STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Monica Lin
January 25, 2017
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fter moving from Texas to California right before freshman year, Diamond Bar High School student Monica Lin found herself without any friends. To deal with her loneliness, she began writing poetry and journal entries.
While her writing gave her comfort in her new environment, it also turned into a creative outlet that she is now sharing with the world. Lin’s collection of these short pieces, “Second Guessing,” was published in January 2014, and she is now well on her way to publishing another collection.
Lin began writing poetry in August 2013, eventually posting her work on Instagram under the handle @unlovedwinters, gaining 100,000 followers over the course of a month.
“The only way I could deal with my emotions at the time because I didn’t have anyone close to me here was through writing,” Lin said. “I wrote short journal entries and poetry for [my followers], and then I published a book four months after that to sell to them.”
Even though she was not particularly proud of her writing, as a result of her followers’ kind words, Lin grew more confident and was inspired to write more. She thought that her writing was helping other people cope with their problems as well.
She received messages over Instagram and mail, all of which encouraged her to continue writing. Lin discussed publishing her book with several local companies, but due to the costs, she decided to seek Amazon for help. She emailed the company, which soon decided to publish “Second Guessing.”
“They did all the things for me, and it was the quickest and cheapest way to do it for me. I already had a market, and they could see that because of the Instagram followers,” Lin said.
Lin is currently working on a book titled “Cecil and Violet,” modeled after J.D. Salinger’s “Franny and Zooey.” Violet, who is heavily modeled after Lin as well as Daisy from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” and Cecil, modeled after Lin’s ex-boyfriend as well as the lion in Ernest Hemingway’s “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” each try to fight the world’s indifference while remaining true to themselves.
Lin hopes to release the “slice of life” book in July 2017, this time not through Amazon.
“Before this point in my life, the majority of things I was dependent on had to do with other people, and writing was the first thing I had control over. I was willing to deal with my emotions through something that was autonomous for me.”
Not coincidentally, “Cecil and Violet” is also the name of Lin’s nonprofit organization, which began in her junior year. Lin started the organization with fellow senior Bryan Dong after volunteering abroad in Peru, Thailand and Laos in order to empower women in Southeast Asia. Lin purchases textiles from women in those countries and works with a San Francisco designer to design clothes using the imported textiles, which are then sold online.
The profits are used to purchase more textiles, creating a “cycle of sustainability.” Lin plans to continue her organization in college by expanding to other Southeast Asian countries.
In addition, she hopes to open a physical store for her wares, not just an online shop, and also invest in infrastructure of the countries she benefits.
In college, senior Lin said she plans to major in International Relations with a minor in Comparative Literature and continue writing books. She hopes to work for the United Nations and continue publishing fiction books.
“I want to also write about global issues to bring awareness to them because through literature, we can bring topics of discourse to the forefront of public discussion and attention. Basically, humanizing [Southeast Asian] culture because in America, Asian culture is often marginalized,” Lin said over Facebook.