By Emily Andrews and Mina Jang
Leila Bathke -- who is she? There are many sides to Bathke. To some, she’s the girl with the fiery red hair and undying appreciation for Walt Whitman. To others, she’s a kind, caring friend who is always loyal. However, above all this, Bathke is someone full of fresh new ideas and stories to tell the world. Leila Bathke is a passionate writer and poet.
Why do you write?
I write because sometimes there’s just too many thoughts in my head, and putting it down on paper makes it easier to make decisions or just reflect on it and get through it.
What inspired you to start writing?
So, I read this book that talked a lot about Walt Whitman, and one of his poems is called “Song of Myself,” and it inspired me to read Walt Whitman’s poetry. I bought his book. It was a totally tattered copy, probably like fifty years old, and it really inspired me to write. It’s a super long poem, and it’s really good. There’s this one part about God, and he’s questioning God, and he doesn’t really get to an answer, but just putting it down on paper … just the question at the end.
Why do you think literature and writing are important even in today’s society?
Well, we read in history. We read a lot of literature, and it’s good to write literature to leave that for posterity, especially since our world is changing so much, and youth have become so much more empowered now. So, I think youth should really write as much as they can because our world is going crazy, and it’s good to have that in the future.
What’s your favorite book, and why?
This book called “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury because I read it one time, and this is like three years ago, and I totally didn’t understand it. Well, I mean it was good, but I didn’t really look into it that much, but a couple years ago, I read it again, and I started annotating it and looking for all these symbols, and … I just really loved it. I loved reading into all the metaphors, and it made me want to write more.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
I think the hardest part about writing is when you write something that is so truthful to yourself that it might sound like really dumb if you say it out loud. You constantly worry about every word that you write, like, “Oh my gosh, people are going to think I’m crazy or dumb or too extreme.” So like questioning every word.
If you could write about anyone fictional or nonfictional, who would you write about?
Maybe my brother, just because I’ve known him his whole life, and I know all of his experiences and stuff, but he’s a very quiet and mysterious person, so it’s hard to tell what he’s thinking all the time. So, it would just be really interesting to sort of try and study his mind.
How do you think your creativity affects your thinking on a daily basis?
I used to have this sign in my room (I just wrote it down myself) that said, “Search for symbols in your life and create symbols in your life, so that you can make that in your writing.” I tried to remind myself to be creative and be a poet in everything that I do, whether that’s going on a hike or climbing trees. But I think going through life poetically and having a creative mind like that [opens] a different side to things.