Writer Spotlight: Isaiah Isley Teaches Self-Motivation Through Writing

JESS3_Social_MLK_QuoteMany of the people who converse with me would never believe that I had a problem speaking when I was younger.  Despite the numerous vocabulary words I knew, sentences would not flow effectively the way I wanted them to when I tried to plead my case.

However, I had a knack for writing poems, raps, and songs so my father said “if you can’t tell me your thoughts, write them down, I would love to read them.” Since that day, anything I see, hear, or say can serve as a catalyst for me to manipulate words and phrases in ways that I still cannot explain.

Embracing my own creativity with writing has served as an outlet for all of the negative aspects of my life such as stress, instability and a lack of self-confidence, which seemed impossible to explain to my father.

Yes, I, Isaiah Isley have doubts about myself and my abilities sometimes, but those doubts deteriorate each and every time I read aloud a small piece of material and I gauge the reactions of the audience because I am realizing that I have a gift; the gift of oratory. Utilizing my creative writing effectively has become a self-motivating technique and a reminder that I am capable of achieving a great deal of success, which is defined as one’s satisfaction with their accomplishments in this case.

 My favorite phrase that I have ever written down is “you are what you are, you accept you’ll be respected” because it encourages everyone to be comfortable embracing themselves. I am comfortable with my gift and it will not go to waste because I will not allow it to.

Creative writing opens up my mind by coercing me to paint a picture with words, which challenges my intellect, but results in a great deal of psychological pleasure in the end.

 I would encourage others to write down their thoughts in a journal, notebook, and if they are hip to the new fads they can write in their notepads on their cellular devices. Our thoughts, visions and ideas are important and they have the potential to shape and mold others over time. Shakespeare, Poe, and Twain are still idolized today because they wrote down their thoughts and someone else thought that they were important.

The many words that I have used to compose the multiple pieces of literature that I have completed have acted as my motivation and given me a sense of purpose in life.

…Creative writing is my life. 

[Image from Bok Fu Do]

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Isaiah Isley has written numerous poems, raps, songs and a short story since the eighth grade. He has performed his personal pieces in front of hundreds at talent shows, fashion shows, sporting events and open mic nights. Isley, majoring in Corporate Communications​, is currently on the Deans’ List  at Central Penn College and is on a mission to redefine success for the world through various forms of education. After graduating in 2017, Isaiah is going to attend graduate school.

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Writer Spotlight: Derrick Johnson Talks Creative Energy

Creative writing is a form of releasing energy. Whether it’s writing, typing or texting the word document, paper or text box is a place where you can store energy from within you. Releasing energy is good because it allows your body or system to create room for new energy.

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Feeding off of the same energy for too long can become a negative thing because you can lose motivation, it can turn into anger and become a burden to you, and allowing energy to build up can lead to stress which has severe side effects such as a change in your mood, behavior, and even your body.

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I compare it to a car getting its oil changed. Whenever a car gets its oil changed it allows the car’s engine to perform better, after a while through a number of ways the oil becomes dirty and affects the engine’s performance.  If a car runs on the same oil for too long the engine will eventually stop running and you will have to buy a new one.

David McCallum

Well it’s no different from any human being: if energy isn’t released new energy can’t form and that’s when it becomes a problem.

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Writing should be promoted more–too many people forget things nowadays and a simple written note to self could make all the difference.

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For those who have trouble getting ideas and thoughts across I suggest writing to them. Writing can simply be viewed as an alternative for outlet. For instance, if you want to be heard and you feel like your voice isn’t or can’t be heard you could simply write a letter, message or note.

…writing has no limit.

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Derrick A. Johnson known as “Muff” by any human being who shares time and space with him, is striving to be better today than he was yesterday. Born in the South part of Bronx New York and raised in Philadelphia he was a unique, self-motivated thinking child.  As an active high school student he participated in athletics, participated in community events, and participated as an advocate for justice.  Currently he is pursuing an Associates of Science Degree in Entrepreneurship and Small Business at Central Penn College in Enola, Pennsylvania. He strives to positively contribute to the campus environment by serving as an active member of the Central Penn Literary E-Zine, supporting peers, faculty, and staff, and working part-time. His academic goals are to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and to conduct his (future) internship at Comcast in Philadelphia. His professional goal is to obtain employment as an executive with Comcast.

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Writer Spotlight: Dezmyn Edmond Talks The Saving Grace of Creative Writing


Edmond (far right) with TJ Blackwell (center) and Khaleef Fields (left)

Creative writing has actually saved my life.  Before creative writing my life was horrible, and I had unexpressed emotions that only manifested itself into tears. I soon developed depression in high school, but very few believed I actually had it, more specifically my family. The more they did not believe I had it, the worse it got. Creative writing, more specifically poetry, was my outlet so I would not cry myself to sleep at night. When I started writing poems I started feeling better about the events that have happened in the past by simply writing about them in my poems.

 Quotation-Fierce-Dolan-depression-best-Meetville-Quotes-18732From my family to the fake friends I made in high school, they are all written in poems so I can creatively express my feelings toward them without actually expressing those feelings toward them in reality. However, sometimes I feel like writing about these individuals in my poems just is not enough. I still don’t sleep at night at times because when I think I’ve gotten rid of those awful heart aching memories, they come crawling back when it is the least convenient, which is when I am trying to sleep. I would try to write my feelings out, but so much is going through my mind at once that I would develop writing anxiety and lie awake at night wishing the memories would just go away and never come back into my mind.

When I could sleep, nightmares occurred, making sleeping worse and worse as the nightmares felt more real with every passing night. Now that I have depression, writing anxiety, horrible memories, and on top of that the nightmares worsening, it is no wonder I cannot sleep. Soon I realized I was still harboring leftover feelings that never escaped from the prison that is my subconscious.

When I started attending Central Penn I started to develop a whole new perspective on my life.

By talking to the college’s counselor and various professors I came to the realization that I have to try and come to grips with my past and not let it control my life. Using the advice, the techniques provided by the counselor, and creative writing as an outlet for whatever mood I’m in, I have better control over my pain from my past than I used to, though I still struggle with it from time to time, but I have control over it a majority of the time. To this day I still struggle with it, but I’m managing it the best I can and hopefully soon, with the support of the people that have helped me before, I can overcome my anxieties, depression and various nightmares so that I can have a good night’s sleep I really need. Until that time comes, however, I will continue to seek help from those same people, but not so much I become dependent on them.

 All in all, believe it or not, I’m happier than ever and living life the only way I can.

[image from the author and from meetville.com]

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DELiving in New Jersey, I spend most of my time out with my girlfriend. I enjoy doing Sudoku puzzles and word searches in my spare time. I also like bowling and I’ve gotten quite good at it, but I still aim to be better than my best. Poetry’s been my main focus, but when not doing those activities I’m playing fighting and adventure video games, like Pokémon; unlike some I’m not ashamed to say it. I like listening to real hip-hop music unlike the rap music nowadays that’s only about sex, drugs, violence, and money; everyone’s entitles to an opinion.

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Poetry Workshop

Poetry Workshop Flyer

The 2nd Annual Poetry Slam is almost here!  Get ready to bring your best with our poetry workshop hosted by The Central Pen’s own Maria Thiaw.  We’ll be talking about performance and poetry, tips and tricks for giving your best performance, and of course, how to SLAM!


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It’s not about having time, it’s about making time

If everyone waited until they ‘had some time’ to sit down and write, then we wouldn’t have William Faulkner‘s As I Lay Dying, Joseph Heller‘s Catch-22, Lewis CarrollAlice’s Adventures Under Ground, or much of the early works of T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Toni Morrison, Franz Kafka, William Carlos Williams, or Jorge Luis Borges.  These literary giants worked day jobs at some of the most mundane placespost offices, insurance companies, and banks–all while dreaming of the stories, expressions, and lyrics that have come to be a part of our literary genetic code.

What sets these authors a part from us is not that they had more time, but that they made the time to scratch the writing itch.

But how do you make time in a world where the most creative exercise many of us get is how to rig the alarm clock so that you don’t end up smashing it against the wall in the morning? Continue reading

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The “R” Word: Revision

There comes the point in the life of a writer when their work emerges from its dusty hiding place under the bed, or stops serving as a coaster on the night stand, or leaves the expansive margins of the Basic Algebra notebook. This is the moment when the budding writer steps out into the light, and makes the declaration to the world:

I am Communicator, Story Teller, Poet.

They claim their name and walk in that truth, but before their transformative process is complete, they must embrace one important part of the writing process: the dreaded R word! Continue reading

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Poetry Contest Winners Announced!

Poetry ContestAfter a record-setting year for submissions, The Central Pen E-zine is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s poetry contest sponsored by The Central Pen and the American Academy of Poets.  These poets impressed the judges ‘brutal honesty, ’’captivating’ images, ‘use of allusions,’ ‘playful word choice,’ and ‘use of dialect.’

First Place: “I am” by Jade Harper
Second Place: “Changes” by Isaiah Isley
Third Place: “Nerd Music” by Dezmyn Edmond

In addition to their prizes, all of our poets will be featured in here on the blog in the upcoming months!

Thank you to all of our poets Roman Alcazar, Robert Ashkenes, Kyisha Bright, Ricky Cousar, Steven Henry, Jr., Derrick Johnson, Richard Mann, Charles Mull, Jacquelyn Roi, Hollyann Thigpen, Bachelle Upshur, Myrna Vicente-Cruz, Ireshia Warren, and Jordyn Zelko.

A special thank you our judges Professors Thomas Davis and Matthew Vickless, Writing Center Director Dalton James, and Student Activities Coordinator Danielle Klebes all of whom had a difficult job this year determining the winners.

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The Central Pen Staff

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The Joy of Text

Favim.com-29936You’ve taken final exams, submitted final essays, and talked to your professor for perhaps the final time.  Throughout the term, you’ve thought about this moment, where you would get home, flop on the couch, and relax in front of your 1080p LG 3D HDTV without a single thought of class, assignments, studying, or…..reading. This works for a while, but soon you find yourself longing for an escape from endless reruns and I.Q-lowering reality television. You’ve sought to escape the reality of textbooks and paying attention, but you never thought that reading, reading for pleasure, could provide the escape you were looking for. After all, aren’t you used to reading to memorize, reading to analyze, and reading to criticize? Well, what about reading to fantasize?

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Creative Writing and The Job Market: Part Three

In a career-focused college, some may ask: how do outlets like literary magazines contribute to college students’ professional goals? how do they provide students with intellectual and professional advancement opportunities? and why do we need venues like literary magazines?  This post series looks at each of these questions in-depth and offers advice to college students who are looking to navigate an increasingly challenging (and rewarding!) job market landscape.

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Why do we need venues like literary magazines?

Too often, we get caught up in the details of everyday life.  Is it going to rain?  Did I pay that bill on time?  Where did I leave my keys?  Of course, it’s important to be able to follow directions, place a budget, and stay organized, but it also important to nurture and develop our creativity.

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Literary magazines offer writers the opportunity to create, share, engage, and yes, even empathize.  

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Creating and sharing creativity work is the most exhilarating, terrifying, and rewarding thing we do.  Often, the creative process must be done alone or whatever alone looks like to you.  It could be in your bedroom at a desk.  It could be in a crowded coffeeshop in the back corner.  It could even be on a park bench down on a river walk.  Wherever or however it is, you are shaping and structuring alone.

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The writing process can be exciting and frustrating and wonderful and awful–often all of those emotions at the same time.  

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Conquering the Writing Blues

anxietyWriting anxiety looks different for everyone.  For some, it means that sick feeling in their stomach when faced with a blank screen.   For others, it means cleaning the apartment, doing the laundry, playing in a pick-up game—anything to avoid having to write that paper.  Writing anxiety looks different for everyone, but the key here, is that everyone experiences it.

On Thursday, April 11, several students, faculty, and staff attended a workshop on writing anxiety sponsored by the English Department and The Writing Center to talk about past experiences and to share tips for managing future anxieties.  The discussion was moderated by a three-person panel: Professors Matthew Vickless and Melissa Wehler as well as student expert Dezmyn Edmond.  Each panelist discussed a personal example of how they have experienced one of the three fears that generate writing anxiety: fear of judgment, fear of success, and fear of process.

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