing department and this was how I could change it; by becoming involved, taking advantage of the opportunities that come with being on the staff. At the time, I wasn’t sure what position I’d take on, I didn’t think it’d be something serious at all. When I took on the role of Submissions Editor, I had no clue what it would lead into, that I’d become Managing Editor this year. I wouldn’t have had it any other way, though, because this position has been one of growth and maturity for me.

I was quiet, invisible almost, for the first years of high school. Joining Elan and taking on those responsibilities was the push I needed to finally open myself up some (now, some of my teachers wish I would stop talking). Being a part of a team pushes you, required a constant input. This year more than anything, I had to step out of my comfort zone to make sure things were getting done when they were needed. I was afraid of making my classmates think I was being controlling that I didn’t really want to do it, but I had to step past that fear and find a way to ask for things within deadline without being demanding. But also, without being soft. In that way, Elan has pushed me in growth.

One of my greatest memories of Elan is last year, once the seniors had gone, and it was just the four juniors with Mrs. Melanson. Having that first chance to open the print book and think, wow, my staff created this. My friends wrote these pieces. This art. In that moment, I stepped back and thought of the voice this book has in the world. Because even though our reach is still growing, we are mighty. And our words have power. That’s when I realized, too, how much my own writing matters. Because even though it hadn’t been published, that book was proof that words and feelings matter. So do my own.

There are so many things Elan has showed me. So many endless memories from the stress of planning homecoming to last year’s excitement of new submissions and web updates. This staff has changed me in ways I’d never imagined possible. Beautiful, crazy ways.

Kinley Dozier, Senior Managing Editor

My Time on Elan

As a senior who hadn’t been on the staff in the past, I had no idea what to expect going in. I had friends on the staff in the past and knew about blind readings and all that stuff that goes with literary magazines but I had no idea what I could contribute to Elan. I always thought to myself- what was my role?

Once I got assigned art editor I knew it was the perfect role for me. Everything I had always done in my writing time had been centered around art. I loved seeing weird, abstract things and shaping them into a disgusting, gruesome poem. Or seeing something so beautiful and big that it encouraged me to share whatever story I had myself. Art has been my biggest inspiration for my work because of the complexities and the way people bend the rules to art so frequently. Because of this, my time as an art editor has been greatly enhanced. I loved seeing submissions come in that were so beautiful and eye-catching but also carried such deep meaning, whether it be in context with a writing piece or not. The thing about Elan art is that all the pieces stand out on their own and almost don’t need explanation.

As a writer, my own work, as I said, had already been greatly influenced by art. Elan gave me that accessibility into a world I never even knew about. We managed events that involved heavy discussion with art liaisons where we learned about their world and ours. I learned so much individually about how art is managed and all the requirements they have to meet and their creative thought process as well. It was incredibly inspiring to see kids working on the Coffeehouse mural, for example, and see how they took a small sketch and turned it into this big, beautiful mural despite everyday life struggles and only a two week deadline. It helped make me crack down on my writing and push through during the hard times.

As a student, Elan has taught me many things that I definitely could take with me into the future. It’s really taught me about the value of team work and doing things on time. Elan was probably one of the only classes I would try and be as on time with assignments as possible. I knew if I didn’t get something in on time that I was jeopardizing other people’s roles and responsibilities and making the book process slower. Nothing was ever rushed but it was important to have the respect for one another to get things on time.

It also taught me that hard work pays off. During my year on the staff, I have seen beautiful events take place from homecoming to Yellowhouse that have really blown me away. Walking through Yellowhouse and seeing all the art and writing that everyone put together and laid out into a physical book was pretty jaw dropping. Not to mention everything that was student led and put together. Elan teaches you that even when you’re working hard you know you’re going to see a beautiful end result.

Natalie Filaroski,  Senior Art Editor

Lessons for What’s Next

It’s strange to be writing my final blog post for this staff. Since I started them as a junior, being a part of Elan Literary Magazine has taught me an unbelievable amount about what it means to be a writer, a leader, even to be an independent person – lessons I’ll keep with me in my next stage of life, in college. Being part of Elan has been a part of my growing up. I stepped onto the staff not sure what my role was going to be, pretty doubtful it would include something so full of responsibility and challenges. However, listening to the senior staff members at the time caught my attention. I wanted to find something new, something that would test me in new ways. High school was, I’m sad to say, getting a bit boring. I was tired of moving from class to class, only picking up the information I needed for the next round of testing, before moving on to something else. I wanted to learn what it would be like to dedicate my time and energy entirely to a single goal, and watch it pay off to something much larger than a test.

Being part of this staff has, in fact, been challenging in more ways than I could have anticipated. Learning how to be an editor is learning how to make snap decisions, but also build up a great deal of tiny details over long periods of time. It’s coordinating a large group of people, but also honing in on your own judgement, and learning to trust your decisions to lead the staff forward. Creating the 2017 Print Book was a crucial moment for me. The senior staff members were on their way out, and it became overwhelmingly clear that I was about to become the head of this process. There was so much that needed to get done, a whole slew of tiny, tiny details. We had totally unforeseen challenges, and I had to adapt, come up with creative solutions by discussing our situations with the faculty advisor and other staff members.

In the end, when we had the 2017 Print Issue in our hands, I realized why I had been putting so much work into the magazine. I got to hold this tangible collection of young voices, all creating and trying to comprehend the world around them. It felt like every art piece and every writing piece were in a collaboration, part of a larger whole which could express how student artists and writers were navigating themselves in a world that was rapidly changing between 2016-2017. It was one of Elan’s most political issues, and by curating these pieces, I realized how much even students had the power to express injustice and a need for change. How crucial it us for us to speak our minds, because, in doing so, real drive for change results.

In my own future, as I head to college, in a position to conduct research in the STEM fields, I’m carrying these lessons about art into the broader perspectives. Because being part of Elan is not just about reading and writing. It’s about setting the framework for a better world, a world we want to see: where everyone has a voice, and everyone is empowered to search for themselves. Being an editor allowed me to work with these future goals, these young agents for change, and it’s taught me how much I need to keep working for a better world, whether in a lab or selecting writing to publish, and trying to reach the biggest community possible.

Ana Shaw, Editor-In-Chief