I write this with deep sadness; it’s my final Opus blog post. Over the past year as co-editor, and the semester before as poetry editor, I’ve had a wonderful experience. And I don’t just mean that in an abstract way. Nope. I’ve loved working with and learning from everyone that Opus reaches. I don’t know another setting quite like that of Opus–the shared joy over creative writing and artwork, the welcoming of new faces to open meetings, the enthusiasm of the staff, and the encouragement of peers, professors, and our adviser. As a transfer student, I was unsure of myself and my place on campus when I arrived at Hope. The Opus community, and really the entire creative community, welcomed me and let me know I had important things to offer.
But enough about me. Let me share 5 wonderful things I’ve learned in my time at Opus that I will carry with me–and you should too. I will mostly focus on the written aspect of Opus, but this applies to visual art as well!
1) Write. Write when you don’t feel like it. Write when you feel like it, but you don’t have the right words. Write when the feelings hit, and the words come out as a jumbled mess. Write even though that jerk in class laughed at your piece. Write because if you have the urge to write, there is already something beautiful happening.
Ray Bradbury once said about writing, “Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall.” The most important thing is that you take that first jump.
2) Don’t give up. Submit your work. Get rejected? Revise it; submit it again. Does your work not quite say what you want it to? Don’t settle for the close word…keep searching for the perfect one. This obviously applies to so much of life.
3) Be friendly; be open. It’s a little weird for people to share work. Opus is a strange sounding organization to many at first. But that’s where the lovely people I work with come into play. I’ve seen editors inviting people to Opus meetings, encouraging someone in their work, telling that extra-shy person in class that every voice is worth hearing in art, coming up with an open mic night so that all who are willing can share their work and their voices, letting people know they matter, that they are important. I’m getting choked up just thinking about the beauty in these little interactions that invite and encourage people. Honestly guys–Sadina, Sam, Grace, Tommy–we all thank you for your attitudes and enthusiasm.
4) Spend time with people that get it. Sadina and I spent nights that faded into mornings holed in the basement of Dewitt bent over a shared computer screen. Did we get frustrated? Oh yes. Did we eat candy to not hate life? Oh yes. But ya know what, I will miss those nights because we were working toward a common goal together, and art is more important than sleep. And there’s something so great in spending even stressful times with someone who gets it.
5) NEVER. EVER. STOP CREATING. Okay I basically said this. So you get it. But SERIOUSLY. Please don’t. I want you to create in beautiful moments, in painful moments, and in moments that are just absurd. And really, it has nothing to do with what I want. But be honest, you NEED to create.
Alright. Whew. There’s so much more I could say but I’ll stop. I’ll just leave you with a picture of prince and some dank memes.
Keep your hearts burning, and your arms open to the universe.