Ellen is a wannabe literary polymath currently in her junior year at USC, and now the newest member of the Indie Grits Visiones team. She was born and raised in Columbia and her hobbies include reading, DJing for her university radio station, and making sure everyone knows how she thinks they should be living their lives. She has had the privilege of educating herself through travel, and what she can’t learn onsite she absorbs through books. She is always game for an argument and values the gift of sarcasm above all else in others. She hopes to eventually earn her PhD in Comparative Literature and one day be paid for her opinions, for they are far too valuable to be given away for free.
Growing up, I, like so many others, faced the familiar world of unsettled teenage girls desperate to leave home and see and be a part of something different. I never felt the full veracity of these cravings though, because I was fortunate enough to be raised in the Columbia arts community, the Nickelodeon providing particular parentage. I saw something different everyday. I spent most of my childhood seeing and hearing all about the Nick; however, I was never able to discern how exactly I fit into it. I went to films with my mother, all while rolling my eyes in a desperate attempt to not admit how cool she was. As I got older, and I realized that I was actually working to be just like her, it dawned on me that the Nick isn’t a community you have to fit into; its spirit is built off of individuality and freedom of expression, no matter the message.
The Nickelodeon serves as a platform for people to hear and be heard. Indie Grits in particular has acted as a celebration that worked to provoke thought, hoping that thought would then provoke change. In 2015 Indie Grits challenged us to think about where we were headed as a community and what we wanted our future to be. In 2016 we turned to Indie Grits as a mode of expression and for solace – to reflect and witness our trauma of the 2015 floods in an effort to find healing. This year, Indie Grits has invited our community to celebrate the culture of one of our fastest growing demographics. I find the Visiones theme particularly exciting because it offers me an educational platform rather than a reflective one – the chance to be receptive rather than introspective. Having the pleasure of being behind the scenes to put this together makes something I already loved that much more important to me. Indie Grits is my favorite time of year and I am so excited to be a part of the team that makes it happen.