A Loss for Words

I don’t think there has been a very specific moment in my life where I’ve lost my love for writing. I believe I’ve had a number of little moments where I felt like giving up on writing for many reasons; whether I was stuck in a piece or couldn’t get a piece started at all, or I was just disappointed in what I wrote, that it didn’t feel like I’d taken the writing to its full potential. I could never imagine myself totally giving up on writing. I can’t help but write every day, not just because of classes and assignments, but also because my need to put down the things I see. I observe my surroundings and in them, I find characters, plot and conflict, abstract ideas. These things I put down, mentally at the time, then later on paper. Truthfully, I don’t immediately put these ideas to the test in a piece. I write fragments and leave them as is.

Although jotting down ideas is a part of being a writer, it is nowhere near the full scope of writing. At the beginning of each school year is when I, in a way, reboot myself as a writer. During the summer, I never find time to write pieces and hardly find time to read. It’s not necessarily that I lose my love for writing, it’s just that I lose some of my abilities. I become unfamiliar when I’m away from it for too long. I attribute my ability to rekindle my love for writing to my teachers and peers. Again, I regain it at the beginning of school. Assignments in creative writing can be very stressful because they require a lot, mentally and emotionally. Being in the class environment with people who have the same love for writing as I do and knowing that they understand is encouraging. It’s a reminder that I’m not alone and that it’s not just a grade, it’s practice within my craft. I’m forced to clean off the rust of not having written anything for two and a half months.

Another way I rekindle my love for writing is reading other people’s work. It’s another way of understanding that I’m not the only one on a journey to knowing myself, things instilled in me and around me, things I know too well and don’t know at all.

Lindsay Yarn, Digital Media Editor

The Jacksonville Public Library (A Vital Community)

PICTURE AracelyI have always been a regular of libraries, often running around in the children’s section when I was younger, and musing over poetry in nonfiction when I was of age. But it did not occur to me until I was older that libraries were an establishment that played a vital role in my own community.  Not only promoting literacy, but hosting community workshops which inspire and educate. In the children’s department, they put on an event, “Superheroes Read,” where kids dress up as superheroes and keep a list of the books they’ve read. Running around in capes, they come to associate reading with a positive memory. For teens, they host writing contests, where submitters write a story to a theme, and volunteer at the library to be considered eligible, thus fostering artistic creativity.

There are also valuable services for adults. In the main library, they hold classes for speakers of other languages to learn English, which give adjusting immigrants the opportunity to learn to communicate and be articulate in our society. All of these things in combination show that the library is a valuable resource for the people, as well as a place to check out an interesting book, and sit down leisurely to crack it open.

It hurts me to see cities and politicians not respect the roles libraries play. Indeed budgets to fund the libraries are tightening in an unmerciful fist. Where else would impoverished kids with homework, but no computer, go to type assignments? Where else would the homeless go to relax and read? Where else would free knowledge be made so readily available?

Whenever I go to the library, I browse bookshelves with new-found interest and stop when I see a book about healthy cooking, cultural revolutions, or classics. I take it off the shelf, and I read.

-Aracely Medina, Senior Poetry Editor

Creating Communities

8367182777_4bbbe5eb7fCommunities are an essential part of living. They bring people together and establish a common ground. Too often people are trying desperately to become themselves by taking the parts of others. Communities limit those distractions. They remind people what it is to be united by individual thoughts and beliefs. A community groups like-minded people and gives light to each of their differences.

As a child, I was never a part of many communities. I wasn’t on the soccer team, I didn’t have dance after school. I’d only really been a student and a daughter, not much more. As I grew, I found myself searching for a sense of community. I went on to pursue a study of writing and soon became very close to the literary community. It was a different world, being surrounded by people who shared the same sole purpose as I did. I wanted to write and I wanted to read, and everyone around me wanted the same. I developed many friends with similar interests, and unlike ever before, I felt myself belonging somewhere other than where I was required to belong.

When I was invited to join the Elan staff, I was eager to experience the same sense of community I had recently learned about. What I got instead was life changing.  The lessons I learned about communication and unity educated me on levels far beyond the walls of the classroom. Each of us on the staff were equally as passionate and excited to commit to something bigger than ourselves and we worked together to put on the greatest events, and create the best book we possibly could. The community we developed as a staff, taught us each to be our own leaders, listeners, and achievers.

Each of the communities I have been involved me have helped me grow and mature and as I move forward I hope to not only join other communities and learn from them, but to create my own. Uniting people by their similar interests and impacting them in such a way that they grow and mold into new and better people, ready to open themselves up to the world.

-Briana Lopez, Senior Editor-in-Chief