by Alex Melnick
arts & life editor
Charles Bukowski once said, “If you’re going to try, go all the way.” He was talking about the labor necessary for meaningful writing and creating, but I would argue the same goes for reading as well. Reading a text transforms it into a world of your own creating. If you’re going to try to read a text, you have to go all the way into that world, or else you can’t really say you were there—or you could say something even worse: You were only a tourist in the world of your own creating.
Millsapians are famously taught not just what to think, but how to think. But this sort of critical thinking and intellectual heavy lifting is a bit more difficult to apply when it comes to experiencing and analyzing creative works for pleasure. I I sat down for an interview with the current Stylus editor and my close friend, senior Liz Allen, and explored the place of creative writing in our campus:
Alex Melnick: What are your favorite mediums?
Liz Allen: My favorites are ink drawings, infographics and narrative nonfiction.
AM: Do you have a favorite poem?
LA: I really enjoy limericks but partially ironically. No specific poems come to mind.
AM: Why did you become the Stylus editor?
LA: I became the Stylus editor because I want to be able to display the stories and creative works of my peers. Communication studies major[s] talk a lot [about] media production and who gets to express and publish their ideas. I like the idea of being able to publish and give an audience to my peers. I also like the idea of a creative representation of the Millsaps student community. On top of all that is that I have some design and publication experience, and I enjoy it. It’s also a chance for me to continue my publication experience with a certain amount of my own artistic freedom, rather than as an assignment.
AM: What are your favorite memories of past Styluses?
LA: I love the aesthetics and the appearance of the last two years under Kristen Lucas and Genny Santos. They’re so visually appealing and hip. I guess most recently is last year’s edition—the scandalous one with Abed Haddad’s submission [featuring art some would consider graphic]. It sort of promoted the Stylus as edgier, and it’s just great. I’m all for some scandal.
AM: Is there anything you dislike about being editor?
LA: There hasn’t been too much yet. I guess I dislike the lack of awareness there is about the Stylus. It means a lot of harassing and recruiting for submissions. It’s also hard to get feedback if you don’t know who your audience is. In an ideal world, the Stylus would be this super highly regarded, artsy publication (not that we’re not) that everyone at Saps is itching to get their stuff into.
AM: How should, and actually should we, encourage Millsaps students to write creatively?
LA: I think that at some point or in some way all Millsaps students engage in some creative endeavors, be it photos, art, creative nonfiction, poetry etc. I think only a few are brave enough, especially with creative writing to want to showcase it, or maybe many students feel as if they aren’t “creative enough” to showcase it. Maybe having workshops or low stress venues where students can workshop and get feedback and feel more confident in their work would help. Also, maybe suggesting that creative writing or art can be stress relief from all the academic writing we have to do as Millsaps students. I want to get Millsaps students involved more with Jackson and Mississippi creative spheres.
AM: How can students get involved with the Stylus?
LA: By talking to me or their English professors, and by directly submitting their work to the Stylus by Dec. 15. (firstname.lastname@example.org)