One of my first memories is going to the library with my mom for dinosaur books. I first started to write on the bus rides to and from school, writing my friends into stories and giving away handwritten copies. When smudged pencil marks irritated me (I’m left-handed), I switched to my mom’s Windows 98 computer. I remember the loud, grating sound of the printer and the 32-bit, ocean-themed screensaver—tropical fish in a coral reef swimming across the screen. The machine could never keep up with me; running Word was enough to make the old dinosaur crash.
I grew up in the country, and between that and the technology I had access to being virtually unusable I spent a lot of my time outside when I was younger. Back then, neighbors’ dogs roamed the neighborhood freely. I used to listen to the old man with the cabin on the riverbank tell stories about the old ferry boats. When he walked the neighborhood every morning, the neighborhood dogs would follow him along his route. You would see the throngs of dogs before you saw him. That old man inspired my writing more than I understood. He and his house were something out of a storybook. The tin roof was adorned with leaves. The front porch was decorated with windchimes made of glass bottles. He lived in a way my parents couldn’t fathom. Knowing that his lifestyle was a commonality in my area only fifty years ago only made it more special. His life, like so many other lives, was like a well-kept secret.
Writing went dormant in me for a while. Writing is processing, and processing is hard. Not writing, I realize now, is even harder for me. In college, I worked on the editorial board of Sequoya Review. I also wrote for my university’s newspaper, and I began to remediate my relationship with writing. I started tutoring other undergraduates in writing. Now, as an intern with Sundress, I can contribute to having a positive impact on my community on a much larger scale. I have always admired the important figures that worked behind the scenes to produce great writers—the Gertrude Steins and Silvina Ocampos of the world. Not only were these women amazing writers on their own, they played instrumental roles in propagating entire literary movements. East Tennessee deserves more literary representation, and I am so excited to participate in a community that I feel so strongly for.
Kyle J. Wente (he/him) graduated from the University of Tennessee, where he studied English and Creative Writing. He has served as Editor of Poetry for Sequoya Review in Chattanooga, TN. He loves nature, playing bass, and co-parenting his partner’s ten-year-old beagle, Marlowe Eugene.
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