A Somewhat Gracious, Sort-of Grateful Goodbye :)

Well, here we are. The dreaded cap and gown are close enough to touch, and the pollen is coating the sidewalks on the days without the infamous April showers. The end of the year is upon us, and with it, the end of life as we seniors know it. Our time at MSA is bringing it’s Twilight years to an end, and I figured that warranted one final return to the blog world.

Firstly, I am sorry for my extended absence. To say that my senior year has been chaotic is the understatement of a lifetime, and that’s coming from someone who had the junior year that I did, so you know it’s saying something. I have done so much growing this year in so many ways that I don’t even recognize myself, and I couldn’t be happier about that. I am looking so forward to getting to know this new me, and I thought that should be recorded. 

Truthfully, I’ve avoided writing this blog for quite some time. The infamous “goodbye blog” has been on my mind since I read Lauren’s at the beginning of junior year. But the idea of actually sitting down to write mine brought me so much sadness. Writing this meant that it was real, that it was truly almost over. I avoided the blog when I accepting scholarships, on Awards Day, at Prom, at my senior showcase, through all the big milestones. But I couldn’t make it go away. I cannot escape goodbyes. So, I may as well say them with as much grace as I can. 

I’d like to wish the most complicated goodbye to the most convoluted place I’ve ever been. MSA, for better or worse, was the first home I ever knew. It was the place where I first found people that not only loved me for who I was, but who I would become. The first place that allowed me the opportunity (and the catalyst) to grow into someone that I would be proud to meet in the mirror today. MSA was the place that I discovered who I was. It was the place where I finally found, or rather learned how to create a reflection I was proud to meet in the mirror every day. It is, in every way that matters, the origin of me. 

Granted, it wasn’t always the happiest of beginnings. MSA has been the sight of some of the most taxing, challenging, heart wrenching emotional battles of my life. I have known heartbreak and strife here like I have not anywhere else in my life, and I have had more than my fair share of experiences. MSA has broken me completely down more times than I can ever count, and it has never been gentle about it. But it has always built me back up into someone better. 

If you would have told me when I first got here that the platinum haired hopeless romantic gay boy in skinny jeans that walked in on New Student Day would graduate a gender-nonconforming, emotionally mature, mentally aware, self-loving, kind, brown-haired enby, I would have thought you were absolutely insane. I would not recognize who I am today, and I could not be more thankful for that fact. Who I am today is someone who’s beauty was beyond the imagination of who I was when I walked on this campus for the first time, and I cannot fathom something more miraculous. 

This place and the people in it, in every way, good, bad, and messy, have changed me so completely that I quite literally cannot imagine the path my life would be on if I had not come to this place. Who I was is gone, and who I am is better than they could ever have imagined being, and I am so grateful for that fact. 

So, a thank you to everyone I’ve met here. Whether we hated each other or were the best of friends, whether we spoke once or every day, whether you didn’t even know my favorite color of if you know my deepest, darkest secrets: thank you. Thank you for the part you played, however big or small, in the wonder of helping me becoming who I am. Thank you for helping me learn to live and love my life. 

And to anyone who reads this, from my fellow soon-to-be graduates to the juniors who will take our place next year, and even those who will come years after me and find this blog on an old, dusty webpage in the twilight years of the literary program, my words of wisdom to you are this: 

Embrace everything about this place. There will be good, there will be bad, there will be beauty, there will be ugliness, all of it to degrees you could not even imagine, much less survive. Don’t let that scare you away. This place has the potential to grow you into someone you could not even imagine being. It can hold some of the most beautiful, pivotal, formative, miraculous experiences of your life if you let it. Don’t miss your chance to change, and don’t be afraid to become whoever you want. That’s what this place is for. 

Love each other, remember your kindness, look forward to your changes, and remember to say hello to the ghosts of seniors past when you’re walking to your classes. We all leave a piece of ourselves here. Don’t be afraid to leave yours. 

With all the love I have in my heart to each and every one of you, 


-Love, Elliot <3

A Late “Lost Girl” Analysis :)

So, anyone who knows me knows that the MSA production of “Lost Girl” by Kimberly Belflower threw me for several loops. Reactions including but not limited to: An entire poetry collection, including a 100+ line self portrait, an entire identity crisis (Short lived and easily resolved but still), and a little too close relation to the character of Wendy. That play made me take a good, long look at several core aspects of myself and my emotions, and put me through an emotional spectrum I haven’t felt in a very long time; the hallmark of truly great art. Naturally, it earns this month’s analysis. 

DISCLAIMER: I am not giving a summary and reading further could spoil the play. Read at your own discretion. : )

The first fantastic aspect of this play is the way that it utilizes Peter Pan himself. Peter is built up as this great big concept, while so rarely being portrayed on stage. Such tactics are not uncommon in storytelling, particularly playwriting, but it’s done explicitly well here. Peter, conflated with the concept of himself Wendy has formed in her own memory and attached herself to, grows to represent and play the part of things much bigger than he could ever be. He’s the memory of Wendy’s last moments of joy, the now past concept of who she was, the personification of the only love she’s ever felt. He’s freedom, hope, love itself, happiness personified. But, when he finally comes back on stage, he’s simply Peter. He can’t, wasn’t, and won’t ever be any of those things, and the inevitable and wordless disappointment that comes with realizing this is the key catalyst to Wendy’s eventual recovery, which just happens to be one of the best utilizations of the concept I’ve seen in quite a while. 

Another absolutely stunning aspect of this play is Belflower’s use of visual/conceptual metaphor. For example, the most obvious is the window in Wendy’s room. Throughout the whole play, in a show of persistence and pointless hope, Wendy keeps the window open, even when the cold air makes her sick. She does this from the day she returns as a child to the day she sees Peter again and begins to let go. When she realizes Peter can never be what she needs him to be, she asks him to leave and closes the window. She lets go of her hope. It’s the single most fitting ending I’ve ever seen. Other examples of masterful metaphor in the production is Wendy’s kiss, symbolizing anything from purity to happiness, as well as the bedroom itself, which is symbolic of Wendy’s past and her unwillingness to leave it. The play is packed full of masterful metaphors. 

Finally, the best thing about this play, as with many, is the monologues, specifically Wendy’s. There are many instances I can, and will if prompted, go on and on about, but for the sake of word count I’m going to focus on one. That monologue is the one that is repeated/modified throughout the play. The infamous “I give myself eight minutes a day to think about him.” Throughout the production, Wendy delivers a version of this same monologue to the audience to benchmark where she is in her progress of letting go. It’s also her final monologue before she sees Peter again. The entire thing is always a wonderfully crafted literary masterpiece, but the mere concept of someone spending so much time in a certain thought process that they have a defined way to think about their own thoughts speaks for itself. The monologue is beautiful, truly. 

Honorable mention to the use of the chorus/other girls. It’s truly one of the best writing tactics I’ve seen in a long time, and Belflower uses it masterfully. 

Now, with all of that being said, I’ll close out now. Thank you for listening to my “Lost Girl” tangents, and I’ll see you next month!  

-Elliot <3

“What Love Looks Like” by Rupi Kaur, a Literary Analysis

Hello blog world, and welcome back! I know last time I made out like I’d be dedicating senior year towards analyzing song lyrics. Frankly, that was the plan. I was fully prepared and committed to analyzing nothing but my favorite songs for the entirety of this year; it’s what was comfortable. But, life had other plans, revealed to me in the form of the poetry book “the sun and her flowers” by Rupi Kaur. 

I found this book by coincidence in a Barnes and Noble during a gathering with friends this past Sunday, and I’ve fallen in love with it ever since I started reading it. I flew through the first section the morning I started, unable to put it down. One poem in particular stood out to me in this section. “what love looks like” is my favorite piece by Kaur so far, and it absolutely earned this week’s analysis. 

For the sake of word count, I will only analyze my favorite lines. But for context, I’ll link the full piece here: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/8834467-what-love-looks-like-what-does-love-look-like-the

(This was the only online copy I could find; I also have the physical copy I’ll be happy to let you borrow!) 

“that’s when it hit me
and i realized how naive i had been
to place an idea so beautiful on the image of a person
as if anybody on this entire earth
could encompass all love represented
as if this emotion seven billion people tremble for
would look like a five foot eleven
medium-sized brown-skinned guy
who likes eating frozen pizza for breakfast”

Honestly, this entire stanza is one of the greatest examples of literary perfection I’ve ever seen. The rawness and perfected honesty/bluntness that Rupi uses when she describes this realization captures the way it occurs perfectly. Learning that all of your preconceived notions of love will never match any real life experience you have with it is one of the hardest lessons one can learn. It’s something that poisons and kills entire relationships if not fully realized, and one of the most painful but beautiful realizations one can come to. There is a tragic beauty in realizing the love you dream of and the love you receive will never align, and Rupi captures it perfectly, particularly with the lines “As if anybody on this entire earth could encompass all love represented”. Actual perfection. 

“i don’t think love is him anymore i repeat
i think love never was
i think i just wanted something
was ready to give myself to something
i believed was bigger than myself
and when i saw someone
who probably fit the part
i made it very much my intention
to make him my counterpart”

This stanza is also perfect in the way it describes what happens when you enter a relationship with preconceived notions of love still in tact: you lose yourself. You’re willing to go to any length, do anything to find what you think is love, and it drains you. You find someone who “Probably fits the part” and you “make it very much your intention to make him your counterpart”. It’s a tragedy to watch and awful to endure, but it’s an important lesson some of us have to learn, and Rupi doesn’t shy away from that. With this stanza and these lines, she shows us the actions of someone who is trying to love the idea of love rather than the person in front of them, and how it feels. And that is something even the best of writers struggle to convey. 

“love does not look like a person
love is our actions
love is giving all we can
even if it’s just the bigger slice of cake
love is understanding
we have the power to hurt one another
but we are going to do everything in our power
to make sure we don’t
love is figuring out all the kind sweetness we deserve
and when someone shows up
saying they will provide it as you do
but their actions seem to break you
rather than build you
love is knowing who to choose”

This is the final stanza, and the most fitting conclusion I have ever seen to a work of literature. This stanza truly takes my breath away, because it perfectly encompasses the learning of how to actually love someone. The journey of learning to love yourself before others is a long, tiring, and treacherous one, and this line does something not many writers can do: captures the end result. “Love does not look like a person; love is our actions; love is knowing who to choose”. These lines are the single purest truth I’ve ever seen put down on paper, and something I hope every single one of us learns wholeheartedly someday. 

Well, that’s all the word count I have to rant about this lovely little poem! I seriously urge all of you to check out the full piece, and other works by Rupi Kaur if you’re interested. I promise, you won’t regret reading a single thing of hers! Until next time blog world! 

Sincerely, someone trying to give up the bigger slice of cake. 


“Gambling Addiction” by Leanna Firestone: A Lovesick Literary Analysis :)

So, if you’re aware of my existence as a literary artist at all, you’re aware of the love story genre and my dedication to it. From, quite literally, the first piece my fellow literaries heard from me to the very last piece we workshopped together our junior year, as well as the first one we shared senior year, I’ve been writing and presenting romance. The genre has been running through my very veins since I developed my appreciation for literature. From the two year period in my life where I could not be found on the material plane without a Twilight book on my person, to the extended and still active period where my reading life is consumed by mlm romances, I’ve been reading love stories since I discovered I could read things without a teacher telling me to. 

Naturally, romance can be found in other aspects of my life. Movies and T.V. shows are an obvious answer, but the topic of love has also made its way into my music taste, particularly heavily, at that. As of late, I’ve been fixated on the musical musings of a gal by the name of Leanna Firestone. You may have heard of her, you may not; it doesn’t matter. By the end of this blog, you’ll know her pretty well. 🙂 

Leanna is known for love oriented songs, self or romantic, and you may have heard some of her more popular pieces (we’ll get to those later, don’t worry). One you may not have heard, however, is my personal favorite “Gambling Addiction”. 

For word count’s sake, I’ll only analyze some of my favorite lines. Starting off with one of the opening lines: 

“I’ve got a gambling addiction

But I don’t raise, I don’t call I go all in, all of the time

On people who don’t feel the same” 

Frankly, I think these words are metaphorical genius. Not only do they perfectly encompass the feeling of putting your faith in someone you shouldn’t, they showcase the sensation that follows falling for someone who isn’t there to catch you. The familiar sting of impacting a bottom you were never meant to see after leaping into a situation that was definitely not a safe jump is a common theme in Leanna’s music, and for good reason. She captures it like no one else; case in point, these lines. 


“So, I keep losing to the house

I’ll never learn my lesson

Losing to the house, because it’s just a guessing game

I haven’t figured out how to play in moderation.”

These lines move on to focus particularly on the “All in all of the time” aspect of the previous lines. “losing to the house” refers to failed attempts at love and relationships. Leanna clearly states that love is a guessing game, and that she can’t figure out how to “play in moderation”. The sentiment of only being able to go all in with someone is a familiar sensation to anyone who grew up in an environment where love was absent or even unhealthy. Such an upbringing affects someone, usually manifesting in relationships. Inability to love in moderation is the unfortunate reality for many people, many of whom are Leanna fans. 


“But with all of my loses someday

I’m probably gonna win, right?”

It’s important to note that most of Leanna’s songs (the ones I like, anyway) end on an optimistic note, or at least have a sweetness to balance the bitter. “Gambling addiction” Is no exception. The song is ultimately about unpacking the inability to love in moderation, and acknowledging that all of the “losses” are cause to believe in victory. What was the popular phrase? If at first you don’t succeed…? Sounds about right. 

And that does it for the review on “Gambling Addiction” by Leanna Firestone! I am so happy to start sharing these songs, as well as my thoughts on them. I’ve been an avid Leanna fan for a long time, and I hope that these blogs will convince you to be, too! Until next time! 

Sincerely, a fellow “gambling” addict. 

-Elliot <3


A Conflicted Salutation to a Chaotic Junior Year :)

So, it’s no secret to anyone on MSA campus that I’ve done some things this year. Be it my friends, who will readily attest to the unimaginable amount of growth I’ve undergone in this span of roughly ten measly months, or my not so friendly classmates who will remind you of every misdeed I’ve ever committed against them, one thing is for certain: I’ve made my mark on this campus and the people on it. 

And I think that, for better or worse, is a very amazing thing. To think that I’ve made any impression at all on these people I share each day with and the environment we cultivate is a mind boggling things. But isn’t it what we all do every day? 

There are so many people on this campus who have made a mark on me. I’ll never walk into room 308 without expecting to hear an exclamation that surely came from a gremlin and being assaulted with the smell of approximately seven different Bath and Bodyworks fragrances, courtesy of my roommate Nyk. I’ll never enter my dorm bathroom without expecting the door to suddenly burst open and me be met with some obscure, chaotic quote from anything from a movie the world had forgotten to a Tiktok audio the world wished it could forget, courtesy of E. I’ll never not walk down the second floor hall of J.I. without hearing the pacing footsteps and clanging lanyard of a literary listening to what is, undoubtedly, music no one has ever heard of, courtesy of Lauren (said with love). I’ll never sit at the workshop table in the literary lab without the anticipation of a slammed down laptop and an “Okay, so…”, courtesy of Kit.  I’ll never walk (or in my case, duck) under any tree on campus without a thought of how hard it would be to climb it in sandals, courtesy of Madison. I’ll never walk into the Phoenix without expecting to take the seat all the way against the right wall and talk about an anime that’s been on my watch list longer than water has been on the Earth, courtesy of Ciel. And I’ll never enter the SLC stairwell without habitually yelling “LIZ!” in a greeting, courtesy of, well, Liz. 

I say goodbye to all of these people come a few days from now, and quite frankly, I am nowhere near ready. But, I wasn’t ready to meet them, either, and look how that turned out. So, with tears in my eyes and contempt for blank dorm room walls in my heart, I will face as bravely as possible the departure of my seniors, and do my best to give them one last, albeit tearstained, smile before they go. 

And, after they’re gone, I’ll spend the few days we juniors have left here in what feels like liminal space to contemplate the marks left on this campus. Even if you’re just looking at what’s occurred since it was converted to MSA, there are an unimaginable number of memories embedded into the very bricks of this campus. And I can’t help but wonder what they all are, who left them, and how many of them are in the shape of me.

So, I hope you’ll wonder with me, because wondering is no fun alone. 

Senior Showcases: The Experience of an Appreciative Junior :)

So, as it does every year, graduation has descended upon us. With showcase season behind them and the cap and gowns in front, the seniors now make their final preparations to leave MSA. I, as a junior, make my preparations to watch them go. 

As someone who’s roomed with a senior all year, this day has remained on my radar since move in. I never expected, however, for it to hit quite so hard. I knew it was inevitable that I would befriend seniors; I always had a tendency of making friends in age groups above my own and seniors made up half the school population. But I never expected my friendships with the seniors to matter so much to me. 

For the purpose of audience, I’ll keep this blog brief and just mention the senior literaries. I cannot explain how incredibly grateful I am for all of you and the lessons that you’ve taught me. Learning under you all this year has resulted in some of the most rapid and meaningful artistic growth I’ve ever undergone, and I just wanted to dedicate this blog to the literary seniors. 

Thank you to Lauren, Madison, Diego, Sydney, Taylor, Kit, and Lillian for all the things that you’ve taught me, all the memories you’ve made with me, and all of the wonderful pieces of yourself you’ve left with the junior class. I quite literally wouldn’t be who I am without you, and I couldn’t have asked for a more talented, amazing group of writers to have as my seniors. 

I’m proud of you all! And I look forward to watching all the wonderful things you’ll do. Keep in touch 🙂 

Sincerely, a soon-to-be senior. 

(p.s. I’ve never read anything by any of you I didn’t love.)

MSA Volleyball Nights :)

Now, I know it may come as a shock to all of you, and rightfully so. I am far from an athletic person, as anyone who was present for the events discussed can attest to. In fact, this came as a surprise to me, too. 

But I really love playing volleyball at MSA. It’s one of the more fun experiences I’ve had since arriving here, and that’s saying something. Before coming here, I detested any sport in any form, and the idea of partaking was the furthest thing from my mind at all times. I was convinced that, due to my lack of tact or ability, anyone that I played with would judge me. Full transparency, that fear still pops up every know and then. 

However, thanks to the people at MSA, it’s manageable. Everyone who plays is a genuinely kind person, and I’ve never felt judged, even when I messed up. In fact, certain people have even been kind enough to start teaching me how to play correctly, which is a surreal experience, to say the least. 

Speaking of, the entire event of volleyball games will, I am confident, go with me into the rest of my life. They just have that air about them of nights I like to remember, and I vividly recall stopping several times to appreciate the fact that I was there, actually experiencing that moment. And that is a feeling almost better than scoring a point for your team 🙂 

I look forward to many more volleyball games, and a thank you to everyone who plays with me! 

Sincerely, someone who still needs to serve a little softer. 

Beautiful Words Brought to Me by Tiktok :)

So, in a classic move of my own personal desperation to avoid the clutches of writer’s block, I’ve begun a new blog series! For context, I’ve had tiktoks come up on my for your page for a long time now that will randomly drop gorgeous, never-before-heard words into my life. These come in a series such as “Beautiful words that describe obscure emotions” by user @ewistone and many others by many different users. 

In this series, I will be sharing the words, their definitions, and the personal impact they’ve had on me, as well as (if applicable) a story idea/concept they’ve given me. So, buckle up, because I’ve got quite the list of these words, and this series could be a long one. 

1.) Opia 

Definition: The ambiguous intensity from looking someone in the eye

Now, when I first heard this word, I thought of two things. 1. the way that books describe eye contact between lovers; that emotion filled, starry eyes, coveted look that all we hopeless romantics long to share with another soul. and 2. the sudden and harrowing dread that fills my body when Worth decides to stare at me unplanned. 

2.) Vellichor 

Definition: the strange wistfulness of used bookstores 

Now, if you are familiar with one Lauren Stamps, you are very well aware of this words existence because it is her username on almost if not everything, as it should be, because this word fits her scarily well. The idea of going into a bookstore that you’re just sure contains some magical portal to a secret dimension is the only thing I can think of upon hearing this word, and perhaps I shall write a story about it someday.

3.)  Adomania

Definition: The sense that the future is coming too quickly

Now, this word makes me think of, well, myself. As I’m sure any senior that isn’t burnt out to a crisp will tell you, the future comes on fast. I, as a junior who has already begun planning their senior showcase (yes, I’m that person), am all too familiar with the sensation of the future rushing forwards to meet you like the sidewalk after you trip over your own feet. However, I would be remiss if I did not point out the strange sense of exhilaration one can glean from this, if the associated anxiety can be overcome. 

Well, that’s all for this week! Stay tuned for next week as I bring you more beautiful words that tiktok has brought me. Bye! 

Sincerely, someone suffering from acute adomania. 

My New Appreciation for The Moon :)

So, this will be a short one, but a heartfelt one. 

In conversations had recently with a new friend (Daisy), I’ve found a new and somewhat renewed appreciation for the moon. All throughout my life, I’ve looked up with fondness to the night sky; the key difference, however, is that I was always looking to the stars. The moon was a simple fixture that I looked at with slight fondness on my way to the stars. 

Now, however, I find myself infatuated with her. The moon is now hands down the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I look forward to her nightly changes with glee. It’s an amazing cycle I count myself lucky to observe. 

A quote me and Daisy liked; “Name me a poet who isn’t drunk on the moon, and I’ll name you a man who lies about being a poet.” 
-Elliot 2022

That’s all for this week! Your homework: go appreciate the moon! 

See you next week! 

Sincerely, someone who’s inner child still wants to be an astronomer. 

Yes, I Totally Have a Blog :)

The title is correct, I absolutely totally have a blog for this week. I am purposefully and intentionally (not out of last minute desperation) discussing the game Little Nightmares 2. 

It may seem unorthodox to discuss the second game first, but technically it does predate the original game in the timeline. So, I want to discuss the absolute masterpiece that is Little Nightmares 2. 

Starting off, you face the Hunter. As with all villains, he is monstrous in both size and design. Hooded head and shotgun in hand, he chases you and your newly found companion through the postapocalyptic television filled forest. You dodge buckshot after buckshot until you eventually find another shotgun and permanently end the Hunter’s reign of terror. From there you ride a floating door to the City.

Here, you meet an assortment of villains. From a teacher with a neck that extends like a nightmarish hand, a horde of literally feral wooden schoolchildren, a disturbing assortment of assorted hospital patients made of discarded parts, a doctor not unlike that of a giant larva, city citizens that are concerningly invested in their television watching, and, finally, a very thin man with a very long reach. 

Making your way through the game, you will encounter any and all fears you may have as well as every conceivable form of discomfort, as is the Little Nightmare specialty. This game does such an amazing job at accomplishing anything and everything scary or creepy, and is the closest I’ve come to a horror game obsession since FNAF first dropped. 

I highly encourage all of you to go and play this game if able, and if not to look up a lets play and watch someone else play it for the experience. It’s on my favorite games list for sure. 

Speaking of, I might dedicate the remainder of my blog time this year to some of my favorite games. What do you guys think of the idea? Let me know. 

Until next time!

Sincerely, someone who still screams when the mannequins move.