Senior English major Kristy Lim is in the P-12 Dual Degree/Dual Certification Inclusive Education Program at Montclair State University. She is also the poetry editor of The Normal Review, the campus literary arts magazine. Lim is very proud to be a part of an organization that gives student artists a platform for their work, including herself — a writer and photographer.
Q: What makes you an artist?
A: I would consider myself an artist because I try to express my thoughts and feelings in creative ways. I often use similes, metaphors and symbolism to represent my ideas in writing. I try to photograph scenes that evoke emotion. I also believe that a big part of being an artist is intention. For example, I wouldn’t consider someone who mindlessly snaps pictures of their friends to be an artist, but I think that someone who spends time carefully photographing a sunset is an artist.
Q: How has Montclair State fostered you as an artist?
A: I believe that great writers must read great books. Sometimes great books come from genres that you would never pick up yourself. I have had opportunities to read books from a variety of genres because of my English classes, and I am grateful for that because they have expanded my views on writing and literature. For example, I never liked reading plays prior to my college career. After I read ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ in my American drama class, I saw that plays could be just as enjoyable as novels.
I also think that you must practice in order to become a better writer. As an English major, I have certainly had plenty of opportunities to write and receive feedback about my work. Being a member of The Normal Review for four years has helped me improve my creative writing because it has motivated me to write more.
Q: Describe your proudest works.
A: One of my poems was recently published in an anthology called ‘New Jersey’s Best Emerging Poets.’ The publishing house found one of my poems in an edition of The Normal Review and asked me to submit it. I never expected to be ‘discovered’ as a writer, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to share my voice.
Q: What or whom inspires you?
A: I know that this story is fairly common for writers of my generation, but J.K. Rowling inspired me to write through the Harry Potter books and her personal life story. Rowling had all of the odds stacked against her while trying to establish her career: she had no money, no job, had to raise a baby as a single mom, battled severe depression and faced rejection from a dozen publishers. But she believed that her story was worth telling, and she pushed through all of those obstacles. Now Harry Potter is one of the most well-known book series in history. Rowling taught me that if you work hard and believe in yourself, then you can accomplish anything. So when people tell me that I’ll never be successful as a writer, I always keep this Harry Potter quote in mind: “Every great wizard in history has started out as nothing more than what we are now: students. If they can do it, why not us?”
Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from when you write?
A: I am inspired by nature and outer space. I’m drawn to the beauty of autumn trees, oceans and colorful sunsets. I am also fascinated with outer space, and I often include references to it in my poetry and prose. If I had the brains to be an astronomer, I would be, but science has always been challenging for me. At least I can compromise by using space metaphors in my writing. I think that the mysteries of the outer world motivate me to explore them.
Q: How long have you been passionate about writing?
A: I have been passionate about writing since I was in fourth grade, and I have been passionate about photography since I was in ninth grade. My first story revolved around a purple hero named Super Cat—thankfully I can say that my writing has evolved since then. Now I often write about nature, outer space and challenging life issues that come my way. As for my photography, I’ve always taken pictures of nature.
Q: What are your long and short term goals?
A: My short-term goals are to graduate with my bachelor’s this spring and with my master’s next year. I’d also like to have a teaching position secured by the time I graduate. My long-term goals are to make an impact on my future students and to be a published writer. I know that I have a long and difficult journey ahead of me, but I’m excited to keep working at my craft until I’m ready to publish.