Blake Thompson

Major(s), Concentration(s): Human Service Studies
Minor(s): Psychology
Year at Elon: Senior

1. Other than class assignments, what kinds of things do you write or have you written?
Most of my writing is entered directly into my journal. I have come to learn how important reflection is for me. Experience, in my opinion, is the best teacher so I like to hold on to my experiences through my pen and ink pad. I also take much pride in creating my own philosophical thoughts usually expressed through tweets. Below are just a couple from the thousands.

ex. "Expect nothing and find the most in yourself."
"Listen to the leaves pass and catch the leaves in its presence."
"If you can't change your mind, are you sure you still have one?"

2. What piece of writing are you most proud of?
My junior year I took a class for my Human Services major entitled, Social Policy and Inequality. We were to write a 15-20 page paper on any aspect of social justice or inequality of our choosing. My paper was based on the welfare of people in the United States in which both equality and equity are supposedly on what this country is based. My passion lies in the welfare of all people in this country, especially our youth, and it was reflected in this paper. This 18 page gem I wrote is the best and most passionate piece of writing I have written since coming to Elon.

3. Where is your favorite place to write?
I love to write in a place that gives me a view of nature. I always set up my room so that my desk is in front of a window. I do this so when I work on homework or write huge papers I have a view of the outside world. With a view of the outdoors I feel more at peace than staring at a blank wall. I was inspired to write in this type of environment by the introduction of yoga to my life. Yoga has brought me to a more peaceful place in life with the focus on nature and tranquility. I also like to have a lit candle present when I am in deep thought!

4. Do you have any interesting quirks and/or routines you follow when writing or when you are preparing to write? What are they?
I don't think I have any routines to go through before a solid writing session, like I do before a football game. But there are a few things needed to have a productive writing session. I need to have a full stomach to avoid losing my train of thought due to the rumbles of my stomach. I also like to have a candle lit, preferably a lavender or mango scent, to create a relaxing aroma in my environment. To add to the positive vibes in my writing environment I play, very softly, hip hop instrumentals, nature sounds, and christmas music. In preparation for writing, my music selection, aroma and scenery are necessary to produce a good state of mind to create a quality piece of writing.

5. Who is your favorite writer? Why?
My favorite writer is Shawn Corey Knowles-Carter, also known as Jay-Z. The many messages that Mr. Knowles-Carter has conveyed through his words on paper and through his music is one unlike any other I have read or heard. The 11 solo albums (I own all of them) he has created since 1996 claims him as, to me, not only one of the most influential writers but also story tellers of all time. He has the ability to bring his words to life and conveys messages that can apply to any life or experience. Not to mention the book he wrote, "Decoded", explains some of his writing, or lyrics, along with his story of becoming one of the most influential people in our generation. Now I know what you are thinking, "How is Jay-Z a writer besides the one book he published?" By giving one of his many solo and collaborative albums a listen, his words, poems, and stories paint a beautiful yet intricate piece of his life. A piece of me has been influenced by Mr. Knowles-Carter not just by his music but his lifestyle, experiences and way of conveying life lessons through words. Yes, Jay-Z is my favorite writer, favorite artist, and favorite celebrity!

6. What was the best writing experience of your life?
The best writing experience of my life occurred when I was 12 years old. My father signed me up for a summer camp experience entitled the "Black Student Achievement Program (BSAP)". This program was run throughout my county, Howard County, in Maryland to give young people, not just Blacks, the opportunity to close the achievement gap. This wasn't my ideal summer, but now at age 21 I can appreciate my dad for enrolling me in the camp. In the camp I took an English class taught by Mr. Wright. He introduced writing, thinking and reading in a way I had never before thought imaginable. I remember reading the book "A Time to Kill" by John Grisham and the poem "A Dream Deffered" by Langston Hughes. In this course we dug more deeply into the poem and book than I knew was humanly possible, at least for a 12 year old. Mr. Wright opened my eyes to a whole world I had never imagined in writing, though I used to only imagine making plays on the football and baseball field. I can attribute my interest for poems, word play and philosophical thought to Mr. Wright and his English class.

7. What would you most like to improve about your writing?
What I need to improve most in my writing is putting the thoughts I have in my head directly on paper. When writing, I sometimes get ahead of myself with all of the ideas racing through my mind. The ability to slow things down in my mind so that I can properly convey my message to the audience is my biggest fault when writing. I also tend to get a bit lazy when I finish the first draft of my writing. Sometimes I feel like I am done with the piece, but I always prove myself wrong. A constant reminder is what I need so that once I finish writing, it does not mean that I have completed the writing process. The first draft of the piece is only complete, yet there are still more steps to complete until the final draft is finished.

8. What advice do you have for other Elon writers?
When writing try not to think inside of the box nor outside the box. Think if there was no box!