by Gianna Forgen
When I was in elementary school, I read all the time. I vividly remember, during a snack break, I had become so entranced by my book that I had missed my teacher calling my table for our turn to use the bathroom. I remember, too, the look on her face, probably wondering if it was worse that I hadn’t listened, or worse to chastise me for reading.
Back then, it felt like everyone loved to read. When we filled out posters at the beginning of the school year detailing our hobbies, two took precedence above all others: reading and writing. As students, we had to read, of course, but it seemed like everyone still enjoyed it, at least the kids in my class. In elementary school, a boy I was friends with and I read the entire Harry Potter series at the same time–he finished Deathly Hallows only fifteen minutes before me. He was one of the most voracious readers I knew.
by Qwayonna Josephs
Looking back now, it’s crazy to think that my introduction to Black-led stories was a book with a Black man on the cover, holding a gun, a book that was distributed to schools from Scholastic and praised as honest portrayals of inner city kids. Yet, every one of those books I read came from the mind of Paul Langan, a white man who claims in an interview that his intention behind the idea was sparked by minority students wanting to see themselves in print. I’m sure that drew lots of students to the books, seeing someone who looked like them on the cover―it definitely drew me in―but, with maturity and clarity, I now understand the harmfulness of these stories and characters. While trying to show our “experiences,” the books highlight negative stereotypes, slap on a problematic cover, and end up in the hands of impressionable elementary, middle, and high school kids that are desperate to see themselves in a story.
Amanda Smera Welsh
If you are a writer, especially a writer in the middle of a graduate program, you will undoubtedly encounter many craft materials through the course reinforcing the need to establish a discipline to your own writing.
Sometimes, they can sound a little delusional, which was precisely my reaction when I read Robert Olen Butler’s “From Where You Dream.” It truly is the most overtold advice any writer has heard before: “You may not be ready to write yet, but when you’re in a project you must write every day. You cannot write just on weekends. You cannot write this week and not next week; you can’t wait for the summer to write. You can’t skip the summer and wait till the fall. You have to write every day. You cannot do it any other way. Have I said this strongly enough?”
Yes you have, dude, now please shut up!
by Cat Reed
Those were the roots that the newly created stories ventured forth from, but it would seem that instead of embracing that part of the history, authors would rather avoid the fanfiction they used to write as one would avoid a dog in desperate need of a bath.
by Ellie Cameron
People like to laugh.
We laugh at jokes on our phones, we laugh at characters in sitcoms, and we laugh with our friends telling stories to embarrass each other. I think it’s safe to say that the average person picks up some sense of comedic timing simply by consuming comedy.
So why do we feel that we can be funny, just not in writing? Is it lack of confidence? Is it lack of skill? Is it the lasting trauma of high school writing classes? Or is it a matter of context?