FlipSide Face


by Ryan Steinbach

She’s written three stories, one play and more than 100 poems in addition to being featured in the last four Sequels, not bad for a chemistry major.

Senior Alayna Kissinger received “First Place in Prose” for her work in the 2005-06 Sequel. Not many students can transition from the structured, technical world of chemistry to the creative and uninhibited realm of creative writing.

“I enjoy both of them,” Kissinger said. “I was really good at chemistry and was one of those crazies who would get a 100 percent and extra credit.”

Although Kissinger could have easily excelled in a more creative major, she stands by her chemistry education because of its practicality.

“Being a writer, actor or singer – sometimes you can’t fall back on it unless you’re lucky,” Kissinger said. “I can work my real job and still have my work published.”

With more than 100 creative pieces to her name, where does Kissinger get her inspiration? While most students turn to the television to shut off their minds, Kissinger uses the idiot box as her gateway to enlightenment.

“Television and the media in general help me to write because you have different stories, feelings, attitudes and beliefs,” Kissinger said. “It exposes you to different things you normally wouldn’t be exposed to.”

Since television and movies are her stimulus, it is only natural that sex is a reoccurring theme in her writing.

“I find I write a lot about sex in relationship to love and commitment,” Kissinger said. “It’s so broad that you can write about it from many different perspectives.”

If sex isn’t the soup du jour, Kissinger also enjoys writing about the dark side of human emotion.

“A lot of my writing has to deal with a sadness, a loneliness and depression,” Kissinger said. “I don’t write about this because it’s the impact of the media. It’s the specific movies, shows and characters that might have those traits.”

Although Kissinger has received awards for her writing, she is the first to admit she still struggles with the basics.

“My major weakness is grammar, mostly spelling,” Kissinger said. “I’m not a sentence fanatic, I write by inspiration. The mechanics are what editors are for.”

For those students hoping to be the next Kissinger, here is some advice from the expert.

“Just go for it,” Kissinger said. “Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get published or win awards. Just keep at it.”