Who is Avery Danae Writes?
Hello! My name is Avery Danae. I am an incoming freshman at Princeton University, published author, poet, writer, music lover, content creator, and social justice and mental health advocate. Welcome to Avery Danae Writes!
I currently live in Jersey City, New Jersey with my parents and twin brother, attending an all-girls, Catholic high school. When I’m not writing (or for that matter, thinking about writing) or doing schoolwork, I enjoy reading comics, watching TV, singing, listening to music, drawing, doing graphic design on Canva, going for walks, and above all spending time with friends and family members.
At school, I am an honor student who loves being actively involved in clubs she’s apart of. I am the Founder & President of the African American Appreciation Club; President of the Dominoes, my school’s award-winning chamber choir; Editor-in-Chief of Elan, my school’s literary magazine; Editorial Chief of Dominica, my school’s yearbook; and Vice President of the Glee Club. Moreover, I serve as a Student Ambassador, Peer Minister, Cantor, and member of the Asian Interests Club.
Lastly, I am a member of the following honor societies: National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta Math National Honor Society, Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica (Spanish National Honor Society), and the National Society of High School Scholars (lifetime member; not affiliated with my school).
My Writing Journey (2009- Now)
Writing is a huge passion of mine, and has been since I was in kindergarten. So much so that I was always the student who either had her nose in a book, or the student filling notebooks with zany stories starring her original characters (OCs).
But I was nervous to tell people about them; I didn’t want to be made fun of. Therefore, I kept running away from this calling even though every diverse interest I had involved writing and researching — two things I’ve always enjoyed doing! It was my ninth and tenth grade English teacher who made me realize that writing was my true passion, as much as I wanted to run away from it. After all, I strongly believe that doing what you love is the key to living a fulfilling life.
Hence, the summer before my sophomore year, I took my writing more seriously. It all started with Poetizer. Although I love poetry now, I hated it for the longest time (I’ll tell that story another day, though) until I came across the private network in July 2019. All the techniques I thought were enemies — similes, metaphors, rhyme schemes, meters, themes — were now my lifelong friends, and I was eager to improve upon my craft while making real friends in this artistic community. However, I left in March 2020 because the app had too many bugs. But because I started missing the artistic community, I came back to Poetizer in December 2021 (my username is Avery Danae Writes). Oh, how wonderful it is to be back sharing my own poems and reading poems from equally talented individuals!
Examples of my favorite poems I posted on Poetizer are:
- He Wears the Chains He Forged in Life. A Christmas Carol themed poem (hence the title) I wrote criticizing how people incessantly treat the poor with disdain, using their own greed like Scrooge. TWs: homelessness, reference to terminal illness, poverty themes, financial struggles, bullying, ableism/ableist language themes.
- Do You Hear the People Sing? Written in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and again in the wake of the January 6 insurrection. TWs: racism, police brutality and violence.
- Woman Rising. One of two poems I wrote for Women’s History Month this year about the importance of taking space politically, socially, culturally, educationally, professionally. You name it; women need to keep showing up!
- You Are Stronger Than Your Heatwaves. The second poem I wrote for Women’s History Month this year, as a reminder to women to never neglect their mental health no matter how busy they get. Also a congratulatory piece I wrote for myself for getting better at managing my emotions.
- What Do I Do With a B.A. in English? A ghazal reminding me that I can do anything I want with an English degree, as much as people push me to go into journalism or teaching or law (all careers I’d rather not pursue, mind you).
Fun fact: I was also on Medium for a few months, posting the literary essays and research papers I wrote for my American Literature Honors class. My research paper about the Great Gatsby and the psychology of the color green was actually accepted for publication here! And yet I was inconsistent in publishing. Happy to be back here, too!
During the COVID-19 lockdown, I submitted my poems and essays to several online literary magazines, so I can put myself on the map in other places than Poetizer. The editors respectfully declined my work each time, but the rejections motivated me to keep improving my craft. That was just what I did, in the form of dubbing myself my high school’s Student Writer. Since May 2020, I have taken it upon myself to write reflections to spread hope at my school, as well as educate students and staff on the current events and social justice issues facing our world. Now, I am often asked by administration to write pieces for special holidays and events (almost like a poet laureate, but for nonfiction 😂). My reflections, sent via email as Google Docs, continue to be positively received by my school.
Examples of my favorite reflections I’ve wrote these past two years (almost) are:
- Everyday Heroes Turned War Heroes. Published in May 2020 and is the very first reflection I wrote and sent to my school.
- Take PRIDE in the Human Experience. Published in June 2020 for PRIDE Month.
- Integration. Published in January 2021 for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on behalf of the African American Appreciation Club.
- Never Sing a Song the Same Way Twice. Published in May 2021 as a Teacher’s Appreciation Week surprise.
- The Mystery of Your Gift. Published in November 2021, which I read as part of our prerecorded Thanksgiving Prayer Service.
My big publishing break came at seventeen, when my essay, ‘Faith from a Distance,’ was published in the anthology, 2020: The Year That Changed America, edited by Kevin Powell’s Writing Workshop. Kevin Powell is a famous poet, journalist, civil and human rights activist, filmmaker, and author of fourteen books; I have been a member of his writing workshop since the book’s release in January 2021, and I’m so grateful to call him my friend! As the youngest of 164 contributors, I discuss my experiences as a fully remote student during my junior year, and how trusting in God helps me stay optimistic about life returning to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic. Click on the hyperlink to purchase the book on Amazon, either as an eBook or paperback. All proceeds go to Urban Words NYC, a youth literary organization.
Around the same time I submitted “Faith from a Distance” for consideration in the anthology, I felt called to share my poems with a wider audience (since, again, the only way you can read poems on Poetizer is if you actually have an account). So my original Instagram, Miss Universal Poet, was born in November 2020 and I gained almost 190 followers organically. I say original because my account was hacked back in January, and the hacker made my account private. But fear not! I started a new Instagram page called Ave Danae Writes, except this time I plan to post poetry and prose as well as more personal content like my writing journey, my mental health struggles, etc. Just so it doesn’t seem like I’m a business instead of an actual, authentic human being. Additionally, I plan to be more consistent and engage with more Instapoets.
Finally, my poem, Wings, is published in the 2020–2021 edition of my high school’s literary magazine, Elan (where I currently serve as Editor in Chief). Because the pandemic has hit all of us hard, I published it as a way to further spread positivity at my school, and to let everyone know that we will rebound from this collective trauma together. Its original message, though, was to uplift a friend going through rough times back in 2019.
I write many poems and essays today, both for fun and both for publication. Even though I will publish poems occasionally here, the majority of what I publish will be personal reflections, film analyses from my Religion classes over the years, and past literary analyses from my past English Honors classes (and current AP English class). My main sources of inspiration range from current events and social justice issues to the Bible (I am a Baptist Christian), the teenage experience, mental health, creativity, my lived and living experiences, music, the transition from high school to college, and other authors’ writing.
Note of Caution
Due to the sensitive nature of some of my pieces, I always list trigger warnings at the beginning. Heck, even I get triggered and I’m the writer. The TWs you’ll see most often from me are:
- References to white supremacy
- Abuse: verbal, emotional, mental
- Toxic relationships
- Russia Ukraine conflict
I always strive to create a safe space for people to enjoy my writing, but please note I ultimately will never know what triggers you in particular. Always read at a healthy pace, and take breaks between reading if you need to.
The Four Pillars of Why I Write
- To be creative. I’ve always had a vivid imagination, and I would use my favorite Disney Channel shows like “Good Luck Charlie,” “Suite Life on Deck,” and “Wizards of Waverly Place” as inspiration for the different plots. I even thought of making my own TV station, the 246 Channel, to give my wacky cast members a home! But I digress. While it’s taken me a while to be comfortable with my creative identity, writing (namely fiction when I was younger) has always been a way for me to interact with other mediums like art, music, and film so I can broaden my perspective of the world. In fact, it’s why I take an interdisciplinary approach to teaching poetry. (I bet you already figured that out with the amount of pictures and YouTube links in this piece, didn’t you?).
- To learn. I don’t write fictional stories as much as I used to, but in addition to fiction, nonfiction was and still is a genre close to my heart. When I was in fourth grade, I delved into it I started learning about the cosmetics industry in fourth grade. I would spend hours writing about and researching skin care, essential oils, beauty products, and iconic makeup brands (my personal favorite was Maybelline). This then expanded to dog breeds in an attempt to cure my fear of dogs and, on a much broader scale, animals in general. Later, I became intrigued by entrepreneurship and social justice issues, which are still huge passions of mine that inform my work. Although I no longer want to work in the cosmetics industry or invent something to stop being afraid of canines, my unquenchable thirst for knowledge (something I always attribute to my mom during my homeschool days) motivated me to write, write, and write some more to document my learning.
- To escape reality. I moved schools several times in elementary school. I was made fun of for being so eccentric by my peers, and I would get in trouble for retaliating. Interacting with my cast of zany characters reminded me that childhood is about using imagination to have fun, not worry about what other people think of you. I could say the same thing about reading! Thankfully, I’ve never been made fun of in high school. However, since I’m a highly sensitive person who struggles with high functioning anxiety and depression (but is not professionally diagnosed yet), writing evolved into being a form of therapy, a form of self-care, a form of managing my emotions. I can write for hours and forget about the intrusive thoughts looping in my head, or the many irons I have in the fire in and out of school.
- To give voice to the voiceless. I am an advocate for social justice, mental health, arts education, literature, gender inequality, LGBTQ+ rights, sexual abuse/harassment prevention, and DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion). Therefore, I take a social justice approach to many of my essays/reflections. I want to show marginalized groups like the LGBTQ community, African Americans, women, and people living with mental health issues that they are not alone in their struggles, and that they can do anything they set their mind to. It is my hope that each piece empowers society at large to do what they love while doing good in the world (aka. always advocating for social and racial justice).
My Ultimate Goal as a Poet, Writer, and Future Full Time Author
At Princeton, I will be majoring in English and minoring in Creative Writing, African American Studies, and Gender & Sexuality Studies. Although English degrees are not required for someone to be published, I know for sure I will write and self-publish poetry collections to increase the pipeline of African American authors represented in the industry.
I was drawn to this business in seventh grade when I discovered AuthorTube: a burgeoning YouTube category of authors who discuss the business side of writing, in addition to promoting their own books and giving writing advice. My favorite AuthorTubers, by the way, are Mandi Lynn, Bethany Atazadeh, Katie Wismer (former BookTuber), Natalia Leigh, Kristen Martin, ShaelinWrites, rachelwrites, and The Courtney Project.
African American AuthorTubers, however, are few and far between, and lack of diversity and systemic racism still plagues both traditional and independent publishing. As an AuthorTuber, I will write and promote poetry that enhances (or even changes) my reader’s perspectives on current events and social justice issues. This way, more Black authors will be empowered to pursue their wildest, creative dreams.
I hope you enjoyed getting to know a bit more (or should I say, a LOT more about me). I’m looking forward to see where Medium takes me, now that I’m a more advanced poet and writer than I was my sophomore year!
Until next time, thank you for being you!