To Aspiring Writers

Student finds inspiration in quarantine reading

To Aspiring Writers

Isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic allowed many people to explore themselves and their passions without the pressure of many outside influences. Senior James Pressdee discovered not only a passion but a talent for writing. 

“During lockdown, there’s a lot of free time — I had a lot of thoughts that are not like anything I’ve had, but what inspired me the most was ‘100 Years of Solitude,’” Pressdee said.

The book “100 years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez tells the story of the Buendía family and their patriarch José Arcadio Buendía who founded the town of Macondo, which has very limited contact with the outside world. Over the course of the story, the village slowly loses the innocence and solitude it once had, civil wars bringing violence to the once peaceful place. 

“I think I had a lot of the same outlook as the author,” he said. “I wanted to try to emulate that.”

So he began his journey into the world of writing, even in such a short period of time he’s been able to watch himself grow and his style change. 

“I think the way I write is probably more pleasing now than when I first started,” Pressdee said. “It was very formulaic before, just plain descriptions, and now I try to add more flair.” 

Pressdee has been able to submit his writing since he started growing his skill and confidence within it.

“For ‘Elementia’ you get like a little gift basket if you get in,” he said. “It’s always nice to be published in something. It’s nice to be recognized.”

Next year Pressdee will attend KU to study international relations. While writing won’t be his main focus, it’s not a joy he plans to give up. 

“I think there’s a lot of writing involved, although it’s not necessarily the same — it’s more formal. I enjoy writing if it’s about things I’m interested in,” he said. “I’ll probably take another creative writing class during college, just for myself [and] maybe submit it to places independently.” 

Writing stems from an emotional place for many people. It’s something passionate and honest that for many, like Pressdee, is where the appeal lies. 

“There’s a lot of things that I enjoy — books and screenplays of certain movies I like — so I try to emulate those, but I like having my own voice,” Pressdee said. “It’s a way to understand my own experiences. I guess it’s a little selfish that way, but it’s, for me, very personal.”

To all future writers Pressdee leaves them with this piece of advice: 

“You have to be persistent. Reading a lot helps, but you’ll never get better if you don’t actually practice. Just keep writing.”