Why I Read the Same Novels Over and Over Again as if That’s Normal

downloadMy mother cannot read the same book twice. She just can’t do it. She has made exceptions for franchises like Twilight and Hungry Games, but only as a refresher before she goes and sees the movies. She is constantly looking for new material to entertain her, new characters to meet and new plot lines to follow. I, on the other hand, can’t put a good book down.

The first time that I read “Gone With the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell was in sixth grade. It’s 1,024 pages long and I finished it in a weekend. Since then, I’ve consistently read it again once or twice every year. Sometimes, when I’m having a bad day or am feeling entirely uninspired in my own writing, I’ll flip to the part where Rhett steals a horse for Scarlett, or where Frank Kennedy falls in love with a girl dressed in drapes as if that’s where I’d left off, and read on from there.

I’m not a fiction writer. I write fiction, sometimes, but it’s not how I identify. I am, however, a fiction reader. I love analyzing the same plot line over and over again; I love crying when my favorite character dies or losses love all  over again. I enjoy it just as much as I enjoy finding new literature to read.

I think, in part, it’s because I understand how much a writer has to go through to create something like this. To write a novel, or even a poem or a short story, a writer has to know their characters fully. We don’t usually make things up as we go along. We usually plan things out, we think about who our characters are; we think about how and why these things are happening to them. To a writer, their characters are real people. So to me, when I read about them, these characters are real people too.

The best part of writing is that it encapsulates humanity. I think that I read the same novels again and again because I can relate to them, even if the story does take place in Georgia during the Civil War or in a constant loop of reincarnation. I see myself in the characters and in the lessons they learn. I want to see their triumphs, to laugh at the funny things that happen in their lives and even to relive their heartbreak. Novels remind me that everything ends, but also that everything can begin again. It’s kind of hopeful. And so, I can’t ever really move on from a story that truly touches me.

Do you have any novels like that?

-Savannah Thanscheidt, Web Editor 

Making Peace

anna blogRelationships aren’t really something that I’m good at. I’ve never been the type of person that has had an easy time with making connections, whether they are romantic or platonic. I know the main reason behind this is me trying my best to protect myself from disappointment and heart-break, but I also have started to realize that walking this earth alone isn’t the correct way to live.

In the beginning of August, I decided that I would try something new, so I decided to make a connection with someone I knew I cared about and had the potential to love. it was a decision that terrified me but I had promised myself that I would try to change and put myself in uncomfortable situations. It turned out to be amazing, while it lasted. I knew going into something like this that it would eventually end because everything does end, but somehow I made peace with that and continued to fall for him.

It all ended less than a month ago. I originally thought this would completely wreck me and close me out to the world again but the loss ended up doing the opposite. At first it hurt to know that I wasn’t enough for someone who I believed was everything but the entire situation taught me that it’s okay to feel things, to let people in. I was now more open than ever. I wouldn’t cower away from  another opportunity to love someone again.

Now that Valentine’s Day is starting to make an appearance, I don’t feel like I’m going to miss out because I’m no longer in a relationship with him (platonic or romantic). I’ve made peace with the idea that I’m better off alone and I’m content that way. I’ve learned that happiness is found within me and not within someone else.

-Anna Dominguez, Junior Poetry Editor

Writer-ly Relationships

writers-blockDA’s writing department flourishes a plethora of interesting relationships. We spend four years getting into small groups and dissecting each other’s personal writing. As each year progresses, said writing blossoms into embodiments of the writer. We learn to pull inspiration and authenticity from our actual lives. Then, we go to class and sit idly by while class members peer into a sliver of who we are. On the page this calls to be a highly intimate experience. Yet over these years, I’ve watched us all leave the writing classroom and hardly even share eye contact. On the page, it would seem that these people reading into my life would be the closest friends. Writers, though, don’t follow societal norms. We have to go against the grain.

Instead, we writers associate in more subtle ways. We all walk around on campus as if a part of a secret society. As if we’re all too busy being the quiet observer in the corner -pooling ideas for the next short story- to acknowledge one another. Whenever I’d pass by a fellow writer, my lips would give a small smile accompanied by a quick head nod. This year, I’ve greatly stepped out of my comfort zone. Writing has taught me that nothing is learned if risks aren’t taken. Maybe it’s senior year blues, maybe nostalgia, but I’ve put in a lot more effort to form an actual relationship with these incredible people. Not a single trace of regret has surfaced since.

In the coming months, we’ll all go our separate ways. Inevitability at its finest. But these unique perspectives that I’ve sat beside for the last four years aren’t about to leave. As I continue pursuing writing, I’ll always refer to my original, and most cherished critics.

-Mariah Abshire, Editor- in- Chief