Elan & I

Kiara's Blog Post PictureElan was my freshmen dream. I remember our arts department meeting and being told about the different opportunities upperclassmen would offered and I knew Elan was for me. Here and now, being on staff as Layout and Design Editor I wouldn’t have guessed the expansive nature to which this publication has grown. Looking back just a few years ago at the staff members who created the books, I see that Layout and Design editor is a fairly new position.

As my role of Layout and Design Editor becomes more familiar to me and I put together the work of our Editors-in-Chiefs and all of our editors I have an appreciation of the dedication and commitment it took to hold together everything this book is for thirty years.

The old Elan books all the way from 1986, which are held together by staples, mean so much to me. I am honored to have them in archives and see the work of those from before me. Being a part of something that has so much meaning to others always holds great significance to me because I’m holding a legacy. I like to think of it like I’m pushing it forward along with the voices of all those old staff members with their own dreams, desires, and words and art from the past.

I recently got into the literary magazine for the first time. I love that I can say to my freshmen self I’ve achieved something I didn’t want to graduate without.

It’s all so astounding to see the physical evolution of Elan too. I remember studying the older books and one of my favorites has to be the Elan Winter edition from 2011, which was only five years ago, but the solid cover felt allusive to me. That edition stuck out to me because it was as if the words and art were all you needed to think about in the book. The content was enough, and I enjoyed that simplicity.

I am happy with the consistencies we’re developing as a staff and the path Elan is taking, but I love opening up the archives and seeing each unique magazine. The issues of those from the past, up to thirty years ago that I get to learn from is what makes me proud to be on Elan.

-Kiara Ivey, Layout & Design Editor

Writing Like Me

james-baldwin-the-fire-next-timeAuthenticity: n. The quality of being authentic; genuineness

On my first day of Senior Fiction, my teacher asked me to write down my personal definition of this word. For a Monday, starting my final semester as a senior in high school, I thought this was pretty heavy duty thinking. But after sitting at my computer, watching my cursor disappear and reappear a million –well, more like seventeen- times.

To me, being authentic is what babies are: one-hundred percent human, one-hundred percent embedded in their emotions—what they feel precisely in a singular moment— and completely uninhibited by what others do. If a baby wants to cry, no amount of food or rocking or begging on one knee will stop them from being heard. That’s what telling an authentic story is like to me.

While reading James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, I found myself fluctuating between two extreme emotions: awe (the man is a philosophical genius and an incredible wordsmith) and a high level of uncomfort. One of my favorite quotes from this book is “The person who distrusts himself has no touchstone for reality—for this touchstone can be only oneself.” It is always my greatest fear that I won’t tell a story honest, that I’ll sugarcoat a character or over exaggerate the plot.

Doubt is the number one killer of good writing and after four years of trying to find my own voice in my writing I completely understand why. To doubt your writing is to, by extension, doubt a part of yourself. There is no greater justice to telling a story than by telling it how you see fit for it to be told, and this is the best way to be sure that you will be proud of what you produce. To be authentic is tell all parts of a story— the beautiful, the ugly, the stuff your mother should never know about.

And in the end, that— the moment when you no longer fear what your voice has to say— is one of the most defining moment of a writers’ life.

-Shamiya Anderson, Nonfiction Editor