Student Interviews

January 12, 2023

Uma Bhadra

Q. Can you tell us about your background as an artist and how you got started in your artistic journey?

My journey as a crocheter began during the COVID-19 pandemic, sparked by the rich legacy of crafting that I inherited from my mother and grandmother. They were both avid crocheters, and being confined at home during lockdown provided the perfect opportunity for me to delve into this family tradition. The tactile nature of crochet and the nostalgia associated with the craft drew me in, and I found solace and purpose in creating beautiful, handmade pieces.

Q. What inspires and influences your artwork?

My primary inspiration comes from the deep connection I feel with my family's crafting history. The intricate patterns and designs passed down through generations fuel my creativity. Additionally, nature, emotions, and the desire to bring comfort and joy to others during challenging times serve as constant sources of inspiration. I inspire to inspire others which led me this past year to author and publish my very own crochet book which is infused with my original crochet patterns coupled with pictures of my projects all around the world while accompanying me on my travels.

Q. Could you describe your artistic style and the mediums you prefer to work with?

My artistic style is rooted in traditional crochet techniques, infused with a contemporary twist. I often experiment with various yarn textures and colors to add a modern flair to classic patterns. Crochet allows me to work with a diverse range of materials, from soft and delicate threads to chunky yarns, enabling me to create a wide array of items, from delicate doilies to cozy blankets.

Q. Can you walk us through your creative process from inception to completion of a piece?

The creative process begins with inspiration drawn from memories, emotions, or the desire to explore new patterns. I then select the appropriate yarn and colors, considering the mood and purpose of the piece. Planning and sketching help me visualize the final product. The actual crocheting involves a rhythmic dance of stitches, guided by the memories of my mother and grandmother. Finally, the finishing touches and blocking ensure a polished and professional look.

Q. How do you handle creative blocks or periods of low inspiration?

Creative blocks are inevitable, especially during challenging times like a global pandemic. To overcome these periods of low inspiration, I often revisit family photo albums or connect with fellow crocheters online. Engaging with the vibrant crochet community, attending virtual workshops, or trying a small, quick project can reignite my passion and creativity.

Q. What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced as an artist, and how did you overcome them?

Challenges in my artistic journey include balancing the demands of daily life, adapting to new techniques, and finding my unique voice within the traditional craft. Connecting with online communities and participating in virtual events helped me overcome isolation during the pandemic. Embracing challenges as opportunities for growth and learning has been key to my resilience as a crocheter. The isolation pushed me to create the Westlake Crochet Club in freshman year which I run to this day in order to foster a sense of community and passing on the craft to others. Providing a space for people with a shared passion and offering guidance to newcomers adds to the dedication to keeping the art of crochet alive and thriving.

December 13, 2023

Kylie Herrman

Q. Can you tell us about your background as an artist and how you got started in your artistic journey?

I’ve always been drawn to creative outlets and took multiple art and photography classes in high school to develop my skills. I took Photojournalism A and B in Junior year and was really passionate about taking pictures. I took an independent photojournalism study to further my individual projects and become more specialized in the types of photography I’m interested in.

Q. What inspires and influences your artwork?


Seeing other photographers on Instagram mainly inspires the ideas for a photoshoot. I like to take basic concepts and add my own creative take to it. For instance, I’m interested in environmental photography because it takes creative effort to shoot a new perspective on stationary nature.

Q. Could you describe your artistic style and the mediums you prefer to work with?

I’m still figuring out my personal style, but I enjoy high contrast and vibrant work. I like drawing people's eyes to the subject by color grading. When I take pictures I envision what I’m going for with the shoot, and then during the editing process I can add more creative takes that portray the vision I’m going for.

Q. Can you walk us through your creative process from inception to completion of a piece?

First, I test out multiple angles and zoom lengths until I reach the composition I’m looking for. Then, a lot of my creative process comes in on the editing side. Before I start editing I envision the final look I want, then work with color grading and exposure to achieve the look I’m going for. The outtake normally ends up looking similar to the initial idea.

Q. How do you handle creative blocks or periods of low inspiration? 

It’s really tough since it's easy to compare my work to other creative photographers. However, I try to focus on progressing my skills consistently, even if it's not my best work. I used to take breaks whenever I reached a creative block because I pushed myself to perfectionism, but recently I’ve been leaning more towards just consistently taking photos even if it’s not something I want to share with other people. Something else that has helped is that I have a list in my Notes app filled with photoshoot concepts which helps when I can't come up with one on the spot. I also take self portraits when I’m busy and overwhelmed with school, since it’s easier.

Q. What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced as an artist, and how did you overcome them?

Comparison; when I compare myself with other photographers I end up creating work that doesn't reflect my personal style, so I try to focus on creating new work that reflects me and my creative vision.

December 5, 2023

Cass Wei

Q. Can you tell us about your background as an artist and how you got started in your artistic journey?

I’ve always been drawn to the arts since the beginning of elementary school, and even then I would always jump across mediums. But I have really found my peace between poetry and photography. What got me started on my artistic journey was really just how intriguing it is. We are constantly surrounded by art; you can find art and photography in almost every classroom, every book has creative writing, and that can be applied to every other aspect of my life because art is so ubiquitous.   

Q. What inspires and influences your artwork? 

Other than my emotions, it would have to be songwriters, such as Mitski. When I first listened to her during quarantine, I just immediately noticed how her feelings are effortlessly conveyed and strong. I would get teary eyed during it, or I would get happy, just; overly emotional. I would just feel all these emotions every time I listened to her songs. That's exactly what I wanted to be able to convey with my poems; to be able to express my emotions to the best of my abilities just like Mitski. Words aren’t just to use in conversation, it's a means to communicate to express yourself and the most inner thoughts and emotions you have.

Q. Could you describe your artistic style and the mediums you prefer to work with?

I started poetry in 8th grade, and my style has changed a lot and still is ever changing, purely because I want to branch out and try new things in my poems. This parallels how I would move across mediums ever since the start of my artistic career. There’s so much diversity within all of my poems. All of the subjects of my poems are different. Even if they have the same themes of love, or sadness, or regret, every feeling I put into each of my poems are unique and not going to feel the same.

Q. Can you walk us through your creative process from inception to completion of a piece?

It's a love-hate relationship with writing poems. Oftentimes, it takes me so long to get it out of my system. Essentially, there’s this enervating thought going through my mind and it just ferments there for a week until I have to get it out of my system. I write my thoughts down, and then go straight to my notes app to immediately start planning. I write down things, places, and smells, or visions of things that I associate with that thought or emotion and then from then I just start writing. Afterwards, it’s a lot of revision. There’s not much of a process for me, it often comes to me intuitively, but sometimes, I do feel like I need to follow a formula to get my point across properly.

Q. How do you handle creative blocks or periods of low inspiration? 

I don't. There are a lot of periods where I just stop writing, purely because if I can't find the right words to express myself, then it’s not really worth it. When I feel so strongly, and I can’t express that in a strong enough way, it feels like I’m doing myself an injustice. However, I do plan it out, similar to the beginning of my process. I’ll write down associations I have with that subject, and I will come back and revise it later, because then at least I have a foundation; I can always come back later and remember exactly how I felt.

Q. What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced as an artist, and how did you overcome them?

Feeling a sense of purpose and direction with my art. What comes with a hobby comes with comparison and competition. Oftentimes I almost feel pathetic for writing poetry and enjoying my process because poetry is subjective. You don’t know how well you’re doing until you really put it out there. Every time I write a poem I ask myself: Could I see this on the front of the newspaper? Could I see this in a poetry book? Could I see this winning an award? And if my answer to those questions is no, I lose all motivation and stop writing. It’s an issue I am trying to overcome even now, but I think this sense of competition that artists have with each other is almost present in everything we do. It’s just human nature. We’re always trying to be better.

Cass is featured in our 2022- 2023 issue Ephemeral!


Connor Richardson

Q. What is your background as an artist and how did you get started with your artistic journey? 


So in sixth grade everyone has something to do, either choir or orchestra so I picked orchestra mostly because all my friends did it and also because I had heard nice things about the teacher. That actually went really well and the teacher turned out to be amazing which is definitely part of why. Something just kinda clicked with me and then I started playing viola and actually switched to violin but one of my friends dared me to write a viola piece and me being a competitive 6th grader I said I’d do it. So I found the first free score software on Google and I downloaded it and I messed with it and wrote something that was pretty atrocious but it was something and I just kind of kept going with it okay this is kind of fun I mean I'm in sixth grade I don't know what a workload is yet so I have you know 20 hours free at home so I'll do some more stuff and then I think it was like fifth piece or something like that was the first time I attempted writing for orchestra at home and the attempt was kind of rough but  the other orchestra Director at Westridge he's now the orchestra Director here Mr. Martinez he saw something said here let me teach you how to do this and basically measure by measure he was telling me everything I did wrong but you know, in the nicest way possible which actually kept me interested in it and he said you know what I'm just gonna start you know teaching you some basic theory stuff and I said “Okay what's theory.” So for the next few months we did that and then and then Covid happened so we didn't do that but but then of course I started doing some stuff on my own and I didn't write anything actually respectable until eighth grade and I would argue that it wasn't very good but then between freshman and sophomore year I actually kind of found what really works for me/what I like doing and then and I haven't deleted anything since freshman year which is big change.

Q. Is there anyone specific that inspires your work? 

Yeah I really like the composer, Gustov Mauler who is not really known which kind of makes me mad because he inspired a lot of film music and is sometimes called the Godfather of film music, he was a romantic he was from Austria and his his work isn’t a lot he only wrote you know 10 or so pieces because he was actually a full-time conductor as well so he didn't have much time to work but what he did was incredible, he premiered a piece with over 1000 musicians which is insane to think about but that's of course that's the biggest of the big but you know he wrote everything with incredible length emotional breaths loudness and quietness and I mean that's a lot of stuff that I try to emulate and it makes me very happy 

Q. What other mediums inspire you?

Film, I’m not a film buff by any means but I have my opinions on them, but this is also kind of a two benefits type thing. A lot of my music is based on stories.  It’s actually a lot easier for me because you have super complicated music but it gives you some sort of you know my plan you're like I know where I'm going and that thought inspires me just like my personal experiences so I mean that's like the definition of a story so ,but also you know I know I'm watching a movie I notice oh wow John Williams wrote this that's a big surprise you know when I think about how good it is or something and that if I get like a film that's like I can't get out of my head I'm like maybe I should try and write something like that and I do actually like one of the melodies I'm writing right now is inspired by how to train your Dragon 

Q. Do you ever find yourself getting into creative blocks? And if so how do you handle them?


Yes absolutely, the way I deal with them, this is probably the most attention deficit answer but  I'll just go work on something else. I have my main project that I'm still working on it and I finished part of it but I'll get stuck a lot on that and so I'll just go write something else that's completely irrelevant and not really meant to be like a whole orchestral piece,  just like a short a violin something and that kind of has two benefits for me at least gives me a break from when I'm actually working on something but I also get new ideas and get to come back to the other piece with a fresh set of eyes.

Q. What’s the hardest thing about your medium of art?

The hardest part of music is not getting caught up comparing yourself too much to the people from 200 years ago this is actually pretty famous I guess that Brahms very very famous composer it took him 2025 years to write his first symphony because Beethoven who had died 30 years previous was a huge shadow looming over everyone and to this day people are like I could not ever hold a candle to anything Beethoven which I mean Beethoven but then you were comparing themselves a lot for comparing yourself is not a bad thing in itself at least in my opinion is like you know how you know if your stuff is good like my music would not be nearly as good as I'd like to think it is if I hadn't if I don't have like a point of reference because I know I write my music like I think about you know mall or a lot and I think you know here's all the things and here's all things I did is this like with this be good enough for him of course it's not only thing I can do to keep imposter on the way yeah I feel like that's probably advice you can give to anyone don't compare yourself too much but it's music has been around forever so a lot of yeah yeah and especially like for me like I think too much like that's not that's not anything I could ever ever compare myself to which is I just have to remember that my biggest challenge is probably myself because beethoven’s dead he's not here so you know.

December 13, 2021

Rachel Hurt (she/her)

Q. Tell me what inspired you to start creating. Does it come from a family member, peer, famous artist? 

When I was in second grade, I used writing as an escape from reality: to bring magical worlds born in my imagination to life. I was constantly writing under the desk when my teachers weren’t looking, simply because of how much it excited me. 

Q. What do you do when you get an art block?

When I get a writer’s block, I like to pretend that I’m interviewing the characters of my story, letting them tell me who they are, and what makes their heartbeats dance. By letting my characters tell me how the story unfolds, rather than trying to force it, my writing usually becomes a whole lot more interesting. I love using this tactic before I decide to write, but other times I will just write and write nonsense until I eventually strike the gold hidden beneath it all. 

Q. Tell me where your favorite place is and what time you generally make your best art.

Hawaii and my bedroom - early morning or late at night.  

Q. Is your art meticulous or all over the place?

I find that my writing is all over the place: when I’m really inspired or excited, I tend to jump around and write sentences out of order, and whenever an idea strikes, whether it be at 2pm or 2 am, I feel drawn to quickly write it down!

Q. Tell me where your favorite place is and what time you generally make your best art.

Hawaii and my bedroom - early morning or late at night.  

Q. Is your art meticulous or all over the place?

I find that my writing is all over the place: when I’m really inspired or excited, I tend to jump around and write sentences out of order, and whenever an idea strikes, whether it be at 2pm or 2 am, I feel drawn to quickly write it down!

Q. Can you explain your style of art in 100 words or less?

I love writing that connects to each of its readers in a unique and personal way, so I try to be honest in my writing. I really enjoy writing whimsical and creative stories or poems that can almost reach through the pages and allow their readers to feel the true magic words are capable of creating. I tend to gravitate towards incorporating inspirational stories or embedded lessons and morals within my work, because I feel every piece of art and literature alike have a deeper meaning wandering beneath the surface.

Q. Is art your primary passion or does another hobby overrule it?

Honestly, sometimes writing can be scary to me - because of both external and internal pressures. I usually find myself avoiding tasks when I feel like I’m writing for other people, rather than myself, so though my love and passion for writing burns strong, I don’t always tend to its flames. I also spend lots of my time playing tennis!

Q. Do you see yourself pursuing art in college?

One of my dreams is to change the world for the better through my writing - especially in regards to helping people realize their worth - so yes! I definitely see myself pursuing writing in college! 

Q. Do you feel your art is a useful skill or just a fun hobby?

One of the reasons I love writing so much is because it can transport feelings that can pull raw beauty and emotion out of the soul’s of those who read it. I think the power a writer has is unmatched: to be able to yield the power that enables individuals to see the world in different hues, to make people see through the eyes of a single beholder - the eyes of the writer themselves is truly a gift. People thousands of miles away can be touched in ways they wouldn’t dare to explore on their own. A writer is essentially a shapeshifter, luring thoughts previously lost and lurking within readers’ souls, and hearts, out into the open to be toyed with. To me, writing is a powerful divinity of a gift, that, if properly captivated, has the potential to change the ways of the world.

Q. Tell me about your favorite artist.

Currently, my favorite author is Glennon Doyle. I feel connected to her as I read her work, and empowered through her writing. She shares personal stories, and  expresses ideas of female empowerment, self-love, and inner-beauty in such an inspiring and fun-to-read way - truly a breath of fresh air that’s extremely light and easy to take in.

Q. Tell me about the piece you're most proud of? Why?

The work I am most proud of would be my book, the ‘Guardians of the Forest’. It has yet to be published but I have sold over a thousand copies as limited editions, and am so excited for what’s to come: hopefully publishing! This story was written into existence through the expression of matters extremely close to my heart - inner beauty and self-love. 

**Spoiler alert!** The main character of this tale is a hornless unicorn named Auberon, who wishes very badly to receive his horn as a solution to all of his problems. He’ll finally be the most beautiful, “truest” version of himself, and will fit in with the other unicorns, at long last. He embarks on a journey with the help of a bluebird, Willow, and encounters many influential characters - including the Ugly Duckling - who help him see his true value. He does in fact get his horn, but only when he learns to truly love and accept himself for who he is without one. 

We all have our horns - burning, longing desires within us that stem from numerous matters like comparison, or loneliness, for example. At first, I just wrote this story for fun and entertainment, but now my ultimate goal with my book is to spread its messages to young, impressionable children - hopefully affecting them subconsciously at a minimum, and allowing them to see the value of the true beauty and worth that lies within everyone.

Rachel is featured in our 2021- 2022 issue Through the Looking Glass and is also a former editor!

February 6, 2021

Samantha Charboneau-Mudd (she/her)

Q. Do the genres you read correlate with the ones that you write?

Mostly not. My most recent books, who really don’t relate to my writing, are books like “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa” and “The Last Days of the Romanovs.” However, I’ve been reading “Alice in Wonderland” for my book club, which could be described as one of the books that actually influenced my style of writing. I really enjoy the whimsical yet dark aspects of the story.

Q. Did you read poetry as a child? If so, who did you read and how did they influence you?

I actually didn’t read much poetry when I was younger. But like every kid, I had read my fair share of Shel Silverstein, and I’d like to do something similar to his work some day. Getting into poetry was kind of sudden for me, and it started when someone randomly asked me to join the Slam Poetry club after school. 

Q. What is your writing process?

I actually almost never write outside of slam poetry club, I’ve probably only written two poems outside of it. They’re always in slam poetry club because I’ve never actually been moved to write, never, but I have 15 minutes I’m given to write so I might as well. When it actually comes to the writing itself, I write just random words that pop into my head at the beginning. Once one of them catches my head, it’s like, oh yeah, I’ll write that.

Q. If you had an unlimited amount of time, would you want to write a full scale novel? If not, what kind of writing would you create?

I would say no because I’m actually terrified of writing. But I would love to learn how to write a movie screenplay, because I aspire to become a director. One of the big things that always shoots down directors is a bad screenplay, so I would love to not rely on other people for a good one. A movie I take inspiration from is Jawbreaker, kind of a dark satire kind of film. I love Jawbreaker, but I really want to do animated movies. If I ever get rich, I’m starting my own animation music studio. I like the idea of making something similar to Tim Burton but I think as a person he’s just weird and kind of sexist. Another thing I dislike is none of his stories are about being an outsider and trying to accept yourself; it’s about being an outsider and trying to get into the insider group, and that’s kind of strange to me.

Q. If you could pick anywhere in the world to write, where would it be and why?

Definitely a rented house where I can move around a lot. It doesn’t have to be on the floor, but I’d personally prefer it because I live in a second story right now where I’m constantly scared of walking and disturbing my downstairs neighbors. 

Q. Would that location change if it were to create art?

For art, I’d really love to do an artist residency in as many countries as possible. I feel like I have a strong preference for those specifically who have a strong folk culture, as it’s something that inspires me in my work. 

 that my writing is all over the place: when I’m really inspired or excited, I tend to jump around and write sentences out of order, and whenever an idea strikes, whether it be at 2pm or 2 am, I feel drawn to quickly write it down!

Q. Which artists have you looked up to? Do they influence your art style?

Frida Kahlo is a big one. A lot of people are inspired by her and do portraits of her. However, even though they’re creating Kahlo, I think the most valuable way to recognize her is to do your own self portrait. I think it’s a way to pay homage to Frida because she wanted to explore her space in her own world, such as when she made Self Portrait with Cropped Hair after divorcing Diego Rivera. Diego had always loved her beautiful long glossy black hair and so in that portrait, she showed herself with it all chopped off in a men’s suit, with hair just lying everywhere to say “I am apart from you and I am okay with that.”

r group, and that’s kind of strange to me.

Q. Which art medium is your favorite?

Definitely colored pencil. Almost everything I do is in colored pencil, but I’ve just started learning how to paint because I’d like to finish pieces a lot faster. I remember a couple years ago I was volunteering at the library for hours every day, so I would come up to the ladies that worked there and say “Hey, you have a pet right?” to try and get commissions to save up for various summer camps. A ton of people refused me, but once someone finally said yes I felt a lot of pressure to make it perfect. With colored pencils, I feel like I have so much control where every stroke of fur can be drawn perfectly. I felt a lot more confident working in that medium. After I finished my first commission, more and more people began asking and I realized how much I enjoyed working in colored pencil even more.

Q. What is your favorite piece of art you’ve made so far?

So I made these dolls, and they were supposed to be a collaboration with another artist on Instagram who’s a lot more well known than me. They make dolls too, and I had suggested that they make a snowflake doll for Christmas but they had wanted me to do it, so we ended up just making some together. The headdresses on the dolls came about after seeing the concept art for Elsa from frozen who had this giant snowflake headdress that I loved. Personally, I think it’s a lot better than what was used in the final movie, which to me was quite boring. But after I started making them and showing them to people, people would tell me how Russian they looked. It turns out I had actually made a kokoshnik, which is a traditional Russian headdress. I also took inspiration from the Dutch but overall they had turned out much more Russian than I had expected.

Samantha is featured in our 2020 - 2021 issue Junk Drawer!

2021 - 2022

Grayce Richardson

Q. Tell me how you start creating. Is there anything that tends to spark your creativity?

My creativity is usually sparked by a problem or something cool I see, like if I can't find a specific dress I want I will draw it or if I see a super cool concept I'll draw whatever it makes me think of. Oh or music, music makes my creativity flow like crazy.

Q. How do you set up your space in order to work?

I don't. I mean I guess I get everything and move it to where I want to work if I'm in the art room but I'm a pretty messy artist so everything is usually everywhere already.

Q. Tell me what or who inspired you to start creating in the first place. Does it come from a family member, peer, famous artist? 

Honestly it just kind of happened, i didn't live near any kids when I was little so it was a thug i could do alone that i really enjoyed 

Q. What do you do when you get an art block?

I just keep trying to draw or create things. They always suck but you gotta figure the block goes away at some point 

Q. Tell me where your favorite place to create is and why this place is special to you.

the AP art room at the school, which is weird because its at school which by definition sucks, but for some reason its the one place in the world I feel the safest and most like myself. 

Q. Do you have a certain time of day where you do your best work?

Not really, I mean the best moments come and go at random times when the mood and feeling is right.

Q. Is your art meticulously planned or chaotically formed? Do you think this sets you apart from other artists?

I usually start with a baseline plan/vision I clearly want to create but then I will let the piece form itself one i get started, as long as i get my vision clearly onto the piece it doesn't matter how I get there.

Q. Can you explain your style in 100 words or less?

I suppose my style is a chaotic form of renaissance art. I really like the fine details and soft lines and colors from that time period but my personality tend to be chaotic, bright, colorful, and generally weird which I feel shows through in my art 

Q. Is art your primary passion or does another hobby overrule it? If so, explain what that is. If not, tell us about a hobby that comes under art, but is still close to your heart.

Art will always be my number one, just anything creative in general, but the next best thing for me is activity, specifically water skiing, snow skiing, and volleyball. I used to play volleyball which became stressful and took its toll so now I play it occasionally as a hobby and I've been water/snow skiing since I was like 5 and it's a big part of my life and my family.

Q. Do you see yourself pursuing art after high school?

yep, i'm an art major all the way. I firmly believe that anyone can pursue their passion and make a good living as long as they figure out how to apply their passion in a good way. I'm specifically going to pursue design because it helps the community and is a growing field.

Q. Do you feel your art is a useful skill or just a fun hobby?

I think it can be both, when used correctly art can be a powerful tool that can do a lot of damage, such as propaganda or campaigns, it can also just be something fun you do on the side just making things that are for you and make you happy.

Q. Tell me about your favorite artist.

I don't really pick favorites hut an artist that I really look up to is Lenardo Di Venci, his application and integration of both art and math helped him produce some amazing inventions that furthered his understanding of the world and spread his views and information to the public. 

Q. Tell me about the piece you're most proud of. Why?

The is this piece I am currently working on and have been for a while, it's still unfinished and I have a very love hate relationship with it, but the concept is really cool and everyone really likes it and says I should enter it into competitions and stuff, I plan on redoing it someday but for my current skills it's really cool. The concept is seeing all the important parts of history, from cells to the future, placing them side by side and seeing the differences through time, its a 3D piece so it looks like a portal that is spreading out space and time for you to see.

Grayce is featured in our 2021 - 2022 issue Through the Looking Glass!

2021 - 2022

Sofia Calavitta

Q. Do you plan out your writing before starting, or do you jump all in? How does this affect your work?


I never plan my writing, it's very emotion-driven and I just pick up my phone or my notebook whenever I feel a phrase or a feeling hit me.

Q. Do you stick to a certain genre, style, or format? Explain.

Nope! Most of my poetry is very free-form, though I like experimenting with sonnets and rhyme occasionally. I find a lack of structure easier to work with.

Q. Is there a certain writer who inspires you? How have they influenced or impacted your work?

For poets, I love Mary Oliver and Rumi; their descriptions of nature and emotion really inspire me to expand on my own emotional vocabulary. I have many, many authors I love and am obsessed with, and just a few include Kathleen Glasgow, Jandy Nelson, and David Arnold.

Q. What is your favorite book and why?


I don’t know, honestly, I read so much that books all bleed together, but I really enjoyed The Stationary Shop by Marjan Kamali. I loved the time skips and the vivid descriptions of how relationships feel and change over time.

Q. Do you have a particular space you write in? If so, what does it look like?

Nope, not really. I write anywhere, I've written while driving, during tournaments, in testing centers, holiday dinners, anywhere you can think of, really.

Q. Are you an avid reader? Explain why or why not.

Yes, oh my god. I love reading—it’s always been a form of escape for me and has really inspired my love for words and language. I read everything from nonfiction to fantasy, essay anthologies to picture books, anything that sparks my fancy.

Q. Are you more private with your work, or do you show it to others frequently?

I run the Slam Poetry Club at Westlake (although since we don’t have a teacher sponsor anymore it’s more of a gathering of friends who happen to be poets) and share fairly regularly with friends. I have some poems where it takes me longer to work up the nerve to slam (read out loud) and others that I itch to slam as soon as I finish writing. Honestly, it depends on the subject matter.

Q. Is there a quote you live by, or that sticks with you?

Nope. If anything, the quote “we are nothing if not absurd” helps me to not pull my punches on how weird and deep I write my poetry.

Q. Do you love writing about a certain subject, or do you write about a variety of topics?

I write about emotions, and so emotion can manifest itself in actions, in events, and even in objects. I would say I write about a variety of topics with a similar underlying theme; the human condition.

Q. Do you have an editing process? If so, explain.

I barely edit, if I’m honest. The most I’ll usually do is change words that have been auto-capitalized back to how I intended them, but occasionally I will feel the need to expand or exchange word phrases in a work. 

Q. Tell us about your favorite work, and why.

Hmm. I am currently working on writing a lot of fantasy poetry based on this world I’ve been building since quarantine. Those pieces are probably my favorite, due to their ability to pull the reader into the mythology I have created and the emotions of the creatures I have made. I feel proud when reading and writing those poems since I normally focus on my immediate feelings instead of storylines and characters.

Q. Do you have any writing pet peeves? If so, explain. 

Well, this is kind of odd, but I hate that it’s difficult to write on my phone while lying down. My arms always feel all squished but I don’t want to get up even though I know I can write more comfortably!

Q. What is your greatest writing accomplishment? Explain.

This July I was one of 60 to be accepted into a writing camp called Fir Acres, (out of over 5000 applicants), and I was granted the opportunity to expand not only my poetry skills but my short story and narrative skills as well. I was taught classes by writers such as Alexia Arthurs, S.Yarberry, Mary Szybist, Mark Mayer, and Ashley Colley. It was definitely one of the most incredible learning experiences of my life, though on zoom due to COVID, and much of the assistance I received I will not forget anytime soon!

Sofia is featured in our 2021- 2022 issue Through the Looking Glass!