November 10, 2009

iScribe Interview Series - Holly of Arts and Sciences

Name: Holly Tran
Major(s): Biology
Year of Graduation: 2013
Position: Featured artist (Fall 2009), Scribe member

Rumor has it you're a poet and a photographer. How did you get involved in these mediums? Do you see a connection between photography and poetry?
I was always an avid reader. As a child, you would frequently find me under the covers with my face in a book. For those nights when my mom declared it bedtime, I would stuff the unfinished adventure under my pillow, where it laid as my companion to accompany me into dreamland. I started writing short stories early in middle school—most of which remain unfinished. From my recollection, my first surge into the poetry medium occurred in the sixth grade when my teacher introduced the unit. For some reason, I already had background knowledge on his lecture of the week—rhyme scheme. That feeling of comprehension served as motivation, encouraging me to explore the ability to express in the form of poetry. My acquaintance with poetry grew into a solid relationship. I found gratification in being able to expose my thoughts in ambiguous metaphors. I found immediate relief in being able to subdue my internal torment by the mere act of assembling succinct lines. To me, these words that came together were more than letters—they were powerful emotions materialized upon paper.

My first notable involvement with photography occurred in high school. Being denied of the drawing course to fulfill my fine arts requirement, I chose to go with my alternate choice of photography. This semester course introduced me to the SLR camera—a simple device that had the capability to produce the most striking black and white images. I started to see everyday surroundings in a new light. Art was everywhere. I had found a medium that could visually evoke emotions. I had found a way to make the world stop in time. I had found a way to give voices to objects that could not speak.

Both of these mediums have the ability to tell a story, evoke an emotion, or relay an underlying message. The beauty of these mediums—and any kind of art—is that the underlying message is open to individual interpretation.

Which of your photographs are you most excited to see printed in the Fall 2009 edition of The Independent Scribe? Why?
Honestly, I have no clue which of my photographs will appear in The Independent Scribe. I think not knowing builds up the excitement. It’s like waking up Christmas morning to open presents that you were unable to find the night before because your parents wised up to your yearly sleuthing.

You're a biology major. Tell us a bit about that! How do you balance science and creative writing - is it a struggle, or does it come naturally to you?
Science keeps me grounded. Creative writing sets me free. They both keep me sane and alive. There is never a struggle to balance science with the arts/creative writing because they coexist. They always have.

What is your favorite part about being involved with The Independent Scribe?
The people, the ideas, the process—everything. The members here are incredibly accepting. Their open minds are not limited to the myriad of genre that flood their inbox each semester, and unlike Ebenezer Scrooge, these fine folks jump at the opportunity to share their wealth—of knowledge, that is. In my time with the Scribe thus far, I have realized that this is a gathering of thinkers, writers, artists—all of whom seek to push your limits and ideas. You can’t join The Independent Scribe and expect to leave as the same person. Be prepared to learn and grow.

If you could throw a huge party with any writer, who would it be and what would the soiree be like? Details, please!
Kate Chopin. Since I tend to be a reserved person, I would probably scale the ‘huge party’ down to a day out in town. Perhaps a conversation about her feminist views over tea and then the rest of the day dedicated to enjoying nature. Emerson and Frost could even join us. Besides, throwing a huge party with an acquaintance seems a tad bit strange…

How do you feel about rhymed v. free verse poetry? Do you have a favorite poem in rhyme? A favorite free verse poem?
I enjoy either, as long as the author keeps the format uniform throughout the entire piece. It’s irksome to hear an arbitrary rhyme right in the middle of an engaging free verse. That being said, I am very fond of Emily Dickenson’s “Because I could not stop for Death” and T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”. The poems that stick with me are the ones I can see come to life. Those images never leave.

If you could travel anywhere in the world to take photographs and write poetry, where would you go and why? What, specifically would you love to see and write about?
I would preferably like to visit a place where the majority of the architecture held historical roots. Somewhere not too popular and somewhat quiet. Somewhere I can feel the wind and see the coast. Somewhere over the rainbow… I’m sorry, I couldn’t help but add that last bit.

Back to the question: It wouldn’t matter where I went, as long as it was outdoors and some place I had never seen before. As for the poetic theme—that would have to be a surprise. Why? Why not?

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