Pre-Valentine’s Day Event showcases ‘Mortified’ experiences


The Appalachian Online

Kelsey Hamm

Appalachian State University’s student literary magazine, The Peel Literature and Arts Review held a “Mortifying Valentine’s Day” Friday, Feb. 13 from 7-9:30 p.m. at Espresso News.

The event drew a large crowd and encouraged attendees to read old diary entries, text messages, emails, love letters and other mementos from past love lives in public, said Hannah Parker, editor-in-chief of The Peel.

“One of our [public relations] people had seen a documentary based on this idea of ‘mortified,’ and how all of the things that bothered you so much when you were younger meant so much to you, but now you can read them in a room full of people and feel good about it,” Parker said. “It’s commentary on human nature’s theme of how everything that feels like the end of the world right now is not.”

Parker said many, but not all, of the stories read at the event included themes of love. Parker read her own mortifying stories, including an obituary for a hamster and her love for celebrity Jacob Smith.

“Valentine’s Day is often not fun for some people,” Parker said. “So we wanted to put comedy into that.”

Molly Tipton, a senior pre-professional exercise science major read an email about her first college relationship.

“I read a drunkenly written email to my first boyfriend of three and half years,” Tipton said. “We had agreed on an open relationship, so I was telling him about this guy I met, but also how I thought of him the whole time and how he was the love of my life and the one for me.”

Tipton did not originally attend the event to speak, but to listen.

“I thought I would just watch,” Tipton said. “But it made me want to dig up all of my old stuff to read. I was happy to add to it. I think it’s good that people allow themselves to be so vulnerable in such a large setting, especially one where they know a lot of people.”

Senior photography major Paige Smith came out to watch the show after seeing the event advertised online, noting how embarrassing it would be to share her own story in front of the crowd.

Smith said she believes the most interesting story was one that outlined the timeline of a middle school relationship, consisting of 12 break-ups. Additionally, some participants read old text messages while walking back and forth to demonstrate different speakers, or read from previously popular media sites like Myspace or Livejournal.

“I love hearing people speak and talk about what they’ve written in the past,” Smith said. “No one here takes themselves too seriously and everyone is completely supportive. This is something that could be really embarrassing for a lot of people, but we all have relationships and stories and that’s not something negative.”

The Peel is published twice per year, once in print and once online only. The next submission deadline is Feb. 18 at midnight. The magazine accepts poetry, prose, graphic design, photography and many other forms of art. For more information, visit The Peel’s website at

STORY: Kelsey Hamm, Intern A&E Reporter