VIII : Eden Breinich
I wrote ‘VIII’ for a class during my first semester as a freshman here at CCAD. Robert Loss, the professor, introduced us to Creative Nonfiction. Our final essay revolved around it and was pretty open-ended. I was used to standard boring essay formats they teach in high school, so I was really excited to experiment with this form that was so fluid and could sit on the edge of poetry. It’s one page of a much longer piece consisting of different formats, detailing different struggles throughout my life and celebrating the turn of tides that coming to CCAD brought for me. I was inspired by Hanif Abdurraqib’s poetry and nonfiction writing.
‘VIII’ was a way for me to confront the grief that I had put under my own rug. I decided to give college another go a few months after my dad passed, and I applied to CCAD on the deadline date—having only a few days to prepare a portfolio. Though I really enjoyed the blur that my life soon became and all the wonderful changes in my environment and myself, I was really bottling up the grief about losing my parent. It made me feel emotionally isolated from my peers. I didn’t feel that anyone could really understand or see me more than surface-level, because the “real” me was fighting a battle of contradiction underneath. My happiness and mental health were at an all-time high, but I had survivor’s guilt. I wondered why I got to see things get better while my dad didn’t. This led me to write VIII, paralleling his death with my own attempts at it. Though it’s a depressing piece, it was a necessary confrontation and an important part of my healing process.
When I found out I won, I was in shock. I had told my friends I expected nothing to come from it, that I just submitted for the principle of doing it. VIII was the second of the two pieces I submitted, and its inclusion was a literal last-minute decision. I didn’t even know if it counted within the genre. In learning I won, I was a little embarrassed to find myself crying. It was overwhelming. I felt seen, I felt heard. It wasn’t for nothing, after all. Nothing is for nothing. Good can come from hurt. That keeps me going.
Read “VIII”: http://botticellimagazine.com/viii/
Check out Eden’s Instagram @edenbreinich and @imag.eden to see more of their work!