Tag Archives: Writing

Spotlight on Creativity: “The Coyote File” Unshelved

By Chloe Lindeman, Co-Editor-in-Chief

When was the last time you wrote or created something that really made you proud? For Alex Brooks (HC ’17), that moment is now — but it’s been in the works for more than four years.

This Thursday, Brooks, a political science and Russian double major, is releasing the prologue to The Coyote Files, a digital article series he started during high school. It tells the story of the US and Russia fifty years in the future through the eyes of four different characters.

The Bi-College News sat down with the political science and Russian double major to hear what the process has been like for him. Here’s what he had to say:


Did you always know it was going to be a Russia-US story?

Not really … I wanted Russian characters in the story, because this was around the same time I was visiting Russia, participating in Russian programs and stuff. Russia’s a fascinating place, and it has a fascinating history, and so why not have some of it take place in Russia? It’s also a part of the world I understand more than I understand other places … I think the big caveat on what I’m writing is, this is my perspective. I don’t know everything about Russia; this is based on what I know and my experience and what thoughts I have personally.

Did you think a lot about it while you were studying abroad in Russia?

I did. It was hard for me to talk about exactly what it was about. I was trying to actually work on it in Russia. It was a lot harder to work on it in Russia because I was thinking in Russian and my ability to write in Russian is not as good … We had grammar class, and I was just tired of grammar exercises, so I would try to see if I could write a short story to use the grammar. Honestly, the idea didn’t work that well, but at least I got to explore what I could write in Russian.

You’ve been working on this for four years. Have things changed?

I’ve changed a lot; the story’s changed a lot, too. It’s nothing like whatever I was working on at first … I overhauled the story and completely scrapped everything I was doing and started from scratch at least five different times. I’ve written lots and lots of drafts. For every overhaul, I’ve written a draft of something … I did a lot of deleting stuff like crazy, especially if I learned something new and I’d realize that this element of something that I’d think is really important is not in the story at all; it’s time to change it. Or I’d discover I’m wrong about one sort of thing. Or I’d learn something new and I’d really want to work with that. But now I think … it’s ready now.

Was there ever a time when you thought about scrapping the project and doing something totally different?

I mean, not really. It’s weird because it’s something that’s stuck over the past few years, and there are times when I’m not working on it as much. I guess there are times when I have doubts. Like serious, serious doubts. And I’m wondering whether I’m going to do anything or whether it’s a waste of time or something. That’s definitely a thing, that’s happened multiple times. But ultimately, this is something I’m passionate about. I really like writing … at this point, I have the story; I just need to put it out there.


Brooks didn’t say much about the background of the story itself since the prologue is the background. He did note that among the characters are Allison King, “the daughter, basically, of the Bill Gates of their time;” Andrei Volodin, “who runs Kremlin Corp. … [which is] an arms corporation;” and Bagha, a “cybernetic soldier.”

“I’m starting with Trump and Putin … the prologue starts in 2020, so it’s not like now, and of course it hasn’t happened, but it’s foreseeable,” said Brooks.

You can read the prologue at www.thecoyotefile.com any time after its release tonight, Wednesday, Jan. 25, at midnight.

Edwidge Danticat Comes to Bryn Mawr

By Nina Inman, Staff Writer

On Wednesday, October 26th, Edwidge Danticat presented a reading as part of the Bryn Mawr Creative Writing Program Reading Series. For more than thirty years, the reading series has brought various accomplished writers to Bryn Mawr. Danticat’s visit continued this tradition.

Danticat’s readings were framed around the current disaster in Haiti. Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti on Oct. 4th, and the nation continues to struggle with the effects. Danticat pointed out that destruction of livestock and crops will make living in the already impoverished country even more difficult.

The author also spoke on the Haitian cholera outbreak, which was carelessly caused by doctors and other peace workers while providing humanitarian aid during the Haitian earthquake in 2010 and then further exacerbated by Hurricane Matthew. She connected the outbreak to slavery, the United State’s occupation of the Dominican Republic and America’s role in the creation of suffering worldwide.

The death and sadness created by the two natural disasters, her personal experience and American occupation of numerous South American nations led Danticat to select readings from her works, Claire By the Sealight, Farming of Bones, Create Dangerously and a currently unpublished memoir, The Art of Death. In these works, she explores the idea of bearing witness to events both sad and beautiful and learning how to honor and remember them.

Danticat explained the Haitian tradition of honoring someone a year and a day after their death. Some believe that when an individual dies, “the souls of the newly dead slip into rivers and streams and remain there, under the water, for a year and a day. Then, lured by ritual prayer and song, the souls emerge from the water and the spirits are reborn.

She discussed the year and a day tradition in reference to her mother and those who died in Haiti as a result of the hurricane and earthquake, as well as American occupation of the Dominican Republic and other South American nations. “It is unbelievable how horrors repeat themselves,” Ms. Danticat said, outraged by the amount of suffering that takes place in the world.

Finishing her readings, Ms. Danticat recognized the difficulty of thinking about such heavy topics and urged the audience to do its best to provide humanitarian aid to those currently suffering in Haiti.