What It Means To Be an Artist

My biggest fear is waking up on a Monday morning, with warm sunlight seeping in through my paneled window, the sound of birdsongs coming in through the ventilation and realizing that someone that I love or have loved, is gone. The idea of that imaged latches onto my insides with bird claws and doesn’t let go until I find something to distract myself with. That’s where Kieona Wallace’s “Return Date: 5/11/1974” really hit me. With her sour story on a man who returns home from war, different than from when he left and the aftermath of the different feelings his wife has to go through. This is the  type of story that forces me into perspective of my own fears. The main character didn’t lose him, but at the same time she did and I can’t seem to wrap my head around how you’re supposed to cope with that. It reminds me of holographic figure. The person is there, they look the same, they sound the same but the smell is gone. The smile has dimmed and there’s something in the person’s eyes that make you uneasy.

Those are the type of stories that make Elan what it is. The ones that dig down into your core and bring something out of you, something that you can grasp onto and look at with wholesome eyes. The type of artwork and writing that makes you lose your breathe and take a step back wondering how someone so young could do so much. Without literary magazines like Elan, people would still be stuck in a idiotic whirlpool mindset that you have to a certain age to produce something as fantastic as Kieona did. People like to blame things one experience. My grandpa in particular preaches on a day to day basis that I can’t know anything about the world because I’m not old enough. He, as do many others, believe that unless I’ve lived for fifty years I’ll always be shallow and naive. Elan proves people like him wrong. You can’t sit down and write about things like this unless you know.

What people like my grandfather fail to realize is just because I haven’t been through a divorce, doesn’t mean I don’t know what heartbreak feels like. I learned that when at the age of two when my parents never came back. Or that because I don’t pay mortgage, I don’t know how to be responsible. I learned that age the age of twelve when my grandmother was getting to overwhelmed to raise a 9th kid. I’m seventeen and me, along with almost everyone else in my generation have more through more crap in one year than most people go through in their entire lifetime. Elan allows people to display that, it allows for all of those talented artists being shooed away into a closet to step out and show everyone what it means to be a writer. What it means to be an artist.

Sierra Lunsford, Website Editor


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