Conversations with RHUL Writers

Ali Krausova | Content Writer

Throughout the last month of 2020, I have reflected on creating and living in and after the crisis with four first year students as well as great women, and this is how it went:

Ali: ‘How would you describe your writing? What inspires you?’
Emily March: ‘I suppose I’d describe my writing as very broad with attention to small details. I like to have a huge range of topics but focus on the more precise aspects that make life so interesting and beautiful. And Elisha’s poetry is beautiful! I loved seeing it around campus and it actually inspired me to start writing again.’
Maddie Brown: ‘As a kid I used to write little stories around ZOO animals and their adventures, which my teachers would mark for me. I have had a binder full of random ideas and story parts that have never really gone anywhere and this book that I’m writing now is the first one that has got past the planning stage. Most of my stories are fantasy based and this one definitely is!’
Molly Ainley: ‘I’m also inspired by strangers; I once wrote a piece about this lady on the train – creating this entire life for her. I like to use the world around me to fill in the gaps of the things I don’t know. Writing is like a power, helping me understand the world better.’

Ali: ‘How would you say the crisis has affected your work?’
Maddie: ‘I now set aside a dedicated couple of hours per day to write my book. I have also fallen down the wormhole of fanfiction websites like Wattpad, so I am practising by writing silly short stories on there under an anonymous username.’
Elisha Heslop: ‘The time I’ve been given to truly work without limits has given the writing a searing depth that I hadn’t achieved before.’

Ali: ‘What are your aspirations with what you do for the future?’
Molly: ‘After university, I want to explore my options and places for a while. But I’d like to become a teacher eventually. I don’t want to have a structured future anymore because things change so easily.’
Emily: ‘I’ve always wanted to publish my own works and go into a career that allows me to make money off of my own writing. One of the courses I took at the beginning of the pandemic was on travel journalism, which I found really interesting and am definitely considering pursuing at some point.’
Ali: ‘Travel journalism would offer you so much! You’d probably do even better if you were put on telly.’
Emily: ‘I love to travel and I follow a lot of travel photographers, journalists, and bloggers, which really does fuel a sense of wanderlust.’
Elisha: ‘The prospect of the 9 to 5 dead end job that waits us all is not something I particularly fancy but whatever I do is going to save the world someday so I need not worry too much.’
Ali: ‘That is a bold statement.’
Elisha: ‘I don’t think it’s bold at all. The system we live under prioritises monetary gain over pleasure. Looking at the state of the world now, I’m hopeful of change.’

Ali: ‘Do you think that the crisis has been unappreciative of creators like yourself?
Molly: ‘Creators have found it hard but then people have found time to read more and explore new artists and find themselves. Becoming something is also so confusing to me. The impact you have by creating doesn’t need to be global. If I read one poem to one person and they adore it, I am something to them. It’s deeper than being published or going on tours or 1000 people knowing your name, if that makes sense.’
Ali: ‘I agree! When you do something out of true passion it must get you somewhere no matter what because you’re almost determined to do what you do.’
Molly: ‘Exactly. I don’t care about having a career from it, it means something to ME. If no one in the world reads it and cares about it, that’s ok, because I do. It’s not for anyone, it’s for me.’
Emily: ‘Being a creator has always been an extremely unstable career choice. I remember when I was younger I wanted to be a writer, one of my best friends wanted to be a West End performer, and another wanted to be an artist, and we all used to get and make comments about how we were going to be living on the streets by the age of 30.’
Ali: ‘It’s become this huge stereotype. You want to be an artist? Then you’ll probably end up living under a bridge. There is a lot of competition in this field too.’
Emily: ‘Oh yeah! For example, journalism is so difficult and competitive to get into!’
Ali: ‘Already a rivalry between us two then haha!’
Maddie: ‘The campaign where it said: ‘Fatima’s next job could be in cyber. She just doesn’t know it yet’ seriously degraded all creators’ impact on society. It has always been hard for creators in a world where it is so under-valued by the society but this pandemic has taken it to the next level.’
Elisha: ‘Being a poet is much like being a martyr. I do think that being a creator is always going to be perceived as trivial and forever unappreciated but history will remember me for the beauty I have cultivated.’

Ali: ‘Would you say with creating your art you also create some sort of alter-ego with it?’
Elisha: ‘I am a part of my poetry as much as my poetry is a part of me.’

Ali: ‘Do you agree that university has given you something to work towards to in these times’
Maddie: ‘My confidence has grown over my time at university as I have had space and time to become myself.’
Emily: ‘I started uni thinking that I was there to get a degree, but I’ve come to remember how much I truly love to learn and create academically too. I can’t wait to have classes where we can debate normally like we would in a Covid-free year.’

Ali: ‘Can you share a snippet of your work that you love?’
Emily: ‘She was just a dark silhouette against the pale moon, her form nothing but a whisper against the glaring light. She saw centuries in the night sky, millennia in the stars, and the fleeting seconds of humanity as they tumbler through the cosmos.’
‘It’s in the way she reaches out for your hand when you lose balance on the beam, and her soft skin is ready to hold your entire existence… And she won’t tease you about falling.’

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