As a self-proclaimed writer, I want others to be just as passionate for the written word as I am. Being a part of Elan has allowed me to voice my own passion for the work that is done within the confines of Elan. We aren’t just a literary magazine. Elan has solidified who I am as an artist.
In my first two years at Douglas Anderson, I didn’t truly consider myself an artist. I as a person who wrote. I wasn’t a writer. Yes, my work was meaningful to me and affected me, but I didn’t think it had a large impact on anyone else. I didn’t even let my parents read my work.
As I became a member of Elan, I realized that I had to take myself seriously. If I didn’t think I was a writer, then I had no right to be reading other writers’ work. My third year at Douglas Anderson was when I wholly and entirely considered myself not only a writer, but an artist.
In the Spring of my junior year, Elan was given the opportunity to curate an entire gallery. This was one of the most defining moments for me. It was recognition from my own local art community. Hope McMath is well-established and was giving a staff of high school students the chance to showcase other high school students’ work. It was a point of realization that what we were doing in Elan was so important.
I was asked to read at the opening of Yellow House and I think that opened another door for me as an artist. A group of people I didn’t know gave me their time and attention to listen to a poem that I had written. There was no caveat. Everyone at this event was there because they wanted to be there. It was people coming together to enjoy art and take it all in and I had a role in making this happen.
Being able to walk through the gallery and seeing adults two or three times my age appreciate work or to see children half my age looking at a piece of art was absolutely heart-warming. What I was doing with my time on Elan impacted people and I could see them interact with the gallery and publication that the staff and myself put so much energy into affected them.
It is hard to get a sense of recognition, I think, because Elan publishes online and then a final print book. Doing these community events allows the staff the chance to see our impact in person and to truly take in what we are doing. We put together a book. A staff of high school students that have to balance everything that it takes to be a teenager make a book, which is amazing. I forget the magnitude of what I am doing sometimes. I forget how much this affects other people and not just myself.
- Winnie Blay, Senior Managing Editor