Artist Feature: Elise Villarreal

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What Color am I to you?

By Elise Villarreal

 

What color am I to you?

Because when I think of you,

It’s definitely blue.

The stillness of your voice,

Is the obvious choice,

That you are my calm

My deliverance from the gone.

And when I think of him,

When our chances are slim

The color that comes to mind  is

Green

But not because it’s serene

This color definitely does not

Soothe my storm

If anything it only makes me

Feel more forlorn.

And when I think of that man

Who claims to be my “biggest

Fan”,

Only one color enters my head

And, that color, has to be red.

All he does is plead and moan

He cries and pouts that he

Can’t call me his own

I want to be pretty and I want to

Be clean

But I just get all mixed up

In this messy color scheme

Everything is racing right

Towards my heart

But this time, I won’t let myself

Fall apart.

I’ll pick up my medias, and

Design my own hue

Because honestly

I just can’t deal, with all of you.  

 

Elise Villarreal, junior English and theater major, spoke to the Hilltop Monitor about how, on the surface level, she wrote this poem about three colors. However, Looking deeper each color represents a person in her life at a point in time and her relationship with each person. She had difficulty explaining the depths of what the poem means to her, because writing poetry is how she explores emotion and thoughts that she cannot always express verbally.

“I can never find the words when I’m speaking – I can only write well,” Villarreal said. “I can appreciate precision of language on a page, especially for me, because I’m not very confident when it comes to conversation.”

Villarreal said writing helps her to think through her feelings. To her it makes sense for poetry to have this effect. She said that this is the job of a writer, to articulate ideas that can be cathartic but also relatable to an audience.

Villarreal realized she enjoyed writing in first grade, when a teacher provided her with a blank hard cover book and told her to fill it up. Inside, she wrote an entire story and drew pictures to go with it. In her self described “emo years” of middle school, she began writing poetry that she said was dark and horrible. She began to journal in sixth grade, writing poems whenever she thought of them, although she said she is a terrible journaler. She keeps many journals but nearly all are unfilled.

Taking Dr. Williams’ class was a turning point for Villarreal’s poetry. She said Dr. Williams is a “real life poet’’ and taught her how to be more intentional with her language – that every word needs to mean something.

“When I was writing before, it was just kind of my thoughts,” Villarreal said. “I was trying to come across as poetic, but [I] really wasn’t fulfilling that job because a poem itself, at least the way I see it, because a poem is an extreme feeling contained in a few words.”

Poetry can be fun, just playing with words according to Villarreal, but also frustrating trying to find the right words. Her next challenge is improving her performance in poetry readings, Villarreal said. Dr. Williams has asked her to read poetry at different events, and Villarreal continues to oblige despite the fact that she does not enjoy it so far. She said her voice shakes, and she cannot control it, but she believes that with persistence she will improve.

“I’m not scared of it, it’s just my performance ability hasn’t reached its full potential yet,” Villarreal said. “The fact that I don’t like it just comes from the fact that I’m not good yet, but I could be.”

Villarreal said that someone who wants to become a better writer should just write more. She said that when she got into writing poetry she just wrote constantly, and eventually she began to see it as solving a puzzle, putting words to a page, finding the right words to describe what she’s thinking.

“It starts to become fun and intriguing after you start to realize how much of it is in your control, over what works, what doesn’t, putting words together, taking them apart, making them rhyme, making them not rhyme, making an image that is interesting,” Villarreal said. “It’s just realizing the power that your voice has over all the words in language.”

While Villareal does not want to pursue poetry as a career, she said she will always value her skill in poetry. Understanding how to become intentional with word choice has made her a better writer in general, even with a text or a tweet. She said now she knows what words will make a message come across clearly, or which will pack the most punch.

“It’s all about being intentional with your words, and so being able to use that in all aspects of writing is really an important skill,” Villarreal said.

Photo courtesy of Elise Villarreal

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