Subtext Literary Festival Day

Old books (pixabay.com)

“Clark Crossings,” a highlight of the Subtext Literary Festival and a part of the Columbia Writers Series was held at Clark College this week in the Penguin Union Building at noon.

One after one, students and faculty traded spots at the podium, announcing the pieces that they were about to read. The readings varied from works like Shakespeare and Marge Piercy, as well as personal writings of fiction, poetry and memoir. Each piece was inspired by the event’s theme: transformation.

The sixth speaker, Clark student Kyla Holdahl, read a fiction piece that was originally composed for her English class. The story was written about the time when her dad became quadriplegic.

The story was titled “Not Monday but Maybe Wednesday” referring to when she was hoping to see her father again. Holdahl’s tone was thoughtful and well paced as she shared personal experience and heart-rending moments. While her story unfolded, she paused a few times to catch her breath and hold back tears, as did the audience.

“It felt good actually,” said Holdahl. “[It’s my] first time speaking and reading my own stuff in front of people.”

Holdahl said it felt accomplishing to share her work and emotions to an audience, although it was a very different experience for her.

“Piggybacking off of the theme, it was a transformation for sure too,” Holdahl said.

Holdahl’s teacher Alexis Nelson spoke after her. Nelson is the co-director of the Columbia Writers Series and an English instructor at Clark.

Nelson shared her own piece of fiction about the time she fell in love with sports and an athlete.

Her story provoked laughter as she described how she used to entertain herself by finding each athlete’s spirit animal while watching sports games with her boyfriend. Yet she also told of her strong new relationship to sports and better yet, a sports man.

Nelson said that the Columbia Writers Series annually sponsors Clark by holding the “Clark Crossings” event and provides students and faculty a chance to share their own work.

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