by John Castle
I remember being eighteen and sitting in my therapist’s office one summer day. I sat in the center of his large couch with my hands folded as he read to me from an old beaten up spiral notebook with several tears, stains, and scribbles that decorated it’s pages. Each page described a fear, a confession, a hatred, a sense of sorrow, all with a tone of dread and hopelessness. I was taken aback by what I was hearing, and a part of me questioned whether the author was being a bit dramatic. It was astonishing to hear the amount of pain the writer of this journal had been in. The only thing though was, this was my journal. I was the one who had filled these pages. All of these fears and frustrations were mine, and I had spent a good portion of my summer that year documenting them in that very notebook. Except, at that moment it was as if these feelings didn’t belong to me at all.
by Marissa Stanko
Trying to find your identity as a writer is nerve-wracking. There’s pressure on all sides to do certain things or be a certain way or write at certain times and so on and so on. It took me a long time to feel like I was a writer, and even now I struggle with feeling like I don’t write “the right way.” One of the things I always felt forced to justify as a writer, even to myself, is that I like to listen to music while I write, and it isn’t instrumental. Studies, blog posts, and articles galore tell me that I shouldn’t listen to music while I write, or that if I do, it should be classical, instrumental, or a playlist designed to fit the piece I’m working on. Lyrics distract from writing, they say. Music puts your focus somewhere else. And I know for many people, that must be true.
by Christina Cullen
Last week my father asked me “What do the letters A.D. stand for?” as I racked my brain for the Latin Anno Domini and realized how little I had paid attention during my Catholic school days. He continued, “You know, when you search for something on Google, you sometimes see the letters A.D. What does that mean?”
My father recently retired from a corporate job and started his own signage business. He is a master networker and can make personal connections in minutes, but for him the online realm is a new landscape. Despite being the first in our family to own a computer, smartphone, and tablet as well as the fact that Google Adwords, the world’s first “self-service advertising program” was launched in 2000, two decades passed before he realized these two tiny black letters at the top of a Google search are the abbreviation of advertisement.
by Edward Benkin
These have indeed been trying times. A global pandemic, a heated political environment, and social unrest have led to one of the most stressful climates in decades. In addition to the physical toll from Covid, the mental health of many have been affected in a way many Americans have never experienced in their lifetimes.
The cure? Write, write write.
There has never been a better time to sit down in front of your computer (or your desk with a pen and pad of paper) and write out everything from your feelings to whatever poetry or story ideas race across your brain. People have different ways to relieve stress, and writing for fun or writing out one’s fears or anxieties may just be the cure for the emotional trauma many have been going through in recent months.
by Taylor Blum
Ever since I was a child writing “books” in my third-grade class about a superhero cat that shot lasers out of its eyes, I knew I wanted to write novels. What I also learned growing up is that I enjoy acting and the comradery that forms between yourself and other actors on stage. After finally having the opportunity to act in college, alongside earning a BA in English and creative writing, I learned how these skills go hand in hand.
The most important thing I realized from my acting experience was how much dialogue affects my writing. Dialogue has always been so important to me–I can’t read something if I find the dialogue unrealistic or stiff. Honestly, the common mistakes of stiff, expository language makes me cringe and takes me out of the story. Dialogue is also something I realized is hard for writers to master. The good news is that when it comes to plays, dialogue is arguably the most important part. By reading a play, you can see how so much can be said with so little words, and by performing in a play, you become aware of your own voice and how conversations work. We’re often told in fiction classes to pay attention to conversations and to eavesdrop on people to understand how people talk, but this isn’t always manageable, and sometimes feels a bit weird to do. But when acting, it is your sole job to interpret the dialogue, to understand how to raise the subtext out of it, and even change the overall meaning of the words through your tone. This teaches you to understand when less is more in dialogue.