–painting by  LOUI JOVER

–painting by LOUI JOVER

“Try to say it straight, unless some unspeakable lyricism
absolutely compels you, insists, otherwise.”
–Rick Bass, "When To Keep It Simple" from The Writer’s Notebook


When I was sixteen and read Orwell and Steinbeck because I had to. I wrote about them because I had to–a duty that seemed like such a chore now sounds like a dream. A mindless change of heart altered my connection to reading and creating literature, and when I was seventeen, I started writing for my school’s newspaper.

Whether it was for an elective credit or wanting to leave behind the geekiest of legacies at my high schools, I can’t quite remember. But I do remember feeling an obligation to the written word, yet hating it at the same time. I’d cover school plays, basketball games, and other things that I was indifferent toward. These pieces that graced the grey and black newspaper pages were short, simple, and stale, yet reaped the grades I supposedly sought. Whenever I’d mix in the vocabulary that I’d accumulated from bits of books and my word-of-the-day app, I’d receive my drafts the next day covered in a swarm of red x’s. I arrived at the sad realization that I couldn’t make basketball beautiful or make a recap of a school play riveting, at least not in that class.

After graduating from high school and closing the four-year chapter of my life, I followed through with journalism for another year. I felt like I had something to prove–maybe to myself, maybe to the teacher that ripped apart my papers and my self-esteem, or maybe to anyone who had ever picked up a newspaper. To this very day, I still don’t know. I somehow survived the reporting classes, but my words were torn between the brevity that is journalism and the poetry that is everything else. After I was told that my language was “too flowery” for an article, or having my pieces edited down to half the length, I underwent another change of heart, a more mindful one this time.

Upon escaping, I employed French wisdom and created “l’art pour l’art,” or “art for art’s sake.” I made the time that I had owed to myself for so long to write what I truly wanted. Word counts, page lengths, and formats didn’t exist in this world that had unfolded around me in every direction. At nineteen, written experiments were my summer vacation. I was Dexter in the language laboratory of my mind. And it all felt so right.

Though I’ve knowingly contradicted Rick Bass’ advice in four paragraphs, I can call a truce with it in one. Finding one’s own voice is a journey that never fully ends for a writer. I’ve learned to stop dancing around essays wearing tap shoes made of long words and unfinished thoughts; I’ve traded them for hiking boots to trek to the peak of an idea, but still stopping for scenic views along the way.



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Circus Magazine

CIRCUS aims to educate and enlighten the masses of the Generation-Y mindset and perspective–representing today’s young, beautiful and inspirational–our smart and sensational. CIRCUS will give voices to the underrepresented and will start the necessary movement of showcasing the opinions and ideas of our growing (but in the eyes of the current media) invisible intelligentsia. We’re all the stars of our personal CIRCUS–our lives–and we’re merely here to ensure no one misses the greatest shows the world has to offer.