I am a Writer

lex bpTowards the middle of my sophomore year, I began losing my love and need for writing. I had exhausted the typical topics I was used to writing about, written about so many things I needed to write about, and worked out so much of my internal conflicts that I was… happy. So happy I was another cliché. Being in this satisfied place, I didn’t know what was next for me so I kind of just avoided that topic altogether, for a while at least. I figured it would go away, but, of course, it did not. I still had the rest of my life ahead of me, much less the rest of the school year and there were assignments due. While I was in this stuck place, lacking addiction I once had to writing, I wrote so many awful things about being happy. That’s when I began to think, “I don’t know if I can do this anymore. I don’t know if I am capable.” It wasn’t until I wrote a poem about new-found love, ironically the least cliché thing I’d written in so long, that I regained the knowledge that I am a writer.

I still did not feel like my normal, writer self, but after a talk with one of my beloved fellow writers and mentors, I made the decision to take the summer to stop, breathe, and stimulate my mind in other ways I had not; I needed the time to recharge and rediscover myself. I needed to stop over-thinking. I spent the time trying new restaurants, going to art museums, and going on long, hot hikes through nature. I did not read or write until one night I pulled out “If Only You People Could Follow Directions” By Jessica Hendry Nelson to loan to a friend. I decided to reread parts of it and sobbed in my bed for hours. Every emotion I had ever felt in my whole life came rushing back into my body and I thought about the first time I had ever read anything written by her. In the midst of self-discovery and freshman year the essay “Rapture of the Deep” was an in-class read. After that, it was like the marrow that had been sucked out of my bones was put back; I knew I was a writer.

It was inside of me and there was no going back; I could never not be a writer.

When I read Nelson again over the summer, it rekindled the sort of hunger we, as artist, feel in the bottom our chests to create, but also explore humanity. We are very curious human beings; we want to know. I want to know. Through my journey this far, I’ve come to realize that I can write about my situations or the things I am still struggling with in a way that is not sad or happy, but simply thoughtful. Writing does not amount to happy or sad; it amounts to the meaning of life or, what meaning you give your life.

Lex Hamilton, Co-Marketing/Social Media Editor

Rejuvenation Of Writing

KB PicTo be a writer does not mean that that piece of you is always going to be accessible. Sometimes, you can go weeks or months without feeling the need to put anything of value into this outlet. Often times, it is a certain circumstance that takes this fire from you. Ironically, this becomes a cause of misery that works as fuel to start back up again on the individual’s journey as a writer.

Personally, the experience that made me temporarily quit writing was when I got my first speeding ticket. It was not the ticket that really took my motivation, but the fact that this fine resulted in me losing my car for several weeks. In addition to this, I had to work to gain the funds to pay for it. Without this transportation, I realized how much freedom I didn’t have before I gained my license. This confinement resulted in me remaining indoors, wasting my time with sitcoms and the drawn out plots of video games.

While this may sound like a pleasurable alternative to leaving the house, as it usually is, it quickly became lonely when none of my friends could be reached through anything other than text and the occasional phone call. I lost my motivation to try to do anything. It seemed that with my loss of freedom came the loss of responsibility and admiration for the kind of life I was on the path to living.

As I noticed more frequently how far behind I was on the lives of those I once cared about, I decided something would have to change. I found the old bike that I had once been closely acquainted with before the introduction of a car. The wheels weren’t deflated yet so I kept riding north until they gave out to the sand they met. I seemed to have forgotten how close the beach was to where I once lived. By this time, it was nearing sunset and the sky lowered its eyes to cast shades of violet, grey, and pink along the thin space between the sea and the sky. I sat beneath an abandoned life guard chair as people left the spectacle of the shore behind. I remained stagnant, moving the sand gently over and under my toes thoughtfully.

As dramatic as it sounds, I felt so filled and peaceful then that it only felt appropriate to pull out the notebook that followed me everywhere and its accompanying pencil; I had to write. Though what I wrote wasn’t anything incredibly eloquent or beautiful, it was enough to make me feel as if I had rejoined the untied ends of my disconnected attention together. From there, I suddenly began to turn back to my methods of using writing as a form of release. This practice allowed me to gain peace with myself and my decisions.

As an appropriate accompaniment to this rejuvenation, the next week was the beginning of school. The reconnection with my friends and a well-planned schedule made it much easier to remain consistent with the art I practiced and how often I produced it. Since I have begun again, I feel as if I am reconnecting with an old friend. Though I am behind, I am confident that writing is something that will follow me through everything, despite its ebbs and flows. In my experience, it is the most underappreciated foundation of the human temple. I hope to one day not neglect this pillar as often as I have, as I clearly see that this practice only truly has a positive impact on the life of the writer and, if the writer is successful, the reader.

Kathryn Wallis, Junior Art Editor

Writing Weird Stuff

logan-pictureIt’s more than a little painful to read my old work, and by old, I mean both the stuff I wrote four years ago and what I wrote four days ago. It’s a constant process of asking, “What in God’s name was I thinking?” and having no response. And while this process does cause me to cringe, it also allows me to see how much I’ve moved forward in my work, how far I’ve come and how much further I can go.

            The general style of my writing has actually remained the same; I have always stayed simplistic in diction, but gotten caught up in the images of what I describe, almost like I’m writing poetry into my fiction. I think the stagnancy behind this is because that’s just the way that I write. I can alter this style after I bust out a first draft, but, to me, a story always starts out bare, aside from its visual aspects. I will admit that a great shift within my writing is that I have gained the ability to shed excessive images that mean nothing in terms of intention, though I still catch myself slipping up sometimes.

Probably the most significant change that I’ve found within my writing is that, in the midst of last year, I decided to start writing weird things. People tell you to write what you know because otherwise you’re stuck with conjecture. From my experience, that advice is total crap. I took familiar subjects and shoved them into strange situations: a girl stranded with her recently introduced half-brother in a desert, a boy stumbling across a body on a golf course, a how-to guide on communication with lost loved ones. One of my major influences in writing all this partial-nonsense comes from the book Stories You Can’t Unread by Chuck Palahniuk, the author of Fight Club. The former is a collection of short stories that are completely submerged in the strange and surreal, and within these weird circumstances, I found that I was entirely interested in what the speakers had to say. I wanted to translate this interest to my own writing, so I started the process of delving into the wild, stuff that I plain hadn’t seen written before. For example, everyone has read a story about a failing marriage, but what about a failing marriage following an accident in which the wife was struck by lightning?

Through this type of exploration, I found myself more intrigued and interested in what each story has to offer; once I was hooked in writing the story and had a healthy interest in its direction, the readers also tended to gain more of an interest. I realized that I had to care about what I wrote in order for anyone else to care. So, my ultimate advice for that story that is lurking in a file somewhere, beaten down to the bones, is to make yourself interested in it again. Introduce a sick dog into the mix. Throw some aliens in. Have fun!

-Logan Monds, Social Media Editor