Writing from the heart

Books shape our world. Authors influence entire generations. A piece of text can change a life. Senior Bowen Shen aims to do that with his book, The Identity of the Heart.

He published his own collection of poetry that was written during his tough junior year. Three illustrators, including junior Selena Shi, also helped Shen draw illustrations to accompany his poems. He had been inspired by his SAT prep teacher, who taught him to to enjoy the little things in life.

“He attempts to communicate and connect with each student instead of just shoving information down their throats, he empathizes with you and he kind of understands what everyone goes through,” Shen said. “He changed my views on the world, and he made me look at things that I would have normally dismissed and notice the smaller things.”

Shen poured his heart into his book while struggling through PSAT, SAT and ACT prep. He wrote out his thoughts and feelings, what happened throughout the day and anything that was out of the ordinary.

“That’s the beauty about poetry; no one reads it the same way, and no one has the same take away from it,” Shen said.

Through a year of sleepless nights and hard work, Shen was able to complete his book. Ultimately, he decided to self-publish with Amazon as his backer. One of Amazon’s companies sponsored him, and Shen only needed to pay for the books he wanted to order.

“The most difficult part [was] the willpower that it took to stay focused on my task,” Shen said. “Of course, one [poem] per day doesn’t seem like a lot, but if you’re doing one every single day, the task could either get mundane, or you would feel like it would be more of a chore. It was really hard. There were days that I finished homework at 3 a.m. and I was like, ‘Man, I still have to do this.’”

The main reason Shen decided to publish his book was to help people, and his goal is for others who are struggling to relate to him and gain a more positive outlook.

“[I wrote this for] those lonely kids in high school,” Shen said. “If someone else had similar feelings and didn’t know how to cope with them and they just so happened to pick up a copy of my book, maybe it would help them, because I’ve heard of a lot of people [change] their lives by reading a book.”

By Nicole Chiang, Staff writer
Photo courtesy of Amazon 


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