Relaxing with Virginia Woolf: Interview with Youth Perspective Editor Maggie Sun

May 12, 2020 | Bubbler

Joan Miro was famous for once saying he’d spent 80 years trying to learn how to paint like a child—uninhibited, free of self-conscious thinking, without any sense of pose. And it is in that same spirit that we lean into the idea / mood of “Totally Limited Omniscience.” It has become a very layered theme in the magazine and can make it tricky to send us stories and poems since we can’t completely describe what we’re not looking for and only hope to bump into it by chance. Imagine our joy in finding Maggie Sun, who joins the staff as our new Youth Perspective Editor. Maggie will read all submitted pieces, sharing her notes, adding a few details we might have missed in our zeal to be bossy-fussy know-it-alls.


Tell us about the book you take to school compared with the book you take to the beach–
I bring nonfiction books, and nothing else, to school. It has something to do with the educational environment – there is nothing more fearsome than a child reading SuperFreaknomics. I like to relax more at the beach, usually with a writer like Sylvia Plath or Virginia Woolf.

Do you journal? What goes on in there?
I have a digital diary on my laptop! I usually write about important things that happened and try to reflect and draw parallels. Analyzing and reflecting on my day is important to me. Some notable entry titles are “Milk Day,” “Japanese Market Rocky Brown,” and “i have demoralizing

Writers today seem obsessed with their own personal experience, as if knowledge came from it. Imagination seems locked in a trunk somewhere. Where has the confidence to be curious gone?
There’s a psychological concept called the Dunning-Kruger effect dictating that people with low capability overestimate their ability. I believe young people either know they know nothing, or believe they know everything – extremities on the spectrum of knowledge and confidence. People retract into themselves when they realize their knowledge is limited, but they should be acknowledging it and looking to the boundaries of their own thought.

Do you play any instruments? Do you lean toward the melody or the beat?
I have no musicality at all! I would rather sing, but everyone tells me I’m singing in the wrong key whenever I do.

Writers seem anxious to be different and unique and still be relevant at the same time. What makes you feel relevant?
Relevance should be inherent; to me it’s a concept separated from quantitative success. I have a unique compendium of characteristics and thoughts, which makes me relevant. World domination, however, requires quantitative success. That’s not really my thing.

What advice would you give to poets?

Find balance in your work, and don’t let one aspect of your work’s alchemy overwhelm another. Some things in moderation!

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Maggie Sun is a junior at Arcadia High School in Southern California. She is inspired by history and modern art, and her phone case collection features the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Do Ho Suh. When she’s not reading poetry, she loves investigative journalism and, of course, Taylor Swift.