COVID-19 Update: On-site face-to-face credit classes and labs will be held as shown in the 2020 Fall Class Schedule. The first day of the Fall Semester is Monday, Aug. 24, 2020.

Featured Contributor

  • Dalton Dowding, Academic TransferDaltonDowding-web

    Dalton Dowding is used to introducing people to SCC, as he served as a Student Ambassador for nearly three years. We thought it was high time that Dalton was introduced to SCC! His poem, “Empty,” was published in the newly released Illuminations Vol. 19.

    Illuminations: Hi, Dalton, and thanks for speaking with us. What sparked your interest in contributing your poem, “Empty,” to Illuminations?

    Dalton: One of the guys I worked with at SCC for my scholarship was a big proponent of students’ writing, and he was always talking to me about Illuminations and what students have been publishing in it. He mentioned it to me again after he read "Empty" and it made me take my writing a little more seriously to the point where I decided to see if I could get it published.

    I: You succeeded! “Empty,” published in Vol. 19, echoes regret, bitterness, and a sense of emptiness. What spurred you to write this powerful poem?

    D: This poem came about a couple years after my dad left us and my best friend was getting married. As was right, he wasn't around as much. With my dad not being a good role model, I looked to my best friend; he's a really upstanding character, and I try to imitate his character. After a few issues that came up with my dad and not having my best friend anymore, I just sat down one night, and out came "Empty."

    My family was very happy and proud to see my artwork published in Illuminations.

    I: Thus, art is born. Do you do other types of writing or artistic work (photography, art, etc.), or do you consider yourself mainly a poet?

    D: I don't really consider myself any one thing. I've written a couple more poems in the last year or so since I submitted “Empty.” I've also done several drawings. I like to work mostly in black and white (just a pencil and a blank sheet of white paper), but I wouldn't consider myself a poet or an artist over the other. I think they both come to play. I try to paint a picture with my poetry; with most of my drawings, I include some kind of lyric or quote or saying that has impacted me.

    I: In your Vol. 19 biography, you mention that you do a lot of work with your church and with the group Alpha Omega at UNL. Do you feel that your vibrant spirituality contributes to your ability to write poetry? If so, how?

    D: I believe that every poem I write, every picture I draw, is a gift from God. Sometimes it's a good poem, sometimes it's not as good, and same with my drawings, but I do it all to glorify Him.

    I: You worked as an SCC Student Ambassador for almost three years. What advice would you give another SCC student who’s interested in writing poetry but lacks confidence?

    D: Working as an Ambassador really got me out of my comfort zone. It helped me become a better speaker and better at socializing with others. That's what gave me the confidence to start writing poetry. If other students find themselves lacking confidence, they could find something else that makes them a little uncomfortable to start building that confidence and then transfer that into their writing.

    I: Excellent advice! As an Academic Transfer student, where do you see yourself in ten years? Will you still be writing poetry?

    D: In ten years, I hope to have my bachelor's degree done (in what subject, I haven't decided yet). I also want to be working full time, have a family, and still be hard at work with my ministries at church.

    I: And finally, the silly question of the day. You mentioned in your Volume 19 biography that you are passionate about superheroes. If you could be any superhero, which would you be and why?

    D: If I could be any superhero, it would be Superman, because of his morality and ethics. He's not always the strongest (although most of the time he is), but what makes him such an interesting hero, to me at least, is that his adversaries usually aren’t a physical threat. It's always an ethical battle for him.

    I: Perhaps that question wasn’t so silly after all! Thanks, Dalton!

    By Dalton Dowding, Academic Transfer

    I never thought I'd grow up
    To be a boy,
    Wearing men's shoes, men's clothes,
    Doing things that men do.
    I bought myself a nice car,
    Tried to drive it just like you do.

    I even went out and got me
    A black suit, black tie, black shoes,
    And now I look real nice,
    Just like you.

    When my girl was in the hospital,
    I never sent out a thought to her.
    Instead, like you taught me,
    I was getting busy with her sister
    Because that's what I saw you do.

    Now that you're gone
    And I'm wonderin' how you been,
    I'm standing here, paper thin,
    Writing this,
    My car wrapped around a tree,
    My shoes unclean, suit too small, and my tie loose.

    Now that I'm just like you,
    A boy thinkin' he's a man,
    But having nothing,
    Let me ask you—
    You feel this empty, too?