In Episode 58, we talk to USC alum Cody Lake about the collaborative power of poetry, web development, and videography, the pressure of commodification, and the surprising inventiveness of Pinterest.
Cody Lake is an emerging writer, web developer, and video poet. Maintaining a rigorous art practice in high school, Cody received the Jonathan E. Slater Award for Visual Arts upon graduation. At the University of Southern California, Cody expanded their creative work in as many ways as possible. While juggling two majors in Comparative Literature with a Focus in Critical Thought and in Cultural Anthropology, Cody made time for the Undergraduate Writers’ Conference and elective courses in drawing. They completed internships with the House of Blues Music Forward Foundation and the Fisher Museum of Art. Under the direction of Printmaker Xavier Fumat, Cody assisted in teaching an introduction to printmaking course. Unsurprisingly, Cody graduated USC as Magna Cum Laude as well as Renaissance Honors, a distinction that recognizes students who excel academically while pursuing at least 2 widely separate fields of study.
After departing Los Angeles, Cody completed a boot camp in full stack web and hybrid mobile application development. Eager to establish an online presence independent of big technology companies, Cody began to iterate their own creative studio. Events in film screening, nature photography, writing resources, and of course, their own video poetry, compose the offering that is Intoo.Studio. In the summer of 2021, a print editorial featuring Cody’s poetry will be available from the multimedia cultural collective, Pier To:.
People, Texts, and Organizations Mentioned in the Episode
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- Brave Space Alliance
- Fluid AF
- PetalPoetryPhoto on Pinterest
- OPEN Center for the Arts
- One Summer Chicago
- Chicago Public Library Virtual Branch Events
- Adult Children of Alcoholics
- The Chicago Writers Circle
- Bhanu Kapil
- Episode 38: Owning a Bookstore with Rebecca George
- Episode 43: Working in Story with Audrey Dimola
- Episode 54: Going Short with Nancy Stohlman
- Rupi Kaur
- Daunte Wright
- Episode 55: Creating New Realities with Jephtha Prempeh
- Diego Rivera
- Detroit Institute of Arts
“I found my own way to join the writing and the web development […] and really want to see where that is going to lead me.” -Cody LakeTweet
“Some of us weren’t even calling ourselves artists […] yet we’re doing art.” -Cody LakeTweet
“The ability to just […] go on the site and show what I’ve been doing has been really critical for me because one of the biggest barriers that I’ve found for myself is my own, I guess, self-deprecation or the bar that I set for myself–just bringing it down to where I’m actually at and making sure that I celebrate where I’m at right now and what I have right now.” -Cody LakeTweet
“It’s always going to be a work-in-progress and that’s kind of web development and writing, but what I have right now is already a success.” -Cody LakeTweet
“This is a huge surprise for me: I’ve been sharing [my work] on Pinterest […] If you caught me 2 years ago I would’ve scoffed at the idea of a Pinterest board, like, ‘I’m too dark & artsy for Pinterest.'” -Cody LakeTweet
“I feel like people, in my age group at least, are consistently feeling this pressure of commodifying our hobbies and feeling like we have to turn everything into a money-making business, a side hustle.” -Cody LakeTweet
“Part of the ideas on my site are taking photos during walks where I just really try to prioritize mindfulness.” -Cody LakeTweet
“I have a long way to go when it comes to filling up my own cup and making sure I’m aligning on my own spiritual journey towards healing.” -Cody LakeTweet
“People are really picking up on the mindfulness piece [in my writing]. People are really picking up on how present I am whether it’s a difficult situation or a celebratory situation. Hearing that is really cool because here I am just like going through the day and I’m like, ‘I just want to understand what’s going on with me, right now.'” -Cody LakeTweet
“If I look into myself and say what are the topics that I’m writing about, the main thing that I can really think of is just being human, being in my own skin. I know that’s so broad, but it feels so personal inside, to me.” -Cody LakeTweet
“I wanted to make my own stance in that, like, I can also create something that I can share, and it says something about me.” -Cody LakeTweet
“Having had that space to bear witness to myself, and to have other people bear witness to me, I think is what gives me the ability to trust that I can experience what’s going on now without having to project a [false] reality onto it.” -Cody LakeTweet
“I daily remind myself: I’m not going back to a place where I have to project a false self.” -Cody LakeTweet
“It’s actually nice just thinking about when [someone listens to my poem]…I wonder where in the world [they are], and that is something that has helped me with the loneliness of the pandemic. When I go to sleep at night I think about how I’m actually not alone; everybody walking on the earth is still walking on the earth. I’m really surprisingly helped by that.” -Cody LakeTweet
“I’ve realized that that the same things that honestly made me feel really wholesome inside before still do, but to an even deeper level.” -Cody LakeTweet
“I just have FOMO about library programs, which is new.” -Cody LakeTweet
This episode was recorded on April 12, 2021. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod.