Nova Classical Academy
St. Paul, MN
UNL: Tell us a little more about yourself. When did you first start writing? Why and how is writing important to you?
SL: I first started writing when I was five and I wrote this long, epic saga that was basically just a rip-off of Lord of the Rings. It was like two hundred pages and it had illustrations and everything. These days, I wish I had the time and determination to write an epic fantasy saga, but I generally end up writing poetry and short stories.
UNL: Would you mind sharing how the pieces you wrote came into being? What was your process like for creating it? How do you determine what is important to write about?
SL: The pieces I have submitted are largely results of my experiences dealing with death and the passage of time. They tend to deal with the ephemeral nature of our lives and the fragility of the human soul.
UNL: Do you have a favorite place to write?
SL: My favorite place to write is on Lac LaCroix in the Boundary Waters. It’s this huge lake that extends into Canada, and when the sun rises over that lake on a summer morning, the whole lake turns to gold.
UNL: How has the Northland area affected how you write or what you write about?
SL: My parents love the outdoors and they usually take our family camping up near Lake Superior or near the Boundary Waters at least once a year. Since I’ve spent so much time up north, the small towns of Northern Minnesota have provided me with so much inspiration. I’m currently writing a short story about a long winter in a small town called "Birch Falls."
UNL: What you do you plan on pursuing after school? Have you thought of what your next steps will be? If so, how will writing factor into these next steps?
SL: I’m hoping to go to college and double major in the humanities (Creative Writing, Human Needs and Global Resources, History, or Political Science) and in the sciences (Computer Science or Biology).
UNL: Would you mind sharing what you’re currently reading?
SL: I’m currently reading Wild Swans by Jung Chang, the true story of a family that lived through the Cultural Revolution in China. It’s very well-written, it’s a great story, and it’s fascinating from a historical perspective.
UNL: Do you have any reading recommendations or advice for aspiring student writers in the upper Midwest?
SL: A book I recommend to everyone is a book titled The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett. It’s a piece of historical fiction set during Scotland’s mid-16th century revolt against England, and the protagonist is a rogue (somewhere in the vein of Jack Sparrow), who has come back to England to clear his name. It is incredibly well-written, and, although it’s difficult to read (large sections of the book are written in Latin and French!), it is so rewarding.
UNL: Where can we go to read more of your work? Anything else you’d like to share with us?
SL: I post many of my poems and essays on a cheesy little blog that I keep called Thought Clouds. You can check it out at: http://stootsman99.wixsite.com/mysite
is a high school senior from St. Paul. In addition to writing poetry, he enjoys jogging by the Mississippi, playing the trumpet, studying global politics, and playing tabletop games with his fantastic friends.