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  • Writer's pictureNick Hartkop

July 6th, 2021 (Reflection)

When I was in middle school there was a club called, "Power of the Pen." It was a program where you would write short stories during a specific amount of time and the best story won. I was a poor student, I struggled with emotional disturbances, ADHD, dyslexia and a ton of social problems, and the application tournament was during recess, so it was a big deal to me because I was always inside for bad behavior. I remember writing some weird story about a kid who dies and what it was like to go to Hell if you weren't a Christian. My mom was abusive with how she punished me for religion and it was something I had to think about constantly, so I would create these weird stories to try to cope with my fear of dying and going to Hell for being a bad person. Not only did I not qualify, but the teacher pulled me aside and asked me questions about my emotional state. It was humiliating, not just because my writing piece didn't make it, but also because I was told that what I wrote wasn't normal.

I remember being jealous of the kids who qualified, and I decided that some day I wanted to be a "professional writer". However, I struggled to write anything completely because of my lack of commitment. Writing always took too long so I started writing poetry (like most teenagers) and that became what I liked to do. My dad was going through a midlife crisis at the time and started buying acoustic guitars for himself, which I stole and would keep in my room. I connected with the idea of making music because I had been spiraling emotionally since I was a child, and just screaming poetry that I had written over some chords felt powerful to me, because it was mine and no one could take that from me. I started writing songs but couldn't sing for shit so I never really thought about doing it publicly. All my friends would say I sucked, but I would always think about failing "Power of the Pen" and I stuck with it despite the rejection. I'm glad I did though, and I have been really blessed for my music to reach some people. The thing about life is that there is always going to be rejection and failure, but if you keep going, you can end up doing what you want to do, and be who you want to be. __ The song "Waste" by stuck in the sound has always stood out in my mind as one of the best of the 2000's. It's a 2006 song so it's older, but the acoustic guitar is so beautiful and the electric riff is bright. José Reis Fontão has an incredible voice, and they are my favorite french indie band. Check the song out here.

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