Write something

AYF memories through the years (Photo provided by Arev Dinkjian)

There’s this feeling unlike any other. This immense sense of pride and accomplishment. This swelling feeling of goodness that is just itching to burst out of you. This fiendish need to get on Facebook and post and repost. There’s nothing like the feeling of having a piece of writing published, and for years now my one outlet has been the Armenian Weekly. 

The process is pretty simple. You write something, you e-mail it in, they read it, perhaps suggest some edits, and then within days–sometimes even hours–there it is posted on their website–your work, published. The title you decided on, the photos you chose to accompany your writing, your name a hyperlink to all the other fabulous things you’ll write, the comment section mostly made up of your mom and her friends. And if you wait just a few more days, your nene will receive a print copy in the mail that she’ll inevitably pin up on her fridge. At church, people will stop you to say they read your article, and you’ll smile and nod and thank them like some small town celebrity. The fan mail will start to roll in…okay maybe not…but I did once receive an adorable AYF lettermans patch from an even more adorable old lady in the mail after she had read one of my articles. You’ll find yourself browsing the Weekly website reading your own article over and over again itching for that newly published feeling. And then, you’ll write some more. 

The question though is how? How do you come up with something to write about? My father, a writer of music himself, often describes this sensation of finding music as opposed to writing it, as if the material is already inside of you. As if your writing is just an untapped stream that flows from you all at once if you just loosen the spout. That kind of writing is the best of all, but it’s hard to come by. You’ve got to be patient and kind to yourself when your well runs dry. 

I write things that make me feel proud to have written them at all.

The other great piece of writing advice I’ve been given and that I can now instill unto you is simple: write something you would want to read. That’s what I do. I write things that resonate with me and by some grace of God at times with others. I write things that feel so incredibly unique to my own life but that I soon learn are part of a universal human experience. I write things that make me feel proud to have written them at all.

So, if you’re looking for a little inspo, here are some articles I’d like to read…and perhaps write, if you don’t:

  • Write about a recipe–not the ingredients and the measurements and the temperature to preheat the oven to, no. Tell me about the hands you remember folding butter into itself. About the smells that filled your house and your memories long after the last bite was taken. About the very eyes themselves that spooned spices into a bowl achki chapov.
  • Write about your church–the deep red velvet carpet and the smokey altar air. The candles you’ve lit and planted in the sand. The mas tucked away in waxy envelopes and the coffee served in styrofoam cups. 
  • Write an ode to somebody–a sibling, a parent, a friend, a camp counselor, a ladies guild member, the cranky jamgotch at your agoump, the old lady in church who doesn’t stand up when the Der Hayr says stand up because…well she’s old, and you know how it is. 
  • Write about an event. One that you’ve attended and had the absolute best time. One that you missed and really wish you hadn’t. One that you planned but completely fell apart. One that you are proud to have been a part of at all. 
  • Write about your little Armenia. What does it look like? Who’s there with you? When did you know for sure our beloved homeland was reborn in whatever suburb you reside?
  • Write a letter to yourself so that one day when you’re inevitably scrolling through the Weekly website, you’ll remember that feeling of having your work published, and you’ll pick up your pen and write again. And this time it’ll be something you want to read…something we all want to read. 
Arev Dinkjian

Arev Dinkjian

Arev Dinkjian grew up in an Armenian household in Fort Lee, NJ. She was always surrounded by art, sourced by her musical father and grandfather, Ara and Onnik, or her creative mother Margo. Arev graduated from Providence College with a degree in elementary and special education. She enjoys teaching language arts to her students and takes great pride in instilling an appreciation for literature in her classroom. She is a former member of the New Jersey AYF “Arsen" Chapter and a member of both the Bergen County ARS and the Sts. Vartanantz Ladies’ Guild. She also dedicated many summers to AYF Camp Haiastan, which she says remains her favorite topic to write about.
Arev Dinkjian

Latest posts by Arev Dinkjian (see all)

1 Comment

  1. Well, it’s your mom again—commenting on your gift that you so generously share with all who can read or may be read to. Your words touch a place deep in my heart. It may be the subject matter or simply because I’m proud of you or quite possibly both! Arev, thank you for the sunshine you bring to the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.