Saying Goodbye

It’s hard to believe that my time as a part of Elan is coming to an end. For the past two years my experience on this staff has built so much of who I am today. Freshman year, before I even really knew what Elan was, I knew that I wanted to be a part of it one day. For two years now, I’ve made so many memories and learned skills that I’ll not only take with me after graduation, but also that I’ll cherish forever.

When I first joined the staff, I had no idea all of the incredible opportunities I’d be introduced to. I didn’t know all the wonderful events I’d be a part of. Listening to the seniors talk about their roles and the things they’d been a part of the previous year, I was struck with wonder. For so long I’d felt like I didn’t play a big enough role in the creative writing department and this was how I could change it; by becoming involved, taking advantage of the opportunities that come with being on the staff. At the time, I wasn’t sure what position I’d take on, I didn’t think it’d be something serious at all. When I took on the role of Submissions Editor, I had no clue what it would lead into, that I’d become Managing Editor this year. I wouldn’t have had it any other way, though, because this position has been one of growth and maturity for me.

I was quiet, invisible almost, for the first years of high school. Joining Elan and taking on those responsibilities was the push I needed to finally open myself up some (now, some of my teachers wish I would stop talking). Being a part of a team pushes you, required a constant input. This year more than anything, I had to step out of my comfort zone to make sure things were getting done when they were needed. I was afraid of making my classmates think I was being controlling that I didn’t really want to do it, but I had to step past that fear and find a way to ask for things within deadline without being demanding. But also, without being soft. In that way, Elan has pushed me in growth.

One of my greatest memories of Elan is last year, once the seniors had gone, and it was just the four juniors with Mrs. Melanson. Having that first chance to open the print book and think, wow, my staff created this. My friends wrote these pieces. This art. In that moment, I stepped back and thought of the voice this book has in the world. Because even though our reach is still growing, we are mighty. And our words have power. That’s when I realized, too, how much my own writing matters. Because even though it hadn’t been published, that book was proof that words and feelings matter. So do my own.

There are so many things Elan has showed me. So many endless memories from the stress of planning homecoming to last year’s excitement of new submissions and web updates. This staff has changed me in ways I’d never imagined possible. Beautiful, crazy ways.

Kinley Dozier, Senior Managing Editor

My Time on Elan

As a senior who hadn’t been on the staff in the past, I had no idea what to expect going in. I had friends on the staff in the past and knew about blind readings and all that stuff that goes with literary magazines but I had no idea what I could contribute to Elan. I always thought to myself- what was my role?

Once I got assigned art editor I knew it was the perfect role for me. Everything I had always done in my writing time had been centered around art. I loved seeing weird, abstract things and shaping them into a disgusting, gruesome poem. Or seeing something so beautiful and big that it encouraged me to share whatever story I had myself. Art has been my biggest inspiration for my work because of the complexities and the way people bend the rules to art so frequently. Because of this, my time as an art editor has been greatly enhanced. I loved seeing submissions come in that were so beautiful and eye-catching but also carried such deep meaning, whether it be in context with a writing piece or not. The thing about Elan art is that all the pieces stand out on their own and almost don’t need explanation.

As a writer, my own work, as I said, had already been greatly influenced by art. Elan gave me that accessibility into a world I never even knew about. We managed events that involved heavy discussion with art liaisons where we learned about their world and ours. I learned so much individually about how art is managed and all the requirements they have to meet and their creative thought process as well. It was incredibly inspiring to see kids working on the Coffeehouse mural, for example, and see how they took a small sketch and turned it into this big, beautiful mural despite everyday life struggles and only a two week deadline. It helped make me crack down on my writing and push through during the hard times.

As a student, Elan has taught me many things that I definitely could take with me into the future. It’s really taught me about the value of team work and doing things on time. Elan was probably one of the only classes I would try and be as on time with assignments as possible. I knew if I didn’t get something in on time that I was jeopardizing other people’s roles and responsibilities and making the book process slower. Nothing was ever rushed but it was important to have the respect for one another to get things on time.

It also taught me that hard work pays off. During my year on the staff, I have seen beautiful events take place from homecoming to Yellowhouse that have really blown me away. Walking through Yellowhouse and seeing all the art and writing that everyone put together and laid out into a physical book was pretty jaw dropping. Not to mention everything that was student led and put together. Elan teaches you that even when you’re working hard you know you’re going to see a beautiful end result.

Natalie Filaroski,  Senior Art Editor

Michael Dickman

At the start of my freshman year of high school, I did not know how to write. I knew that I wanted to write, and I knew that I had a lot to say, but I hadn’t quite figured out how to articulate any of it. The poem that changed all of that for me was “Killing Flies” by Michael Dickman. I stumbled upon it by chance, and I was immediately captivated. The opening lines grabbed me and pulled me into a situation that I had never come close to experiencing, but that I somehow felt incredibly connected to

 

“I sit down for dinner

with my dead brother

again

This is the last dream I ever want to have

 Passing the forks

around the table, passing

the knives

 There’s nothing to worry about”

 – Killing Flies

 These lines stunned me, and expertly conveyed grief in just a few words. This poem came at an important time for me, and showed me the way that words can affect people in a way that can’t always be explained. During freshman year, I experienced the loss of purpose that comes with being 15. I was writing all the time for school, but I didn’t really know why. I didn’t feel like I was doing anything important. After reading this poem, I understood why.

As much as I love Dickman’s craft, I can’t say that is specifically what draws me to his work. Rather, it’s the unexplainable feeling I get each time I read one of his pieces.

The most valuable advice I was ever given as a writer was that specificity is your friend. In a lot of my early writing, I was trying to be as general as possible. I wanted to write what I thought people wanted to read, and I tried to be relatable to everyone. I was a 15 year old girl pretending like I lived in New York City, or played guitar in a band, or was struggling through college. In Michael Dickman’s poems, nothing is ever general. The detail is astounding, whether he is talking about his deceased brother, his relationship with his father, or Emily Dickinson.

“You eat the forks,

all the knives, asleep and waiting

on the white tables

 What do you love?

 I love the way our teeth stay long after we’re gone, hanging on

despite worms or fire

I love our stomachs

turning over

the earth”

– My Autopsy

These lines strike me in ways I can’t explain, but the feeling I get when I read his work resonates through me. In a way, this feeling is what I am searching for in what I read, and what I am striving to produce in what I write. Michael Dickman taught me how to speak, how to be honest about the things that it hurts to be honest about. Now, I know that I can find myself, and by extension my writing, inside his poetry.

Meredith Abdelnour, Junior Layout and Design Editor