Mayze Teitler: Weaving Words Into Wisdom

Before she came to Andover, Mayze Teitler ’14 saw her love for creative writing as a solitary, even isolating, pursuit. Yet through Andover’s writing community, she has discovered a new way to explore writing alongside fellow classmates who shared her passion.

“Writing was something I did by myself… Here, though, I made great friends who shared my passion. I’ll never forget one night during Lower year, I was sitting in the chapel with a bunch of my friends at 10 p.m. and writing poetry, and I was just so amazed that there were other people who wanted to write with me,” Teitler said.

Though her passion for writing has manifested itself in different ways, it has been constant since for as long as Teitler can remember.

“It seems like it should be impossible totake words and worlds that only exist in the most tenuous places within your mind and weave them into something tangible, but that’s what writing does,” said Teitler.

Teitler developed an interest in creative writing at a young age through telling stories to her younger brother.

“I’d ask him what he’d want to hear a story about, and then I’d make something up on the fly. It was a lot of ninjas and mad scientists and worlds full of candy, but his desire to hear more fueled my creativity. Honestly, he validated my storytelling for me because he always loved the stories, even when they weren’t good at all,” Teitler said.

Teitler continues to value the power of words.

“A good piece of writing lets the reader experience the strangest, most interesting, and most personal parts of a character’s mind. I don’t think there’s anything else in the world like that,” said Teitler.

According to Teitler, her writing is inspired by her family, her life at Andover and the natural world and the way humans simultaneosly cherish and destroy nature.

“There’s something about the beauty of this campus, the old buildings, the beautiful carvings in the [Cochran Chapel] and in [Paresky] Commons, the flowers that open up in the spring time, that lends itself to writing and creativity,” said Teitler.

At Andover, Teitler has avidly pursued creative writing through Andover Literary, Poetry and Creative Alliance (ALPACA), writing for “Backtracks” magazine, taking two creative-writing English electives with Paul Yoon, Writer-in-Residence and Instructor in English, and attending talks given by renowned authors such as Claire Messud and Naomi Shihab Nye.

A major turning point in Teitler’s creative writing career was when she read her poetry in front of an audience for the first time at the ALPACA coffeehouse her Lower year. Although the experience was nerve-wracking, Teitler said that it was one of her most memorable moments related to writing. The critique and encouragement that Teitler has received from the passionate writing community at Andover, especially Yoon, has fostered growth and improvement in her writing.

“For me, reading in that coffeehouse was the first step towards sharing my writing with other people and submitting it to magazines and competitions. It was a turning point where my writing went from being private and personal to something I was willing to share and receive feedback on. Since then, I’ve kept writing and editing and I’ve never looked back!” she said.

For other aspiring creative writers, Teitler has one piece of advice.

“Never give up! When you’re writing, you just have to hang on to a piece and never let go. There are times when writing is the hardest thing in the world. The words are trapped somewhere between your mind and your pen and it seems like your language can never do your ideas justice, but you just have to keep going. If you never try, you’ll never write anything good,” she said.

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_Blue Rider
By: Mayze Teitler_

_The gently swaying movement of the horse’s flank,
like a mother rocking her child,
shifts the couple
who ride together.
The horizon a blaze of lights,
day little more than a memory in
this eternal haze of half-darkness._

_In the distance, everything.
The movement of the city
and the people.
Not even the reflection of things that are
can cross the river, the skies,
to the place that they ride._

_A feathering touch, there,
almost imagined,
as shoulders brush together,
and clouds of their breath intermingle
and rise up into the twilight._

_They sit almost too close together
turned away from the world
looking out toward the future,
and paint themselves in
strange hues._

_The aching trees trailing their fingers,
The water caressing the shore.
Under the sheltering branches,
wrapped in warmth and each other,
their own blaze burns_

_too bright to see anything else
but blue eyes
and arms
and the sound of the horse’s hooves
which beat on the cobblestone
until tomorrow._