Illustrated by Kelly Doherty/OutWrite
This piece was originally published to represent Turquoise (Magic & Art) in our Spring 2023 print issue “Color.”
Written by Christopher Ikonomou and Judah C
1st level conjuration
Casting Time: 3 weeks of training
Components: V, S, M (a pen, a piece of paper, and an inkling of queerness)
Duration: Concentration, up to the rest of your life
You step into the first meeting of Student Media’s queerest magazine, OutWrite. It is one of UCLA’s hidden gems, where people can truly be themselves. You applied as a writer on a whim. This was the first queer organization you were involved with during your college career. Seeing other people enjoy their time at OutWrite (and finding you do, too), you stay in the organization for the remainder of your academic years. You drift from being a staff writer to becoming a Developmental Editor and even a co-host of “Speak Out,” OutWrite’s very own podcast, each role challenging your creativity. Here, you are allowed to flourish, trying different techniques to hone your craft.
Perhaps you stumbled in from a different path, intrigued by the promise of free cookies and vibrant queers (who will later be your closest friends). Your self-taught artistry and rookie confidence bloom into unabashed love. Your first piece explored the joy of living on the outskirts of normative society. Now you find you’ve built a cozy home on those outskirts during your stay. Eventually, you proudly accept the crown of Editor-in-Chief (but you still shoot the shit with the aforementioned Developmental Editor whenever the opportunity presents itself). Either way, you have made it, you have grown, you are happy. It was worth it.
You smile, thinking about all the great friendships you’ve made here. Your heart aches, knowing that your time at OutWrite will end, though you both left a fantastic legacy for future queer creatives of all kinds. You both started a podcast, became part of the editorial team that keeps the organization running, and took part in the many prints that graced the hands of queer students at UCLA. You remember when OutWrite struggled during the Great Plague, but like a phoenix (thanks in no small part to the necromancy of our amazing Editor-in-Chief), it rose from the ashes and became the powerhouse we know today. You know that with the foundation you built over years, the people who take your stead will do an amazing job.
You will look back and wonder how you could have possibly done so much. Dozens of past articles wave at you from the beyond, reassuring you that you did. They push you from behind toward bigger and greater opportunities; you couldn’t have done it without them, and they wouldn’t be here without you. No matter where you end up, this place will be a fond memory you cherish like a loved one. You may even send a letter asking to go on the podcast one last time, hoping the bonds you fostered will be there to welcome you. It is a privilege to grow older and see your impact unfurl before you. Your work will ripple past what you can even imagine and erupt in a powerful storm whose aftermath only strengthens what you leave behind.
OutWrite will always have a place in your heart years down the line when you’ve both made it somewhere, somehow. You hope that new classes of OutWrite members will have the chance to grow the same way that you did.
At Higher Levels: If you retain concentration for one year, your inspiration is likely to become everlasting and your creative force unstoppable. The world should really watch out.
Authors: Christopher Ikonomou (Xe/He), Judah C (They/Them)
Artist: Kelly Doherty (She/Her)
Copy Editors: JQ Shearin (She/Her), Brooke Borders (She/They)