On Meaningful Long-Lasting Comfort

Seth's Blog Post PictureThe first image my mind jumps to at the words “warmth” and “comfort” is a plate heaped with fried chicken, pepperoni pizza, and macaroni and cheese. It’s tempting to keep rambling about unhealthy foods I’m craving at the moment—eating them satisfies me with a warm buzz to the stomach.

The next is my laptop perched on a soft, blue blanket. Netflix waits with its lopsided smile. This is also tempting, since I can go in-depth about the shows I’m really into and hopefully win them new fans. But I’m not going to dwell on either of these, because they only provide temporary contentment. The warmth and comfort that sticks to and infuses a sense of security within me comes from the words and actions of my friends and family—the special few I’m not ashamed to care about.

“I love you” is already such a direct, soul-baring statement, but there are so many other ways to verbalize it: “Are you hungry?” “Did you put your seatbelt on?” “How was your day?” Questions like these show affection and care, and when I’m asked these I feel a little twinge of happiness and reassurance. Trust me, I’m being 100% honest.

Physical contact is another aspect that really comforts me. I love being a touchy-feely person: hand-holding, back-rubbing, hugging. In addition to the heat they literally create, they also warm me up inside with—you guessed it—comfort. I guess it’s an animal thing to crave touches.

There’s the shallow, fleeting comfort that unhealthy foods and TV shows offer and the lasting warmth that the love family and friends offer. It wasn’t really hard for me to choose.

-Seth Gozar, Junior Fiction Editor

Writing Communities

1-writingIt pains me to think that some people finish their education and never read another book. Words have woven themselves so deeply into my life. If I stopped reading and writing I wouldn’t be myself anymore. It would be like reincarnation.I don’t know who I would become.

Lately, I’ve been telling myself this quote a lot: “Dream big, work hard, stay focused, and surround yourself with good people.” Right now my classmates and I share a common goal to work hard and focus on becoming better writers. A community like this should never be taken for granted. It should be appreciated completely.

Pretty soon, I will graduate from high school, and perhaps, I will never see some of these amazing people again. My creative writing class has become a family. Writing reveals such intimate, personal parts of ourselves, and over the past four years, my classmates have come to understand, accept and love each other. It takes a lot to create a community as strong as the one we currently have.

It’s strange to think where we’ll all be ten years from now. Which of us will stay writers? Which of us will get married, have kids, or live somewhere other than Jacksonville?

Maybe our decisions will not only surprise others, but ourselves. I’m such a calender, plan oriented person. Maybe I will make a decision and forget who I am. Maybe the person I will become will be better than the person I am now.

I can’t believe that all of the years of learning, workshopping, and critiquing are almost over at Douglas Anderson.Whoever the members of my class become, we will always know each other within the experiences of our pasts.

I can’t ignore the power of having other writers in my life. People influence each other. I want to stay connected with other writers. Being with other writers creates an even stronger desire to create an art with words.

I will forever try finding other writers to connect with. The power of a writing community creates incredible bonds and paves pathways for improvement.

In the future, the worst thing that could happen to me is that I would wake up one morning and realize I never pursued my passion.

My life is all about the people I surround myself with. Graduation, the summer, and the start of college will really test me. Staying connected sounds like a good plan, but people drift, and meeting new people and making connections takes a leap of courage.

For right now, I’m going to appreciate every moment I have with this writing community. We’re all different and come from different areas of Jacksonville but we cam together for one thing. The love and support a group of strangers can create when they come together is powerful. I can’t say thank you enough for my experiences here at Douglas Anderson with my teachers and peers, who have become my writing family.

-Kat Roland, Art Editor

Sometimes, It’s Hard to Walk Away

indexWriting is built on relationships. Writing is composed, constructed, resurrected, and thrown together with a relationship in mind. In literature, readers -myself included- are quick to judge the characters without in depth analysis or benefit of the doubt to the situation unfolding. As readers you place your struggles and the concepts of your own personal relationships into the text, sometimes letting it overshadow the new way of thinking the writer wants you to experience.

For example, last year, I read the book Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston. This book is sewn together with beautiful language as it follows the life of Janie, a mixed race woman in the early 1900s. Though I connected to the strength and determination the main character had the entire time in the book, I couldn’t understand why she stayed married to a man who abused her. Even after reading this book, I weighed the argument that Janie had a nice life married to a pastor but was muted into submission by him. I didn’t understand why she didn’t just pack her stuff and leave. As a senior in high school I have already begun to mentally pack my bags for college and have grown to understand Janie. I’ve learned that even when the front door is open it’s hard to leave the people and the place you’ve called home for so long, that there is a relationship you have to even the drippy faucet you’ll only notice when you’re gone.

As the year progresses I take the idea on relationships Hurston gave her character Janie and now look for it in other stories. Relationships run deep. They don’t need to be subjected to a list of archetypical characters. In the long run, they are really hard to walk away from.

-Chrissy Thelemann, Submissions Editor