Yellow House Event – May 18, 2019

On Saturday May 18th Yellow House Gallery allowed Élan to take over their space in celebration of Élan’s role in the local and international literary community. The evening consisted of a staff panel and a reading of selected works from past Élan’s as well as the upcoming print edition.

Élan would like to extend a thank you to everyone who came out to participate in the conversation. We greatly appreciate your support of our mission to elevate the voice of the upcoming generation.

We also thank Yellow House for trusting us with your space and your continued support of Élan Literary Magazine. We look forward to the next one!

Defining Myself As A Writer

The experience of joining the staff of Elan has not only provided me with a new perspective on writing in general, but has encouraged me to think about my future as a writer. I have known that I wanted to write since I was a child, hurling through school with a pen and paper in my hand, falling in love with each and every writing or English class I could take. In fifth grade I realized that writing was truly the thing I wanted to pursue and from then on have pursued it whole-heartedly, leading up to my days at Lavilla and Douglas Anderson. My passion has come from my own words, but also the passion and inspiration I see in others. Elan has given me that opportunity to find inspiration so easily in the work of other artists just like me, yearning to have their voices heard.

Although I knew I always had this wild passion within me from a young age, my teachers clueing in to my love for words through my attentiveness to my work I hoped would get published one day and the highest score you could get on an FSA writing test. However, all I could say for myself for the longest time was “I want to write.” My family members and friends would ask me what I wanted to do and I simply answered “write,” but this answer did not feel good enough, considering that the world thought of writing as a hobby, and up until a certain point, I did too. I often felt discouraged because I wasn’t sure how to apply my passion to an actual career, continuously searching and coming up with different genres to choose from, but still nothing that would guarantee a job.

It wasn’t until I began at Douglas Anderson, and really until my junior year when I joined the Elan staff, that I began to see writing differently. Rather than picturing myself sitting at a desk as a freelance writer, I saw myself in an office, working with others and creating something that allowed me to expel the creative passions I have had since childhood. Surrounded by my classmates who not only loved to write, but were also working towards the same goal of putting together a book filled with inspiration of other artists, felt exciting and important to my writing journey.

Joining this staff and participating in all of the smaller steps as a team made me realize that there are many more options than simply “writing” as a career. As I begin to choose my college and build my future, I know my goal is to work on a literary magazine in my adulthood and earn my MFA in college. These past two years on the Elan staff has made writing become real to me and now when someone asks me what I want to do when I grow up I can be certain that when I say “write,” there is far more to it than putting a pen to paper.

Lexey Wilson, Senior Editor-in-Chief

How I Have Grown as an Artist and a Person

Whenever I am asked to reflect about my time on Elan, I immediately answer with how being a member of this publication has given me the validity that I needed to truly call myself an artist. Elan allowed me to take full and complete ownership over the part of myself that is an artist and more specifically, is and forever will be a writer.

Throughout the two years I have spent on this publication, I have been able to see art affect countless people and that is what truly sticks with me after each event that Elan participates in. The emphasis that Elan puts on youth voices and teen artists is something that should never be ignored. It is important that we highlight Elan as a student-led publication that publishes student-produced work. In doing this, we solidify our place at the table that isn’t typically occupied by teenagers. We are just as much artists as someone who is twenty years older than us. Age should not discriminate against art of any kind. There is no age limit or threshold you have to cross.

I revisit the Yellow House Art Gallery in times where I need to be reminded that I deserve to call myself an artist and that I need to be reminded of the impact that art can have across all generations. There is not one single demographic of people that are allowed to enjoy art. Every person alive is allowed the opportunity to enjoy art, to be moved by art, to create art. I was able to witness people of all ages in my community enjoy this exhibit that I helped put together. I hammered nails into walls to hang paintings. It was hands on art.

The four years I have spent at Douglas Anderson has been a constant battle between accepting the fact that my art is valid and accepting the fact that I do not want to pursue writing professionally. I thought there was only one thing that I could be and that was it.

Being on Elan flicked a switch for me. I can and will always be able to call myself a writer because that is what I am. The thing is, I am also a daughter. I enjoy doing math. I am a proud Asian-American adoptee. I deeply adore the smell of rain and prefer the beach during the winter. Someone who believes that the sum of my experiences makes up the majority of who I am. There is not one thing that I am and for the longest time, I tried to find the Single Thing that identifies me and everything that I am, but there is no Thing that does that.

Elan has taught me to embrace every part of myself no matter how combative each part is. Each part still makes a part of me and I wouldn’t be the person that I am today without Elan.

Winnie Blay, Senior Managing Editor