English Wallflower began as a mere blog in March 2015. In time, it expanded to include projects (both successful and failed) promoted by our founder, Nik Wiles. Now we’re here, and if you don’t know where here is exactly, visit the home page (where it basically details how awesome we are).
We are all about embracing our weird, something Nik’s fiction writing instructor taught her way back in undergrad. You can be weird and still be an amazing writer, both academically and creatively. You can be weird and interpret a variety of texts in an insightful way. You can be weird (and must be weird!) to embrace the rules and nuances of the English language, as well as the best way to follow (and break) the “rules” of writing. Don’t like MLA or APA? Well, you can tell them to suck it, but still turn in a paper that follows one or the other to a T.
We’re here to help you, and we’ve got a lot of services that will work for what you need. Poke around. Keep it weird, or don’t bother.
ABOUT OUR FOUNDER
The Short Version:
Nik is a parent, writer, and minimalist.
They’ve been passionate about writing for more than twenty years.
Nik’s passions include Skylar Astrid (the kid), writing, music, biking, skateboarding, gaming, and books.
Organizations that Nik will tell you are worth supporting include TWLOHA, AFSP, The Reformation Project, and Live Through This.
Nik, and English Wallflower as well, is deeply invested in supporting the LGBT community; the massive numbers of individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, self-harm, eating disorders, bipolar, etc.; and various projects that we come across that we feel add particular value to the world (minimalism, the OLD Podcast, the UNF food bank, etc.).
The Long Version:
In April 2015, Nik’s daughter Skylar came into the world, and they welcomed her with open arms. Skylar monopolizes most of their photographs now, with the occasional photobomb by one of their three cats.
Writing has been a part of Nik’s life since they were four or five years old. From their earliest creations, which included their own Magic School Bus stories, to their publications in adult life, Nik has always felt extremely driven to produce writing. Writing has been a serious focus of theirs for roughly twenty years. Nik has been published in CCM, Readers Digest, The Lookout Magazine, the Palatka Daily News, the TWLOHA blog and Neutrons/Protons. They’ve won multiple awards for their writing, including the Sewanee Award for Excellence in Writing and the National League of PEN Women’s 1st Place Poetry Award. Nik has held positions as a writer, ghost writer, freelance journalist, columnist, editor, and content creator. They’ve worked for the Palatka Daily News and the University of North Florida. Nik has a BA in English and graduates with an MA in English in April 2017. They currently work in the Writing Center at their university.
Over the last two years, minimalism has become a central aspect of Nik’s life. Minimalism is, at its heart, a tool. This tool allows us to make room for the important passions, people, and commitments in our lives. For Nik, minimalism involves decreasing the consumer mindset, removing mental and physical clutter from our lives, focusing on the important relationships above making money, and considering our time carefully. Minimalism has become a tool that helps Nik live an intentional life. It allows them to make time for projects such as English Wallflower itself. Nik has been inspired by many of the big names in the minimalist movement, including Joshua Fields Millburn, Ryan Nicodemus, Joshua Becker, and Leo Babauta. They would encourage any person interested in minimalism to view it as nothing more than a tool and advise them to tailor it to their specific lifestyle.
Nik is passionate about a number of causes:
One, Nik supports the open discussion of depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts. They believe in the causes of organizations such as TWLOHA, Always Keep Fighting, Live Through This, SIOS, etc. Though it is not always easy, we have to be willing to talk about mental health. It is Nik’s hope that as the years pass, the stigma attached to such mental health issues will continue to decrease. Though Nik does not pretend to be anywhere near perfect, they do their best to be open to these topics, to discuss their own struggles with those who can benefit from that discussion, and to be as kind and non-judgmental as they can be.
Two, Nik supports the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community. Nik identifies as trans sapphic, and they are currently engaged to their fiancée, Caitlin. They plan to get married on Halloween of 2017…or 2018…or 2019… Nik is invested in the equal marriage rights of the community, coming from a perspective of someone who, at a different time in our history, had to travel a long distance to marry their first wife. This is not the reality we live with today, but it is important to Nik to make sure the strides we have made in promoting equality for the LGBTQIA+ community stand steadfast. Now more than ever that equality is questioned and challenged. Nik is also a proponent of correcting a currently flawed system, one that does little to recognize the natural rights of two parents (no matter their biological sex or gender identity), excluding the LBGTQIA+ community from the same rights that the “traditional” cisgender community comes by currently. As the natural parent of a daughter despite not being the birth mother, it is important to Nik that we strive to create a system where the birth certificate in every state reads “Parent and Parent” instead of “Mother and Father.” Also, the adoption process for LGBTQIA+ parents needs simplification and accessibility. As it stands now, it is often complex and expensive to adopt a child if you are a “non-traditional” couple. Lastly, Nik supports the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community to identify as Christians. Even as an outsider (but one who was previously more of an insider), Nik can see that the interpretations of the Bible are often inaccurate or ill-considered, simply passed down from church leader to flock. Instead, each Christian, or any individual with a religious affiliation, really, should interpret their teachings personally, using their own prayer, meditation, and study of their scriptures to make a personal choice about this issue. If more people do this, they will find that the LGBTQIA+ community can not only be LGBTQIA+ but also Christian.