Vulnerability and Truth in the Spring Online Edition

In Élan’s 2020 Spring Online Edition, there are many pieces that reveal a vulnerability in these artists’ background and where they come from/what has helped them grow in their lives. Both the art and writing in this edition are so raw and honest. I loved going through the process of looking at both art and writing for this book edition because there is so much personal truth held in each piece that makes the book as a whole truly unique.

A creative non-fiction piece I connected to as soon as I read it is the piece, “Faults in a Guitar Strum” by Mia Parola. This piece focuses on the relationship between a daughter and a father and how the relationship has changed and developed over time. I especially love the descriptions used in this piece moving from memory to memory, because each description shows a new layer that was added to their relationship as time went on and she learned/understood more about her father as she grew older.

I found it so easy to connect with this writing piece because it reminded me of memories with my own father and how we have grown apart and together again. I especially connected with the moment where Parola’s father had to temporarily move for work and she describes staying up with him often in hopes he wouldn’t leave when he came to visit during that period of time. I’ve had similar experiences with my father because he works so often that every moment I do get to spend with him I hold onto really tightly and try to wring it out to last as long as possible.

There is a fear in the idea of “losing” this other person or having them less in your life as you both grow older and have to do separate things. Several other emotions (i.e. happiness, sadness, etc.) are added to the fear created by the experience described in this piece as part of you grows separate from that specific person, even when you remain close. That aspect of the different emotions and development in the relationship is something many people can relate to and can remind them of their own truths. Many people have experienced a situation like this, and like I did, can reflect on their own personal memories while or after reading through Parola’s memories and experience.

The honesty shown in “Faults in a Guitar Strum” is shown throughout the rest of our 2020 Spring Online Edition, with each piece telling its own story and truth. Hearing and seeing other people’s hearts in their pieces can be so inspiring, especially when you can relate your own memories to each story being told, whether it’s in the form of art, fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction. I strongly encourage you to read the Spring Online Edition, which can help inspire you to create a telling of your own stories through writing and/or art whether you knew you needed to tell a specific story about yourself or not.

Catriona Keel, Senior Web Editor

On “Becoming a Wishbone” by Riley Bridenback

This year’s Spring Edition has a lot of vulnerable, brave pieces of art and writing ranging from a large host of subjects. Some delve into the nature of being human; others cling to heartfelt, specific memories; however, one piece that stood out to be initially was “Becoming a Wishbone” by Riley Bridenback.

Bridenback’s piece speaks to people who have lost loved ones. As one of those people, this piece speaks in tones I am familiar with. Starting with the title, “Become a Wishbone,” clearly documents the speaker’s journey from point A to point B in their life. It seems to me, through this piece, that the speaker is acknowledging a change in herself—one that is far from welcome.

In the last stanza, “my skin in tight with abandonment, soft with grief. Like a / wish bone / being pulled by the greasy hands of children, I am waiting”. This small snippet shows the reader’s knowing of a change, and that which has made her full of abandonment and grief. The speaker is becoming those two emotions, through a traumatizing experience. The speaker expresses frustration with other people asking if they are “okay”. I have a similar experience with this, so this also stuck with me.

I am really looking forward to seeing this spring book edition in the hands of others. I wish to see artists work come alive with this new edition, and for them to receive the recognition that they deserve.

Jasper Darnell, Junior Layout and Design Editor

The Changing Élan

Élan’s Spring Online Edition’s accepted pieces all tell a story of their own that is brought together nicely through the fantastic art. In this issue, my personal favourite art pieces are the ones that are showing their own style in a unique way like Post Humous by Alli Russel, Composition 9721 by Tamia Brinkley, and Wonder by Kaitlyn Griffin. These are types of pieces that Élan rarely sees in our editions, and I’m glad that these interesting art works are being showcased.

 The most exciting aspect of this new Spring Online Edition is the new layout that was implemented. Élan is always looking for new ways to fresh up our brand while still engaging our audience and still being familiar. This new format of the book is a small change, but it is one that makes Élan look different from what we have been doing for so long. As the Senior Layout and Design Editor, I am extremely proud of my Junior counterpart, Jasper Darnell, in undertaking this new idea and being flexible and excited for change. I feel like what was accomplished during these difficult times was outstanding, and I’m so happy to be able to see everyone’s hard work pay off.

For written pieces accepted into Élan, I have a few pieces that hold a special place in my heart like: “Primal Instinct” by Sofia Miller; “Oranges” by Breana Kinchen; “tiger, what it means to leave behind” by Jaden Crowder. Out of these pieces, the one that struck me the most was “Oranges” by Breana Kinchen because of the intimate connections and memories that are being shown within this piece. When I first read this poem, I could feel the nostalgia and truthfulness that was unique to this speaker. This poem sets itself nicely into the book, but is also a piece that stands alone strongly.

This 2020 Spring Online Edition is an exciting issue!

Luz Mañunga, Senior Layout and Design Editor