Comm Grad Emily Kinzig Channels Trauma Into Creativity Via Her New Self-Published Book
“I would know if someone was emotionally manipulating me…that’s what I thought too,” writes Emily Kinzig, a 2020 graduate of the Communication Program at Southern Oregon University, and now a published author.
Kinzig’s self-published first book of poetry illustrates the four years of her life in which she ended an emotionally abusive relationship, grew to recognize her self-worth, and met her current partner/fiance. The journey to recognizing self-worth is not an easy one, and Kinzig was more than willing to open up about her personal growth and her book, Blooming.
Tell us about the moment when you realized your relationship wasn’t what you thought it was, and how Blooming came to be.
It was a crazy, crazy thing. I didn’t notice it at all. My family didn’t notice it at all. This guy was just really close to all the connections and areas of my life. I thought that he was just looking out for me, and I would make up excuses. I was complaining to a friend that he wouldn’t let me join the cross-country team, because he said it would take me away from him, I’d be traveling all the time, and it would tear us apart. She came to me and said that he should be supporting you, and it’s a little toxic that he’s been doing this. I said, “No way! He’s just looking out for me and our relationship,” but it just stuck in my brain that maybe she’s right.
Then you bring it up to the other person and they lash out and you’re like, oh, OK, she’s right. So I did have that ah-ha moment. When I got out of that relationship, I immediately went on this huge family vacation. I didn’t have access to the Internet or anything while we were driving. So, I was just sitting there with my notebook, just writing away.
Why did you choose Blooming for the title?
I love it. It’s one of the first things that I thought of after I put the book together, because I’ve been writing all this different poetry just to get all of my feelings out there. So after the break up, I entered into my new relationship. I’m currently engaged and will be married in May, and I put the book all together. I thought about how I really came out from a dark place and grew up not only in age, because this is from the ages of 17 to 21, but I grew up in terms of my characteristics, strength and confidence. Now I feel like I really know myself, so I chose Blooming because it’s just coming out of that dark place and reaching up to who I can be.
If you could go back in time and talk to your past self right after she had the conversation with your friend, what would you say?
You just really have to evaluate how someone treats you, know your worth and start a conversation about it. It doesn’t mean that your relationship is completely toxic and unfixable. In my case, it was spread too far, almost like a disease. I would go back and just tell myself you are worth so much more than he is treating you and you know it. When you hear that from somebody else [or from your family], you might not believe it as much. When you hear it from yourself, you believe it more.
Since publishing, I’ve had a couple of my friends who bought the book reach out to me and say that it really touched them and they could see some of their own relationships in my work.
What pushed you to share your work with the world?
I shared a poem with one of my friends and she said, “have you ever thought about actually putting these out into the world?” That comment really pushed me to go through all of my old journals that have been sitting around for years now and type it out, and it all came together. I formed chapters in my head and got it all out on a Word doc, and it was just so fun after that. My friend’s comment really pushed me to put it down on paper, and then after that it was just all excitement to publish it.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to publish their own book?
It’s a popular saying, and I now completely understand that it’s much easier to write a book than it is to put it together and publish it. The interior can be a little bit challenging at times, especially with all the specifications that they need. One of the challenges that I had was how far should my poems be away from the bridge [which is the crease where the pages meet]. Also, I’ve never heard of needing to embed fonts in a PDF before, but you have to have your fonts embedded so that whenever someone prints it the fonts don’t change. So, if you use Times New Roman, but the printer uses Arial, you have to embed the font so that it prints as Times New Roman.
My advice would be to find the programs that might be helpful to you and give yourself enough time to get a proof of the book before you publish it. Because I did mine quickly and I loved it and I previewed it, of course, but my book was released before I got my proof copy.
What inspired you to start writing poetry?
I always thought that it was really romantic. I would write little romantic poems for my boyfriend at 16 or whatever, super cringey stuff, and poetry units at school were always my favorite. I’ve always loved English, so I think that’s where it began. Just my love for writing in general. It just stemmed from some childish little love poems to actually getting to write about other things in life and trying to challenge myself. I took as many writing classes as I could. I love the community at SOU, because you have the opportunity to take journalism classes, which I took advantage of. I didn’t take any poetry, I just took as many writing courses as I could.
What projects are you currently working on?
Right now I’m working on my next book, I just called it Book Two and there’s a little preview in the very back of Blooming. There is no title or details yet, but I’m excited. I definitely want to write more. And I want to challenge myself beyond poetry as well, because it’s always been my dream to write a novel.
Emily Kinzig graduated Cum Laude from the Communication Program at Southern Oregon University in 2020, completing her studies in the concentration in Social Media & Public Engagement. She finished her degree in three years via SOU’s Jackson/Josephine Pledge Program, and currently serves as a Marketing Coordinator for Rosebud Media in Medford.
Follow Kinzig on Facebook to stay up to date on her next project, and purchase Blooming on Amazon and other online booksellers:
Story by Autumn Micketti (@mountainmusicwoman), Community Manager for the Communication Program at Southern Oregon University.