The Way We Burned

The Way We Burned

senior portfolio introduction by Haley Lee, age 16

To the readers: The works in this anthology represent just some of the talent Arizona houses. Bloom celebrates the potency of the written word and the students who recognize this power. It is a peek into the minds of some of the state’s most creative authors. Perhaps most importantly, it serves as encouragement for students who have not yet discovered the courage to write their first story. The featured writers address difficult subjects bravely and reflect on their own lives with insight. As you read, keep in mind the dedication and heart that went into each piece.

To the Young Authors of Arizona: I remember the day I received a phone call about placing in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards as an exciting one. In fact, my post-call reaction remains engrained in my mind in frame-by-frame detail: yelling out the news to my parents, e-mailing my mentor (the lovely Ms. Ruggles), rewarding myself with a double scoop of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food. In that moment, the award represented a culmination of my efforts as an author. I had battled many of the common plights to reach that point: self-consciousness about sharing my work, writer’s block, a shortage of time. I struggled through it all and viewed the Awards as my chance to put those difficulties behind me.

In a way, I thought a trip to New York and a gold medal would make me immune to the dilemmas that riddled my early writing career. Of course, I was naïve to think that one weekend and a shiny object could dissolve my every obstacle. I came to realize, over time, that my mistake was seeking a cure-all to facets of the writing process I should have embraced in the first place. I recognize now that sharing your prose (or poetry or plays) is the way to refine your voice; that the world is brimming with ideas, you just have to look hard enough; that writing is something you must make time for, no matter how busy your schedule. Keep in mind, when you write, that the challenges make the final product even sweeter. Every author’s journey is different, but I hope that none of yours end anytime soon.

To the parents, the siblings, the teachers, the mentors: Thank you for all you do. Writing, despite what many say, is not a solitary activity. It truly does take a village, and this book would be bare without your support.

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