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

The Biggest Change

PICTURE BrianaMan is not only made of skin, flesh and bones, but also of personal history. What influences someone to grow and shape himself or herself into the person they wish to be, is heavily affected by their experiences. Each of us has a story, some tragic and emotional, some simple, all equally as impactful.

At the start of my teenage years, when I became far more aware of the world around me, I began to recognize the emotional depths of people, specifically my father. As a kid, seeing him upset always registered as something temporary, something he could mend with a good night’s sleep, and his favorite snack. Soon, I learned, it wasn’t that simple.

I learned my father had clinical depression when I was fourteen and he was admitted into a mental facility for the first time. The weeks leading up to his admission, he had drastically changed. He lost twenty-five pounds and all the color in his skin.

He had always been the kind of man who danced on tabletops in fancy restaurants and laughed loud enough for an entire room to hear. He empowered others with his wisdom and he was a role model. He was a man who, more than anyone else, loved the art of living. He was also a man who was fighting for his life.

He didn’t experience another episode until the months leading up to August of 2015. The patterns remained the same. He lost weight and ambition and on August 6th, he took his life.

Often times in dealing with death, people express the hurt in losing someone else. They describe the pain felt in never seeing them, hearing them, or being with them again. I felt a much different pain.

Losing him meant losing my knowledge. He was the one who stayed awake with me at three a.m. eating peanut butter only sandwiches and discussing the history of the world. Losing him meant losing perseverance. He was the only one who always reminded me I was capable. The one who pushed me into the pool to prove to myself I knew how to swim. He showed me that words were art and that with them I was capable of changing the world. Losing him meant losing heart and passion.

With any loss, other things are gained as a consequence. I’m waiting for those things and, slowly but surely, I am learning that they do come eventually.

-Briana Lopez, Senior Editor-in-Chief