Surrounded By Writers

By Andrea Torres

Disclaimer: I am NOT a writer.

I do not write fantastical fiction with overbearing villains and strong teenage heroines. I have no culinary creativity, so a cookbook is out of the question. Oh, I don’t draw either. No to the graphic novel. Children’s books? Only if your child wants to stare at stick figures for hours at a time trying to decide if I included a dog or a pile of clothes in a storyline about sharing cookies. A memoir, you say? Well, I can’t remember most of my childhood and more importantly I am NOT a writer. In fact, I don’t even like writing. All I have under my belt is this blog post, which I wasn’t excited about writing, and a list of college essays, none of them by choice and none that would be of any interest to a casual reader.

So why did I even intern at Lighthouse?

Simple: I’m an English Literature major. I like reading; why not surround myself with people who do the writing I so often indulge in? Which is exactly what happened when I attended one of the workshops offered here. I became surrounded with writers. As an aspiring publishing professional, and a non-writer, I was completely out of my element. Everyone in the workshop was so full of creativity and imagination, and there I was, the observer surrounded by the artists. Amidst this new world, however, I did become familiar with the writer. Allow me to rephrase: with the Lighthouse writer. In this swarm of people engaging in the exact same activity, there was idiosyncrasy in ever writer’s ways. No two writers had the same voice, descriptions, or pitch. And the encouragement was astounding. These writers—Lighthouse writers—want their peers to succeed. Whatever the genre or style, the students and the instructor critique and encourage so that you can create the best story possible.

And now here I am as an intern at Lighthouse, writing, which is something I do not do and do not like to do but found myself doing because that’s what happens at Lighthouse. I’m not sure if it’s the creative energy in the building, the ideas bouncing off the walls, or the forceful encouragement that has my juices flowing.

Whatever the case may be, Lighthouse is both the infection and the cure. If you don’t have the bug yet, you’ll get it soon, and Lighthouse will be right here waiting to bring you to the dark side when it happens. Make no mistake: The shining light on your lonely sea is only bringing you into the depths of muddled creation and dark, winding sentences. This is the place a writer (or non-writer) goes to get lost in the dark, only to leave having found themselves, a refined piece of work, or even a brand new piece (for the non-writers).

So have a little faith. After it drags you through the muddy shoreline, that shining light on your lonely sea will bring you to dry lands. And for those of us that didn’t even know we were lost at sea, thank you Lighthouse for shining your light on the blissfully unaware.

While the Lighthouse didn’t necessarily convert me from reader to writer, it did make me aware of the other side. With this newfound awareness, maybe I can find a way to be both the critic and the encouragement when my number is called in the publishing industry, so I can help the next aspiring writer change the world’s perspective—or at least teach the world how to make a decent shrimp cocktail.

Andrea Torres was Lighthouse's spring intern.