Becoming a Genre Editor

The importance I attach to my appointment with the publication was spurred by the rumored quality and responsibility attached to current editors and their positions. I found myself drawn to the value in sourcing new literacy works, and found the prospect of producing a tangible product, such as the magazine, to be of alluring interest.

As genre editor, I get to determine and monitor the content that the publication selects, as well as ensure the preservation of the image we have cultivated in public events in and around the artistic spheres of greater Jacksonville. It is in this duality I have found myself in that I am allowed an integral role in the function of the product itself, as well as involvement in the managerial direction of the organization itself. My position, which allows a wide array of vested opportunities for involvement in all aspects of the publication, lets me engage with the artistic community of our community, and many facets of our production process.

As I am tasked with the vetting and control of quality for the pieces we receive from our community of writers, I am able to apply my especially stringent filter in order to source the finest pieces in the expansive pool of selections we receive. It is in this way that I hope to be able to bring to the publication a renewed spirit of quality and a standard for acceptance in our selections.

My hand in the presence of our magazine in events throughout Jacksonville and beyond will allow me, to an extent, the opportunity for supervision and direction to the way we present ourselves as a brand. My connections to the artistic community we pander to, as well as my knowledge of potential spaces for our introduction in events will bring to the publication a new dimension of viability in the realm of local literary talent. It has now become an investment for me, to be able to contribute a level of standard, and to ensure the level of communication delegated to me by my superiors permits me an emotional connection to the success of our product.

To become involved in something as goal driven as a periodical publication such as this involves the intense binding of my personal character to the performance I provide to the team. I inherently need opportunities for me to explore and grow facets of my artistic abilities, as well as contribute to a common goal with a team of others sharing a vested interest.

I expect my role as genre editor to be expansive, with responsibilities ranging through many aspects of the organization. I want to be able to wield both my family’s connections to the artistic community at large, as well as my desire for our success to further the interests of our fiscal success and mission. It is of supreme importance to my artistic growth, as well as the success of the publication that I have been allotted the space to operate that I have. Élan brings an exciting chance for experience and the improvement to the literary oeuvre of Jacksonville.

Sheldon White, Junior Fiction/CNF Editor

Rekindling the Beauty of Literature

I didn’t picture myself as a poet two years ago. Now, I’m part of Élan as a senior poetry editor. It has always been a goal of mine to represent the very best of what Douglas Anderson produces, especially in a department that rarely gets recognition or acknowledgment by the student body. Élan is the physical embodiment of what we do: create. I applied to the Élan staff wanting to give back to the literary community that has so deeply taken care of me for years. I’ve been very privileged in the programs and shows I’ve partaken in and I know that many young writers around the world don’t get the same opportunities whether it be a result of lack of resources, lack of interest in the arts, or lack of confidence. Being accepted onto the Élan staff has helped me understand the sheer magnitude of this platform, often undermined, where I can help and give my peers a voice and be heard as well as a larger perspective.

My privilege comes from Douglas Anderson and the opportunities granted that I otherwise would have no context for. I’m aware of the literary community and competitions and the process of submissions—only few young writers do. Élan has the ability to give a stage to the voices of teenagers with little access to the literary world, give a stage to upcoming young writers, and showcases just how powerful teenage creation is. Élan’s importance to people within my community is not unknown to me. We are able to produce and demonstrate young artistic excellence beyond our own communities, which is the most significant aspect of Élan. We get to lift our peers’ voices and represent our work as equal importance to established writers.

I won’t lie. I’ve been struggling as a writer throughout the few months with very little emotion toward creating until school started and I was introduced, once again, with the power of art. This isn’t to say I’ve been creating masterpieces every night. I’ve started to realize the art in learning how to edit, check, approve of pieces. How do we determine which piece is accepted or denied? How do we, as a team, show our magazine to locals and strangers? I find there’s beauty in rekindling the relationship between a creation and its future. Reading new pieces and evaluating our archives for different posters or needs subconsciously flows one’s mind with lines and poetic language, it sneaks into our brains late or during class, and the simplest, mindless engagement with art will create something. Something churns in my head, I can feel it, and I know it’s from familiarizing myself with this craft. The engagement with art does so much more than one realizes, and I’m excited to see how it will pave a way for my own writing.

Alexa Naparstek, Senior Poetry Editor

The Beginning

I’m the junior managing editor and I’m super excited for this school year. I first heard about Élan at the first arts area meeting my freshmen year, from that moment on I knew I wanted to be a part of the team. When it was time to fill out the course recommendation sheet the summer before junior year, I was ecstatic to pick Élan as my number one choice. Élan is important to me because I’m apart of such a great legacy. I’m honored to be a part of it, and I can’t wait to leave my mark. It’s important for me to be able to help spread the love of creative writing in the community. Community service is important to me. I really enjoy helping others, it warms me up inside. I know that sounds very cliché, but I enjoy helping others, especially with writing.

Often the first thing people say when they hear about Creative Writing is; “I can’t write”. I believe that statement is false. Because everyone can write. Putting together a sentence is technically writing. People believe their first draft must be perfect, which is wrong. First drafts are where you make the most mistakes, where you experiment, where you do too much or too little. There’s no such thing as the perfect first draft and that’s what I love to tell people I enjoy helping others find their creative grounds. So, I’m excited to help young ones write and learn about other styles of writing besides poetry because they don’t know about the others. Most young writers just think of creative writing as writing poetry or fiction. There are different genres inside of each other and they intersect, the possibilities are endless. There’s more than poetry. I also enjoy exploring other people work besides my own and Élan is the perfect place to do so. Not only do I get to read and see some of the art students at my school produced I get to see work from other students outside of my school and around the world. That by itself is mind blowing to me.

I believe being junior managing editor will allow me to step out of my comfort zone and communicate with others. Those who already know me knows communication is not easy for me, so being able to improve my communication skills will really help me in the long run especially because senior year is quickly coming up. Being managing editor will help me with my organization skills. I’m already kind of organized, but that’s commitment will allow me to take my skills to another level.  I believe being on Élan will help me explore my writing style and the genres I love to write, which will ultimately Improve my relationship with writing. Being able to write whatever you want whenever you want is such a blessing that you don’t really get to have your regular art classes, you must do what was assigned and there’s not really much wiggle room. So, I’m excited to explore my personal writing project. I believe this year is about growing a writer.

La’Mirakle Price, Junior Managing Editor