The LIT Cycle: Read, Write, Publish

Books are my escape. I recall my childhood and its stages through the books I devoured, and the series that resonated then and now. The theatrical release of A Wrinkle in Time stirred my devotion to words, which I have neglected for several months. I purchased and read the first three of the books in the Time Quintet by Madeleine L’Engle from a Scholastic Book Fair, and they now rest on my bookshelf, collecting dust, as is the fate of many books. My heart is heavy with the knowledge of the lives and characters that reside in pages, only to breathe when pages are turned.

It is this feeling that feeds my hesitancy about writing: the “so what?” behind creating any art, actually. For many years I wrote and created for myself, and very recently realized the benefit of my art to others. My cryptic writing is a diary entry and a glimpse into my brain. There are individuals who extend a grateful, encouraging hand to express the importance of the work you do. There are also individuals who praise a pretty cliche or figure of speech over original work. Although I doubt the importance of my efforts, I possess a creative energy that is debilitating if not released. Even as I write this blog post, I am poring over the assembly of these words and scrutinizing their individual meaning to the whole. I want the experience to be oceanic: vastly deep below the simple surface.
I wrote my first few poems for a school project at the age of 11, of which I only recall the decorative paper. (To my surprise, I still possess these [awful] poems and included a photo below). I kept an extensive document on my home computer, where I stored my thoughts, ideas, and fragments until I discovered Xanga in 2005. Through the platform I shared 246 hyperbolized posts oozing with angst until 2012. (I have all 246 of these, but I cannot possibly share the horror of my hormonal, teenage brain. Sorry, not sorry). Eventually I began to seriously focus on my technique, rather than spew words and feelings without structure, and simultaneously began to yearn for the expected satisfaction of publication.

I published a handful of writings with The Grimoire, my university’s annual creative magazine, and wrote for The Downey Patriot in high school and Chestnut Hill Local in college. I wrote poems to accompany art created by a friend for an exhibition titled Life in Print. I recently returned to journalism-type writing with a feature on Thai artist Sudrak Khongpuang in Palos Verdes Peninsula News. I learned last fall that one of my three submissions was selected for Incandescent Mind: Selfish Work, under the following parameters:

Incandescent Mind is opening submissions for selfish work. We want you to write poems, letters, reflections, postcards, etc. addressed to your younger self, current self, or future self. It can be a love letter, a warning, a celebration, an insight. Only guide is that it be addressed to yourself. . . We prefer work that is raw, personal, emotional, and/or vulnerable.

Still, more is possible and I want the “more,” but Fear stands in my way. There are select days when my desire for recognition outweighs my distaste for self-promotion. Opportunities may be lost to pen and paper. Writing is the most expensive art, because it charges the artist by minutes and seconds.

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

Reader — Please read on if you’re interested in learning more about the pieces I mentioned above.

  1. “Rector spurs Bible reading by challenging parishioners”, Chestnut Hill Local
  2. “Feminism in Philadelphia: the Glory Years’ by Karen Bojar”, Chestnut Hill Local
Writing by 11-year-old Alyssa
Untitled from the exhibition Life in Print

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