‘Ink’ is the nexus of creativity among Woodland Community College students – Daily Democrat


Editors of Woodland Community College’s Ink literary arts magazine include Triston Miller, Flora Ibarra and Sebastian Campbell, under the guidance of English teacher Kevin Ferns. (Jim Smith/Courtesy)

For the past 12 years, Woodland Community College students have had the opportunity to share their creativity through poetry, essays, short stories and artwork.

Published twice a year, Ink magazine provides an opportunity for creative expression for students in English courses and other students on campuses in Woodland, Lake and Colusa counties.

Under the guidance of English teacher Kevin Ferns, “Ink” allows students to put into practice the style elements learned in class through written or visual forms.

For example, in its Fall 2023 issue, there are 22 examples of visual arts and photography, as well as 23 works of “prose and poetry,” with submissions spanning the entire literary genre.

Flora Ibarra, one of the magazine’s editors, wrote a poem titled “I Want” that reveals the memory of companionship and concludes:

My friend, where are my memories hidden?
Or have I been forgotten?
Do you still use this word now?
I still love you despite this scar on my heart
I wish you all the best.
Life goes well without my hand in yours.
I think of you.

Fellow editor Triston Miller captures the uncertainty of each day in a four-section piece titled “What’s Next,” noting in the conclusion:

When the chess pieces of life fall, what kind of fate awaits us?
Then must the curtain of existence fall?
Unsolved mysteries remain,
What lies ahead when our time is gone?

Other poems are short but telling, such as a poem by Elisa Stewart titled “My Poems,” which is only four lines long:

A lot depends on the choices we make
In the paths we choose and the risks we take.
Every decision we make designs the future,
A strong painting of the grand design of our lives.

For Ibarra, 26, and Miller, 25, Ink is not just a creative outlet but also a serious undertaking, as both are responsible for gathering material, editing it when necessary, and then ensuring Print and publish on time.

They were recently joined by 19-year-old Sebastian Campbell, who is actually in his second semester as an English major in the district. He worked with Ink for less than a month.

All three are residents of Lake County and attend classes in person and remotely in Woodland.

Ibarra, a sophomore communication science major, plans to transfer to Sacramento State in May, where she will continue to learn the mechanics of speech therapy.

Miller is a sophomore studying early childhood education and plans to transfer in May. He became involved while attending an English course offered by Ferns.

Ink was born in the spring of 2012 and has been accepting student work ever since.

Ibarra and Miller said each magazine doesn’t have a specific theme, making it sometimes difficult to get students to write and submit work, with Ibarra adding that during a recent semester they actually had to “play catch-up” with students’ assignments.

“We allow anything as long as it’s appropriate, but in general it’s pretty open,” she said. “Although this semester we have received a number of submissions that dealt with the theme of abuse.”

Miller added that because they typically stay at the university for about two years at most, each editor has his or her own way of doing things, “and for us it’s more or less focused on the students to see what stands out.” To a large extent, the subject matter is the student body. “

“In order to prevent some things from becoming too personal, we do allow pseudonyms. So it has to be submitted by the student, but it doesn’t have to be their real name,” Ibarra said.

Miller noted that a small gesture can inspire more students to be creative and open-minded.

“We think this allows students to express their feelings more authentically,” Miller continued. “We like that authenticity because once you put that information out there, you’re more likely to feel better about yourself and be able to express those things.”

“I also think that because we are a small community, it can be a little intimidating to put your personal side out there,” Ibarra added. “This pen name gives students more freedom.”

As editors, the trio had the obligation to review submitted stories and poems and then decide how “heavy” or “light” they were in writing. However, in general, they prefer the relaxed approach.

“It’s a little different, but we try very hard not to interfere with the writing,” Ibarra said.

“Personally, especially with poetry, I try not to manipulate it,” Miller said. “With short stories, I look carefully for spelling errors, punctuation errors, and then when I’m finished, I send (the author) a revised manuscript before publishing so it doesn’t stray too far from the author’s intent. When I’m not sure about the author I don’t want to say anything in their words until I agree with the changes.

However, there are some limitations. Poems can have many lines, while short stories are usually between 500 and 600 words, but vary depending on the number submitted. For example, more “shorter” stories were submitted last quarter. If you turn in longer stories, the number will be limited.

Ibarra also said that student writers often write “more realistic” stories and less fantasy. Fantasy often appears in poetry and artwork, which can indeed be impressionistic, realist, or not allegorical at all, providing a visual statement of or about life.

Poem titles provide clues about the themes, such as “Unnoticed,” “It Wasn’t Hard, Was It?,” “Memories of Graduation,” “Perfect Summer,” and “Counting Down the Years.”

The artwork is also varied, ranging from black and white pencil drawings to full color illustrations.

Regardless, Ink provides students with an opportunity to do something different through free writing and visual expression rather than a traditional college paper written for credit or an artwork completed around a common class theme.



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