FLARE launches Summer 2018 Online Edition

FLARE: The Flagler Review is proud to present this summer’s online edition, building on our successful Spring 2018 print edition. Each piece in this summer edition was chosen because it lives up to our mission of showcasing colorful, vibrant works from passionate writers and artists. We hope that you enjoy these selections as much as we have!

> Check it out here

– FLARE Editors

Tips and Tricks to Defeat Writer’s Block

By Cait Kimball

As writers, we all share one thing in common- one dreadful, debilitating phenomenon that plagues us all: writer’s block. It’s unavoidable. One day, words will flow from your keystrokes as gracefully as an Olympic figure skater on ice. The next, it’ll be as if your ice skates got stuck in the mud and suddenly you forgot what typing sounds like. It’s rough, but we’ve all been there. So here are some tips to combat writer’s block and get writing!

1. Take a Break

I’m a firm believer in taking breaks. If you have been staring at the computer screen for the past hour and are still stuck, odds are you are going to spend the next fifteen minutes doing the same. So instead of wasting another fifteen minutes, take that break. Change your surroundings. Go outside. There’s a plethora of inspiration out there, you just have to find it- which brings me to my next tip:

2. Always Carry a Journal

If that’s too archaic or unpractical for you- I get it, its 2018- have a notepad on your phone. I have a notepad on my phone that’s titled “LOLs” and it’s full of funny or interesting things either my friends have said or that I’ve overheard strangers say. People are funny. Take advantage. When you’re out in public, or taking that break, jot down notes on your surroundings. Write down what you hear, see, or smell. It doesn’t even have to be coherent. But later, when you’re looking through your notes, you’ll find a conversation you overheard, such as, “I’m not used to living in Florida yet, it’s so flat here. It’s weird, I miss Colorado. I guess the mountains make me feel safe,” and now you have a character.

3. Lists

People uses lists everyday: grocery lists, to-do lists, the list goes on. Sorry, I had to. A great way to start getting into the mindset to write or finding inspiration for that next story, is to create lists. List out your earliest childhood memories, the times you’ve fallen in love, the times you’ve had your heart broken, etc. Be descriptive. Where were you? Who were you with? What time of year did this occur? The more vivid the better. Were there flowers on the trees? Did the air smell like sunscreen? Was it cold? You can use these moments, these detailed descriptions, for your next story.

4. Read

Everyone knows that if you want to become a better writer, you have to be a good reader. Recently I was reading the work of a poet I admire, so I decided to write an imitation poem. I analyzed her poetic choices and themes, and selected which elements I’d like to honor. Paired with my own experiences and metaphors, I actually ended up with a poem I’m happy with.

5. Writing Prompts

They’re everywhere. They’re even on Pinterest. Some websites even post new ones every day. Find a prompt you like and roll with it. Don’t worry if it’ll be a masterpiece, no one has to see it. Just write. This will get your creativity flowing and you might even come up with a new story idea.

Four Things You Should Know About Applying for the M.F.A

By Caitlin Costello

In December of last year, I went through the process of applying for my M.F.A in creative writing. I felt that I should share my experience of applying for these programs and what I know now that I didn’t know before about the process.

The Manuscript is very important

These programs are seeking one thing and one thing only, good writing. Your manuscript is the most important part of your application. It should feature your best writing. The length of your manuscript may vary since different programs require a maximum length, but usually, fiction ranges from 20-30 pages of prose, and poetry requires at least 50 poems. Your manuscript should be edited to a tee! I would recommend having someone you know read it and give you feedback before submitting it. Be creative, original, and most importantly be you in your writing! The best writers are those who stay true to themselves and write by their own truths.

Some programs are more prestigious than others

There are many creative programs in the United States, however, some are more prestigious than others. This can mean that you will have to be selective when choosing programs to apply to. Some of the top programs at the top schools are harder to get into. I personally don’t think there shouldn’t be a competitive side to writing, but unfortunately this is how some of these programs think. In is important to consider that many programs have very low acceptance rates. This means that a lot of people may apply to many these programs that offer very few spots. I know, it sounds unfair! I would recommend looking up M.F.A programs in every state, there are also books that list many unique programs and provide helpful information. When applying for multiple programs, don’t be discouraged if you don’t get accepted into some of them. There are still many programs out there that exist and they are willing to accept you!

The wait is the most daunting part

Waiting to see if you’ve been accepted or not to a program is agonizing! Especially since most programs want you to submit the application the previous year. Most deadlines fall between November-January. But you see, you don’t hear back from them until March or April at the latest. The wait is long and apprehensive, but it is worth it. I am currently waiting on hearing back from at least 3 schools, and have already been rejected by 3. So, at this point, I’m basically playing Russian roulette.

Rejection is inevitable, relax, it is not the end of the world!

Do not take their admission decisions to heart! In their rejection letter’s they will tell you that their programs are “selective” and “competitive” and that you’ve basically lost a hard fight. That’s not true at all. Some programs just don’t have enough spots for people. Therefore, you should always apply to your top schools, and then have multiple backups. When apply for these programs, you are guaranteed to get rejected! I know, and I say that happily! You are more than likely to be rejected more than you are accepted, and that’s okay! It is okay because their rejection shouldn’t mean anything to your writing and your dreams. You shouldn’t take it personally! You should continue to write and write more. Don’t be discouraged by their decision, instead take the opportunity and the time to grow and work on your writing. Besides, if you cannot not write, and if you feel in the deepest parts of you that you are meant to write, then you know that you are writer at heart.

Discovering the Mercy Thompson Book Series

By Cali Getson

When I was eleven my best friend slept over. When I woke up I was surprised to find her reading. I was the one who was into reading, she was more into video games and her computer. The book was a late birthday present from her brother, and it wasn’t the first book in its series so she was confused by some of it but really liked it. After describing the book, she told me that her favorite character was a werewolf named Sam. This book was New Moon. My bestie ended up moving the next year. In an effort to keep in touch and have something to talk about, I went in search of the book. All I could remember was that there was a werewolf named Sam. The first book I came across with a werewolf named Sam and a female protagonist was Moon Called by Patricia Briggs. The first book in the Mercedes Thompson series.

Moon Called quickly became my favorite book of all time and the rest of the series doesn’t disappoint either. So far there are 10 novels in the series. For literary journal readers who like shorter pieces I suggest reading Briggs’ book of short novellas based in the same world as Mercy called Shifting Shadows, although there will be a couple of spoilers once you go on to read the series. It takes place in a world similar to ours geographically. The main difference is that there are supernatural beings like faeries, werewolves, witches and vampires. The main character, Mercedes Thompson, a.k.a. Mercy, is a Volkswagen mechanic in Washington State with a degree in history and a huge secret. She can turn into a coyote and was adopted and raised by werewolves. She tries to stay out of trouble but she has a big heart and can’t stand by while others need her help. This may sound like a totally Twilight-ish book but it deals with bigger problems than if she gets a guy or not. It deals with supernaturals coming out to the public and dealing with discrimination. It deals with loyalty and friendship. Staying independent yet also learning when to ask others for help. Rape, PTSD, drug problems, etc. Plus, Mercy is nothing like Bella. Mercy is fiercely independent, sarcastic, smart, and doesn’t really care about being in a relationship. As she grows and learns throughout each of the books, the reader gets to watch it all unfold and grow with her. This was especially true for me because I was just becoming a teenager when I read her books and I took her lessons to heart. Lessons like, be kind to everyone because you never know what they are going through when they aren’t with you. Do not leave someone in need but do all you can to help them, even if all you can do is take them to someone who can help. Parents aren’t perfect, so don’t be too hard on them. Your community is your friend, so network with people, make friends and you will have a support system in place if you ever need it.

I highly recommend the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. She is a fantastic writer who really tugs at the heart and creates bad-ass characters. Mercy is a character you can connect with and admire. The world Briggs has created is subtle and woven through reality. It has big world problems and small intimate issues. The supernatural and native American elements add surprising twists and turns leaving the reader guessing what will happen next.

The Literature of the Anime Film “Your Name”

By Angelica Spencer

One day while summarizing the plot of an anime series to a classmate I caught the attention of my film literature professor. He was interested in watching it because of the fantasy plot it had and asked where he could find it and what type of show it was. But, when I told him it was anime he backed away and dismissed it as something he would not like because of what type of media it was. I tried to persuade him it was be good to broaden his horizons, that anime could be high quality, and had something to offer for everyone but I doubt he took my advice. Perhaps it is because anime is typically categorized as a low art form not deserving of being called literature or fine art.

But literature is not just poetry or written fiction. Literature is anything which has lasting merit, is thought provoking, and evokes strong emotions in its audience. Though it is often dismissed, anime has many titles to offer which fit this description. Makoto Shinkai’s latest masterpiece “Your Name” is one such title.

The plot of “Your Name” starts off as a light hearted and fun. The main characters Taki and Mitsuha begin switching bodies regularly which leads to some comedic moments. They find ways to communicate with out meeting face to face, help each other with their problems, and grow closer as they learn more. However, one day the switching stops just as suddenly as it began and this is the part of the film that truly shines full of symbolism and emotion it leaves many viewers to tears.

The second part of the movie revolves around the red string of fate and other related aspects of Japanese philosophy frequently seen in Japanese written literature such as poetry and folklore. Basically, it states that two souls can be linked together by a red thread that cannot be broken.When the mind forgets a person who was important to you the string binding you to the person will ensure the body and soul remember.

There is a scene toward the end of the movie where the characters finally meet each other despite the overwhelming odds against them. They forgot who the other person was but remembered when they saw each other again. In the limited time they have together Taki suggests they write each other’s names so they won’t forget again once they part. But they are interrupted and only Taki gets the chance to write something. Yet, instead of his name he chooses to write “I love you”. This is because he knows writing his name is futile as circumstances will ensure its erased since it has happened before. However, emotions are left alone and are the only chance they have of finding each other again.

This scene and the movie in general is full of intense fluctuating emotion which is enhanced by beautiful music and some of the most stunningly gorgeous animation ever created. For this reason “Your Name” deserves to be considered a work of literature even though it is anime.