Hoopla Hooper: Cienna Wills

Writer's Delight

I’ve often asked myself why I write and and I’ve never really come up with an answer. It’s like when a girl asks her boyfriend why he loves her. She usually gets the expected answer “I just do.” You can’t really argue with that.

Writing has always been a part of my life. It helped me deal with the sometimes hectic experiences of high school peer pressure. Even though all my friends thought I was a “stoner,” I had never drunk a beer or smoked a joint until I became an adult. After school activities included going straight home, listening to the radio and writing before bed, whether it’d be a journal entry, a poem, or short story. As this pattern continued, it became apparent that music was the biggest influence in my writing. Around this time I started reading rock magazines “Rolling Stone” and now defunct “Circus.”

After falling in love with the writings of music journalist David Fricke, I lost my mind. I immersed myself with the incessant need to gain as much knowledge of music as possible. I plastered my walls with posters of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Weezer and Sonic Youth, amongst many others. My mother was not fan of what I listened to and refused to buy me any music, so my friends would make me mix tapes. I also stayed up all night listening to the radio and recording everything that was played to get my music fix. This would go on until 4 am sometimes, me writing in my spiral notebooks, looking up at the faces on my wall and soaking up all their words for inspiration. However, this was not the first time music had hit that spot for me. Some of my fondest memories of music date back to being a toddler, when I loved watching the apple spin on the turntable as I listened to John Lennon’s “Mind Games.” My brother took his first steps to “Close To the Edge”, a 20-minute song by the 70s progressive rock band “Yes.” Though music has played a major role in my life since birth, it was my arrival to New York 17 years ago that made me realize that music was more than just a song to listen to; it was a necessity of life.

Before settling in Staten Island, I lived in many different places. I was born in Seoul, South Korea where I was raised as an Army brat. I also spent some time in various parts of Germany before moving to Baltimore, Maryland after my parents divorced. With all the moving around and the departure of my father, I was left with a void. I didn’t have a place I felt I belonged to. When my mother mentioned the opportunity to move to New York, I was hesitant. It was really hard at first, but once I saw how diverse it was, I quickly changed my tune. In a short amount of time, I realized I was finally in a place I could see myself being for a while; I was finally home.

I have a lot of pride in being a New Yorker. It is home to some of the most influential bands in music history, i.e. The Velvet Underground, The Ramones, Blondie and so on. Had I not moved here, I would have never been exposed to such musical greatness. Here, I am able to see as many shows as my pocket and my ears can handle. Seeing bands perform is such a thrill and to list all the bands I’ve seen could take up pages. Even my book collection consists mostly of music biographies and, someday, I would like to publish a book of my own. That is what brings me here. My intentions are to fill your heads with the joy of music knowledge and in turn fulfill a joy of my own, by combining my two greatest loves.

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One Response to “Hoopla Hooper: Cienna Wills”

  1. martin heikel says:

    Great article Cienna! Authentic. It was great seeing you and Chris in Boston. This summer I have to have you guys over. I’m going to ask Sandra if she’ll help me cook something up for you guys.



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