Phoenix

I’m always writing about soil, and water, and trees, and places that revolve around these things. I never intend on the first go round with a first draft of prose or a poem to add those things, but it always seems to happen. One of my favorite poems I’ve written, is in which feminine perspective in regards to the loss of societal control over one’s body is shared. The voice that houses this perspective is encased in lotus flowers, as I offer up another version of the section of Homer’s Odyssey, where Odysseus comes across the island of the lotus eaters.

Ironically, I’m currently writing a short story in which a man loses his wife to the sea, and now he’s haunted by siren song that drives him to madness. I know both of these pieces seem mystical, and are based off of supernatural creatures and stories, but I suppose that’s because the natural elements that construct them feel supernatural themselves. That’s probably why all the great, old, and dead writers people study probably wrote about running around in the forest, being in awe of everything.

I think I’m always subconsciously adding the natural world into my work because I am subconsciously always trying to explain things bigger than myself. The thing that is bigger than me can be societal expectations and the span of time from which they grew, or it can be racial commentary, or a good old existential/spiritual questioning. This is easy for me to do, combining nature in my pieces, because nature is something that always has been and always will be bigger than people. Even though man manipulates the earth, the rocks, the water, and the trees, the Earth will still be here, regenerating itself long after people are gone. The natural world is like a phoenix. No matter how many times it comes to the brink, no matter what occurs within it and upon it, with time, it will heal itself. Nature is a balanced thing. Humans disrupt that balance. Then there’s chaos. So I think that juxtaposition itself too, draws me to use nature. It’s like the stories we’ve heard of people taking things from the land they aren’t supposed to, facing great consequences.

Humanity has built itself up to think that we are the best thing there is to offer, that we are all there is, when in reality, a hurricane can destroy us so simply, and with such ease. Earthquakes swallow us up like old gods waking up from a nap. It’s insane to think about, how perfectly constructed it all is. If you have nature and people at war with each other, man may seem to win, but there’s always the underlying knowledge that we are so temporary compared to everything else. The land only needs itself, it never ever needed us, and on the occasions it does, it’s only because we have compromised it in a way that makes our own conscious feel heavier.

Nature is all powerful. It is reliable. It is something that cannot be questioned. That is why I feel the need to incorporate it into my words, because I want my words to be like that, even if sometimes I don’t know it. It’s beautiful and unknown and an enigma we can see and cannot see at the same time. I think I crave the balance. That’s why there’s always rolling waves, or petals, or soil birthing new life in my words.

Kiara Ivey, Layout and Design 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