A self-described “townie”, Logan is a third year student at JMU who is pursuing a five-year undergraduate degree. He is a double major in SMAD and English and double minor in Art and Creative Writing. He started trying to write poems throughout his freshman year at JMU and would occasionally read at The Little Grill Collective during their Open Mic nights.
“I write when I feel like writing and when I have the time to write. If I have an idea I think I want to pursue, I write about it. That is what our existence in this world is really about anyway: this pursuit for or of something that provides a feeling of cognizant substantiation. In this pursuit, I think maybe people try to overcomplicate things where life really isn't or doesn't need to be and I try to incorporate this idea of simplicity into my poetry. I am both inspired and intrigued by Bukowski's directness, C.K. Williams' "stories", and William Carlos Williams' presentation of the compact and vivid image....I find potential in the simplicity, cultivation, and credibility of our own existence.”
A senior from Warrenton, Virginia, Liana is studying Elementary Education. Her hobbies include dancing, hiking, traveling, and playing music. She is inspired by the literary works of Annie Dillard, C.S. Lewis, and ee cummings.
While at JMU, Liana has been a volunteer Young Life leader, youth track and cheerleading coach, and BLAST volunteer at Thomas Harrison Middle School. She has devoted time to volunteering at multiple youth camps, including WyldLife Camp, In Motion Creative Movement Dance Camp and the Helen Diller Home for the Blind. She has also been involved with serving at Our Community Place and Little Grill Collective. She hopes to one day to build a classroom environment that inspires children to explore and pursue their own creative abilities. Boy Blue is her first published work.
On her short story:
“Boy Blue began as a story about the bond between a boy and his dog, as inspired by a friend. However, during the writing process, the story became less about the relationship between the two and more about how I’ve seen humans carry pain. I began to recognize how elements from my own life were shaping the characters and their interactions, and the tale soon molded itself into one filled with emotions I’ve either experienced myself or seen those around me experience. Creating Charlie’s character helped me to affirm that the process of overcoming hurt is painful, but the wisdom gleaned from the experience is always redemptive.”
Ciera is a senior English major from Burgess, Virginia. She is a member of the Virginia Army National Guard as an Intelligence Analyst and Human Resource Specialist. She is also a member of Women of Color, a JMU organization that promotes empowerment among women. In her spare time she enjoys reading, writing, singing and volunteering at local clubs and community centers with young children. Click on this link to hear Ciera sing: http://media.gatewayva.com/photos/rtd/slideshows/20081201guard/
“My writing process is actually one that starts as a huge idea and after about three drafts the purpose is clear. Usually there are too many thoughts to decide on a whim what to write. This particular essay is inspired by my military career. I have been in the military going on seven years now, and still there are days that I wonder 'what were you thinking'. However, this essay helped me understand the bigger picture, as often times I over analyze the small details. Being in the military is a commitment, the extended metaphor of marriage depicts my relationship with Uncle Sam or as he is better known, the United States Army.”
An English major, Kayla has had poetry published in Falling for the Story, a collection of writings submitted to the Northern Virginia Fall for the Book Festival in 2009. She was also a finalist in the Lex Allen Literary Festival of 2011 at Hollins University. Kayla contributes to the JMU and Harrisonburg community through her work at Mrs. Hardesty’s Tea Room in downtown Harrisonburg and the Furious Flower Poetry Center, where helps plan poetry readings, community service programs, and other events. She also hosts a radio show through WXJM. She enjoys supporting local businesses and enjoys the wonders offered by the Shenandoah Valley.
"I use writing as a means to answer the whys of life. Language makes up so much of who we are and what we do; it only makes sense that I use it to understand the baffling things in life. I am inspired by any writer who has the bravery to use their language in revealing and risky ways. The safety of forms and clichés often ruin otherwise great writers. Virginia Woolf writes, in more than one publication, that the greatest enemy to writers are the distractions of life. I too feel that overcoming these distractions, whether they are internal or external, is essential for every writer."
Kathleen loves doing things outside, which include running, hiking, cycling, and rock climbing. She is currently a Political Science major, with minors in English and Humanitarian Affairs, and she was recently published in the fall edition of Gardy Loo. She is a member of the JMU Triathlon Club and the JMU Cycling Club, and she works as a fitness instructor at UREC. This summer, she will be working at Yellowstone National Park.
“My writing process is really simple. I usually have some genre of music playing in my headphones. And I usually only write when I'm in an emotional state and have a lot to say. Most of the time, my poetry starts out as a flow of thoughts typed or written out. Then, later, I go back and piece those thoughts together into a poem. One writer I really admire is e.e. cummings. His poetry is totally unrestricted and seemingly does not make sense at first, which I love. He allows the reader to dig deeper into his words automatically.”
A junior from Las Vegas, Nevada, Emilee is a double-major in English and SMAD. In her free time, Emilee enjoys reading, creative writing, painting, looking at art, and designing. She is also a member of JMU’s Tae Kwon Do club.
"I try not to take art too seriously so my paintings come from what I see. After going to London to study the Bloomsbury Group, I try to base the theory or my art on Vanessa Bell. She broke the mold of traditional art and looked for the meaning in the objects the painted, seeing what was beyond the tangeble and discovering what perspective and imagination can cultivate. I try to find the abstract in all reality and the reality in all that is abstract."