In our ongoing celebration of the release of OMNIBUS VIII, we interviewed one of the student authors published in the anthology. Rasyid Notowidigdo read an excerpt of his story, “A Fragment of Infinity” at the OMNIBUS VIII release. In the following interview, he details the experience of reading to the crowd, discusses his own writing process, gives advice to other aspiring writers, and tells us about his plans for the future.
**The OMNIBUS, and dozens of other 826michigan publications this year, was made possible in part by the generous support of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. We are grateful for the MCACA’s consistent and tangible investment in our students and their work.**
Q: What was it like to read your piece in front of the crowd at the OMNIBUS release? How did you feel? What were you thinking?
A: Reading in front of the crowd was many things, though the first thing that came to mind was the sheer amount of people there. I expected a classroom’s worth, about twenty to thirty, and when many more than that rolled into the room I immediately started breathing heavily. It was terrifying, simply put. So many people I didn’t expect to read to, nor was I used to being at the stage. Despite usually being the one behind the scenes most of the time, this experience reading in front of people was a pleasurable experience that I somewhat look forward to doing again.
Q: Tell us about the whole OMNIBUS release event: What was your favorite part? What could have been better?
A: I very much enjoyed the whole skit with Dr. Blotch during the release, I felt like it really brought up my anticipation to read so that I could prove her wrong. The skit itself felt very dramatized though, but I can appreciate an attempt at entertaining the audience.
Q: What does it feel like to be a published author? What advice do you have for aspiring writers or other writers who have not yet been published?
A: I feel like an alchemist who perfected a formula after ten dozen tries, to put it simply. Liberated and proud, and ready to delve into the next fantastical challenge. My piece, Fragment of Infinity, was built upon many late nights of speculation and talking with friends: “What if our emotions could physically manifest?” “What does infinity look like?” and other such questions. It took a while to really get it on paper, but I suppose that leads into my advice for other writers: Ask questions. Ask questions while you write, work, study, whatever you do. Keep asking questions, even if you think people will think you’re stupid for asking it. I’ve learned a lot in the past year or so, but one of the many things I learned is that the questions you don’t ask are the questions you regret the most. It is questions that let words flow onto paper, don’t underestimate them.
Q: Are you currently writing anything? Do you have plans for other things you’d like to write? Do you think writing will be part of your future?
A: I am currently writing a bit of a chronicle. Fantasy, as I usually delve into, though more traditional. Ancient war, greedy kings, benevolent protectors, you know the sort. Although I am mostly painting the world before putting it into motion, I do not doubt that this could either be what I’ve been trying to write for an eternity and a half, or possibly lead into it. I can’t imagine myself not writing in the future, personally. Words and stories have always been my way of telling a tale I can’t tell in realistic and socially acceptable terms. I do wish to be a teacher, though pen and paper will never be too far away from me.