Ryan Bollenbach here. Heavy Feather Review is publishing short pieces on the blog from writers who have collaborated on previous projects in order to give potential collaborators ideas and stoke excitement for The Zachary Doss Friends in Letters Memorial Fellowship (collaboration itself being the biggest takeaway I hope to create from all this). Please read about my late friend Zach and consider creating work for the fellowship. After May 31, I will award $50 to four pairs of writers who have collaborated, winning praise from friends of Zach, Tasha Coryell and Brian Oliu—and myself. The friends’/comrades’ work will appear in print in HFR Vol. 12.
Below are Grace Yannotta & Hayden Park’s reflections on winning 2020’s fellowship, both of whom are rising sophomores at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.
Hayden and I created our joint project from over one hundred and fifty miles away, but fortunately we were able to receive the news that we had won the fellowship together, finally, in the same house. We had always been close, but I feel like the project granted us a particular vulnerability that pushed us even closer, and now we have a product of that intimacy to access and be proud of. In that crazy first quarantine summer, it was wonderful to have the facetime calls and planning sessions that allowed for this project to come to fruition. We have an understanding now—this coming summer we’ll be in different spots again, Hayden in Philadelphia and myself in Chapel Hill, but we still plan on attempting to create another passion project to keep us linked.
The creative and collaborative process of working on Grace’s and my portfolio has been one of the most impactful experiences of my life. I had always been drawn to the arts, but could never explore a canvas beyond the margins of my class notes. My school notebooks are filled with doodles, but I never challenged myself to create, in the way that the portfolio enabled me to. This year has been a transformative one, to say the least. Grace and I are both very busy people, so sometimes we’re only able to catch each other for a brief moment in the day. Regardless of our physical distance or mismatched schedules, I am confident that, at any point in our lives, we’ll be able to sit down together and create something beautiful. I’m looking forward to our many passion projects to come!
Image: “what came before – what comes next” by Grace Yannotta & Hayden Park