SCAN MAGAZINE WINTER 2021
AMANDA RIVERA Third-year writing Pen name: Mandie Ni’
What inspires you? Definitely my failures and my heartbreaks, which sounds weird, I know. It inspires me the most only because that’s where I get my most of my creativity: from the people that hurt me the most and from the things I have failed at. But also, I’m a writer because God put me on this earth to inspire others. Sadness inspires my work because sadness can be relatable to other people. I want other people to relate to my work and relate to me, so they won’t feel alone. Interviewed by Elijah Johnson Portrait by Kire Torres
What writers do you look up to?
How would you define your voice?
Rupi Kaur inspires my poetry, because she says raw stuff. James McBride inspires my writing with his book, “The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother.” John Green, too, shockingly enough. Green’s novel, “The Fault in Our Stars,” made me want to read and write short stories.
I have a strong voice. It’s like the Black mom that you have in your head telling you what not to do. In my work, I’m speaking the hard truth. I don’t sugarcoat, ever. Christians sugarcoat a lot, when in reality, no, I’m still sinning today. It’s very aggressive, stern, sassy and a little sweet sometimes.
What’s your writing process? I’m inspired by the things around me. My process involves a lot of waiting. For example, if I’m writing a short story piece for a class, I will wait until the night before. I’m aware that this is very unhealthy, but I’ll wait until my anxiety is at its peak, in the middle of the night, then the words just come. One night I made myself cry and that was how a lot of poetry came out.
Other than Rupi Kaur, my favorite poet is Janetteikz she doesn’t just stand there and speak into a microphone. She acts it out and has visuals behind her. It’s gorgeous. She did this one poem about — either an abortion or a miscarriage — it brought me to tears. Jackie Hill Perry is amazing as well, she’s a Christian poet, rapper and she’s gay. She’s married to a man and has kids, but her need and want for women never went away. She is inspiring because her writing is so raw about herself. The way they write is how I want to write. They write about their trauma and emotions, they’re so open and raw. I want to write the same. Well, I do write the same.