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Spring 2015 -- Volume 35

Text of Porter-Gaud School: WATCH Words

  • 1

  • 2watch magazine

    Managing Editors Logan Coleman & Kole Burke

    PublishersAndre Hebra, William Chapman,

    Benjamin Joye, Derrick Main

    Faculty AdvisorsMr. Childs Smith & Dr. Aaron Lehman

    Cover Art by Elle Blakeney

    Featuring Artwork by Helen McCullough (above), Sophie-Earle McCraw, Linda Zhang, Molly Phillips, Emily Mason, Marla Sagatelian, Emily Ball, Savanna Barrineau, Logan Coleman,

    and Ellen Nirenblatt

    Literary Issue, Spring 2015

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  • 41ST PLACE, POETRY HAYLEY ADAMS

    The Wispweaver

    I am the wispweaver.I change the skys design each nightI harness the sun then set it freeSo each person can marvel at the lightThe light that I move each dayThough I did not make it with my hands.

    If you care to seek me, go at duskNot at dawn, for dusk is when I best presentYou will see all the colors flash before youAs my wisps perform their mystic dance.

    When I notice you standing thereWide-eyed, mouth open,I smile, because you finally see the magicI have spun for years.Its good to know my work is appreciated.

    I do my dance, but you stand in wonder.How do I do it?For all you see are two wisps and meThe wisps seem to mirror my palms But they dont touch at allThe wisps cross paths without contactThey fly this way and that.

    But you dont grow weary watching me.Dawn arrives; the secret is outTwo black strings hold the wisps to my hand;But, nevertheless, you are impressedAnd wish to learn moreFor the feeling I cannot well explainWhen you weave wisps in your own special dance.

  • 5Artwork by Sophie-Earle McCraw

  • 61ST PLACE, FICTIONANNE MCGREEVY

    Diamonds under Pressure I stared wistfully into Macys display window. Red and green Christmas lights twinkled cheerily, and Christmas songs blared from the loudspeaker above my head. On display was the most beautiful pair of earrings I had ever seen. The lights from the display made the diamond earrings sparkle, and it seemed like they were winking at me. I sighed and prepared to walk away from the earrings I wanted so badly. Pretty, arent they? I spun around, startled. A small girl stood in front of me. Hi, Im Iris. Sorry to scare you like that. Nice to meet you! She reached out her small, gloved hand toward me. I hesitantly shook it, shocked at how ice-cold her hand was. Um. hi. Im Dana, I said, still unsure why she was talking to me. Those earring would look so great on you! How much do they cost? Iris asked, beaming up at me. I shrugged, not knowing since I had never even considered the possibility of being able to afford them. Iris paused, taking a moment to think, then grabbed my hand and pulled me inside of Macys. Iris marched right up to the lady at the jewelry counter, who looked at us with scorn. Iris and I were quite a sight. We sported worn, ripped up clothing and disheveled hair. I felt out of place in the brightness, festiveness, and cleanliness of Macys. Iris, however, clearly did not feel uncomfortable. How much are those earrings in the display window? Iris inquired, seemingly staring directly into the employees soul. Iris was surprisingly fierce for such a small girl. The employee responded without a second thought, Fifteen hundred dollars. I gasped. My dream of owning those beautiful earrings was crushed. Now that they had a price set to them, I knew it was impossible. Iris stood still, keeping her cool. Well, my sister and I are going to find our parents, and ask if we can get these earrings. Well be back. Iris linked her arm through mine and pulled me out of the jewelry section and into the heavily perfumed aisles of cosmetics. What are you doing? I am not your sister. I barely know you! I asked, wondering what she was up to. Just trust me, Im trying to help you here! You want those earrings. I want a challenge. You saw how that jewelry lady looked at us. Dont you want to prove her wrong? I swallowed hard, trying to take in all the things Iris had just said. Yes, I wanted the earrings, but how badly did I want them? Was she implying that we should steal the earrings? How would we prove her wrong? I asked, afraid of what Iriss answer might be. Iris smirked. We are going to take the earrings. Do you mean STEAL the earrings? No, think of it this way. Every year, stores charge way more for items then they are actually worth. They STEAL money from people! We are just getting even with them.

  • 7Plus, did you see the way the jewelry lady looked at us? Like we were Trash, I finished. Iris made a lot of good points. It wasnt really stealing. We were just getting even with Macys for taking money from innocent families! Glad youre on board, said Iris, I knew youd come around. Heres the plan: youre going to ask to try on the earrings. Ill cause a distraction, and youll make a run for it. Okay? I nodded, realizing this was nothing to be scared about. Iris was right. Macys was the thief here, not me. Iris and I confidently strode back up to the jewelry lady. Looking at her nametag, I found that her name was

    Mabel. Summoning up my sweetest voice, I asked, Mabel, could I please try on those earrings in the window? Looking shocked, Mabel hesitantly shuffled over to the display window. She took the earrings off their perched position, in the display of Santas sleigh. I held my breath as Mabel walked toward me, holding the earrings. She handed them to me, and my whole body trembled. They felt cool and smooth in my hands, and looked even more beautiful up close. The light reflected off of them in tiny prisms, lighting up my fingers. My hands traveled up to my ears, and I began to put the earrings in. I watched myself in the display mirror, fascinated with how the earrings seemingly transformed me. Iris asked to try on a diamond ring. I slowly walked to the door, unseen. Suddenly, as I walked out of the door, a loud beeping noise occured. I froze, in shock. Red lights above me flashed. I heard gasps throughout the store, and a stocky policeman approached me. Iris came up to him and tapped him on the shoulder, the diamond ring on her finger sparkling. If youre looking for what she stole, try her ears, said Iris, with a sly grin. The policeman thanked her, and Iris walked out the door, diamond ring and all, without a second glance at me. I waited for someone to notice that she had shoplifted too, but the policeman had just assumed the siren was still going from my incident. I couldnt believe it. The one person who had told me it was okay had ditched me. The policeman held my hands behind my back and cuffed me. My vision blurred as I was led away from Macys. The red and green Christmas lights of the display window faded into clear, wet teardrops.

    Artwork by Linda Zhang

  • 82ND PLACE, POETRY WILL LIMEHOUSE

    Outage

    Plug in, check out,Enter the haze, remove all doubt,A plane crashed en route to Kuala Lumpur,Tragedys not hard when you dont care anymore.Chained, held in slavery,This is what it feels like to be free.Another product of the twenty-first centuryIt cant be bad if it makes you happyIts not wasted time if youre having funHuman and machine are finally one.Slipped into this hyperrealityOnly to be saved by a technicality,

    The river runs dry.

    The storm must have something to do with it,a branch could have fallen and hit the line,or the water on the road sent a car careening into a pole.I wonder if I knew the driver,maybe a friend of a friend, or we went to day-camp together when we were young.

  • 9Artwork by Molly Phillips

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    2ND PLACE, FICTIONPRIYANKA FERNANDES

    A Leap of Faith If this wire snaps, Im dead, I thought. My body shook as I slipped into the thin green harness that would suspend me in midair. The notion of being hundreds of feet in the air, dangling by only a thin piece of wire, made me shudder. I had the worst fear of heights. I promised myself that I wouldnt look down on the platform, knowing that I would chicken out if I did. Just the thought of not having my feet firmly planted on the ground made my heart race, my breathing quicken. Slowly, I lifted my arms as the instructor, a tall man with a thick and bushy beard, tightened the straps tightly around my legs. To reassure myself, I waddled awkwardly up to the other instructor to make sure the harness was correctly put on. As he tightened the harness even more, my mind raced with other fatal scenarios. A loud boom interrupted my thoughts. Great, I whispered. Thunder. Suddenly, heavy rain pelted the ground, splattering mud everywhere. My white t-shirt and pink Nike shorts were now covered in flecks of mud. Though the rain made it hard to see, I noticed the taller instructor, Pablo, motion for our group to follow him up the steep path to the first zip line. He wore bright green shorts and a red fanny pack in which he carried the first aid materials. He walked with fast, long strides, making it harder for me to keep up with the group. Be careful! he shouted. The rocks get slippery with rain. Dont fall! Gripping the rope railing for support, I carefully placed one foot in front, surprised at the difficulty of standing upright while trying not to slip. I thought the zip lining would be the hardest part, I muttered under my breath. We reached the first platform for the series of zip lines, and Pablo tossed me a helmet and gloves. After I wiped the sweat off my palms, I slipped the gloves on. If I keep my hand on the wire, Ill be in control, I murmured to myself. I pulled my long ponytail through the hole in the back of the helmet and then snapped the buckle tightly under my chin. Looking down at the canopy of trees beneath my feet, I realized Id made a mistake. I edged over to Pablo. Im not feeling very well, I lied to save myself from embarrassment. I think I should go back down. Sorry, sweetie, we cant go down now, he stated nonchalantly. The only way down now is this zip line, he said as if he saw right through my lie. Once we get to the next platform, I can get somebody to take you down. The smirk on his face was tellinghe had seen many people try to chicken out. The fact that I wasnt the only one was somewhat reassuring. Still nervous and disappointed, I made my way over to a short and skinny instructor. I asked him to re-secure my helmet, and he glanced at me questioningly; this was the second time that I had asked him. He rolled his eyes while re-securing my helmet. I checked my harness for the fifth time to make sure everything was still intact. If I keep my legs crossed, Ill have more control, I reassured myself. I peered down at the canopy, which was hundreds of feet below me. I gulped, and my body shook as the fear set in. Get in a line, Pablo shouted. Then with a grim look, he explained the complications of the rain. It may make you go faster than normal, and it may give you the feeling of not being in control. My stomach lurched. If you go faster than you expected he began over the sound of the rain. I zoned out, thinking of other ways things go wrong. His final sentence, though, snapped me out of my thoughts. And that sums up the emergency lesson, Pablo said, smiling. Startled, I glanced around at the five other tourists in the group. Wait, what? Knowing I had missed the emergency lesson, I tried to calm myself down by taking several deep breaths. Nothing will go wrong. Im in control, I muttered. Who wants to go first? Pablo questioned us. A woman in purple leggings and a green halter-top stepped forward with a wide grin. She had a raccoon tan around her eyes, and her curly hair, which didnt all fit in the helmet, framed her face. Her big eyes looked as if she was hungrily seeking adventure. I admired her for that. She hurtled down the zip line, screaming with excitement. She spun as she rocketed above the canopy of trees. Four other tourists followed her, speeding down the zip line and squealing with glee. I watched as each person hooped onto the zip line with excitement. I studied their faces. None of them showed any sign of trepidation. Why was I so nervous? In what seemed like only seconds, I was the last one left to go. Ready? Pablo asked.

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    I shook my head, but he mistook it for a nod. As he hooked me up to the wire, I checked his every move. Granted, I had no idea what was right from wrong, but doing this made me seem in control. The rain pelted my face harder now, making it almost impossible to see. Lift up your legs, and youre good to go! Pablo shouted excitedly over the noise. My feet felt glued to the platform. Gazing down, I wondered how far from the ground I was. If the wire were to snap, how many seconds would it take before I hit the ground? Ten? Twenty? My breathing and heartbeat got faster. All of a sudden, Pablo grabbed my feet, and off I went, flying through the trees with absolutely no control. I tucked my knees close to my chest and soared over the canopy. Wind whipped my hair, and rain pelted my face. Though my eyes were closed, I could feel something wrong. I came to a sudden and jolting stop. Since I didnt weigh enough, I was stuck halfway between both platforms. I strained over my shoulder to see Pablo screaming something about the emergency lesson--the one I had zoned out in.

    I nervously peered down at the canopy below my feet, and my whole body shook. There was nothing I could do; I was stuck on the wire, dangling like an apple on a tree. My palms started to sweat. Careful not to move, I looked down again. The longer I stared below, the less afraid I became. I looked back again and saw Pablo demonstrating how to pull myself along the wire. I reached up to grab the wire with my glove and began to pull myself slowly along the wire. By the time I had pulled myself along the wire to the next platform, my fear of heights had almost vanished! Pablos bearded assistant, Harry, grabbed me by my feet and pulled me to the platform. He un-hinged my harness from the wire, and I hopped down. Are you ready for the next zip line, or do you want to go back to the bus? Harry asked. I gazed down at the canopy, finding nothing there to fear. So my answer surprised me, I want to go back to the bus. Though I had gotten over my fear of heights, there was something stopping me from completing the zip line. What was holding me back? As I walked down the steep hill back to the bus, it dawned on me: it wasnt my fear of heights. It was my fear of not being in control, hooked up to the wire.

    Artwork by Emily Mason

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    3RD PLACE, POETRY JOHN PETERS

    Apathy of The Subdued

    Self-incriminationToils the entire nationAs protestors fill the city streets.

    In a time whenLove and passion lead to bloody lashing,The oppressed will continue to eat.

    Despite the fact that Eggs and spermsSpread the germs,Kids are quick to play between the sheets.

    Although laziness and apathyYield craziness and agony,Grown sheep still feed from the mothers teat.

    EventuallyDomestic violenceTurns up silenceWe die with the sight of lovers feet.

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    Artwork by Marla Sagatelian

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    3RD PLACE, FICTION

    Falling Off a FenceALI LOVELL

    Dont be an idiot. Impossible, I say. I stick the toe of my sneaker into the fence and climb. It takes five steps to reach the top. I swing my leg over the bar and rest my elbows on my knees, hooking my heels to the fence on each side. You coming, Kitty? Its Katherine, she says, sticking her Converse in the first hole and beginning to climb. It takes her six steps to reach me. She squints her eyes at the bar at the top of the fence, and I extend a hand to help her up. Her glare shifts to rest on my hand, and she throws her black-skinny-jean-clad leg over the fence, mounting it like its a rebellious pony that might buck her off at any point. She keeps her eyes focused on the fence and the distance below us, causing her wispy brown hair to obscure her face. I lean back against the thin strip of metal and extend one of my legs, barely tapping her foot with mine. She looks up, and her deep-brown eyes widen at my precarious position. Dont you dare fall, she says. Oh, I wouldnt. I sit upright again and tuck my legs in, leaning towards her until our faces are almost touching. Id jump. Years later, were eighteen. Kats going to college in DC; Im staying near home. We have a mutual agreement that goodbyes suck, so she leaves silently after a midnight snack of macaroni at my place. I dont see her again until November, when she comes home for Thanksgiving. She has a boyfriend now. Next year, shes picked a major (Psychology). Im going into Environmental Studies. We said wed call every week, then every other week, then every month. I heard from some family friends shes engaged. She has a freckle on her nose, just to the left of the tip. She hates it. I love it. We planned our wedding once, as kids. It was a drunken conversation over a meal of Twix and cheap champagnewhat I sometimes consider my first date. She decided we were going to elope to Venezuela. Shed clean houses, and Id do landscaping. Wed rent a hole-in-the-wall apartment and buy a cat named Cheeto, and wed grow old together (no kids, of course) and commit mutual suicide when the living got too rough. It sounded perfect to fifteen-year-old me. At twenty, I still find the idea appealing. My mom wants to know why I havent found anyone special yet. She thinks Im going to live in this town forever, never marry, and never provide the grandchildren she so desires. Im her only son. Three miscarriages and then me: a failure. While we were still in high school, Kat threw a party for her sixteenth birthday. She invited fourteen of our closest friends to her house, and I purposefully arrived forty-five minutes early, armed with her carefully wrapped gift in patterned orange paper. I didnt knockI didnt need tobut the always-meticulous hallway of Kats house was cluttered with broken glass. I stopped and listened. A soft noise barely interjected the silence, and my feet automatically shuffled up the carpeted staircase towards Kats room. Her door was closed, but the noises were increasingly louder. I stood with my hand on the doorknob, her gift forgotten on the floor, and waited for a moment. The noise, which I now realized was soft crying, ceased. Sean?

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    Needing no more incentive, I opened the door. Kat looked up at me, her cheeks tear-stricken, and her left eye covered by a gruesome blue and purple bruise. Her hand was cut. I walked to her bed, opening my arms. She folded into them and cried loudly on my chest, cursing the world and her family and fate. I called to cancel the party and stayed with Katherine that night, holding her together in my arms as her world fell apart. Her parents separated that year. Six months ago, I got a letter in the mail. It was a pastel blue invite to a wedding starring a saucy Spanish-looking man and a woman named Katherine. She goes by Katie now. Its the month before the wedding, and Im in an alley wasting my months salary on plants and the promise of lost memories. Occasionally I find the invite and picture my face on it. Pathetic, I tell myself. I throw the fancy linen paper in the junk drawer of my desk, but it always finds its way onto the surface again. My house must be haunted. Things keep moving around. Plates fall to the ground. I hear noises in the night. Sometimes I see small feline shadows float across my bedroom wall, but I dont have a cat.

    Artwork by Emily Ball

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    On Thursday and Friday of this week, New York Times best-selling author and Porter-Gaud alumna Katie Crouch will join us on campus as our 2015 Visiting Writer. Ms. Crouch, a frequent contributor to The New York Times, Slate and The Huffington Post, is perhaps best known for her novels Girls in Trucks, Men and Dogs, her newest publication, Abroad, and for writing the first book in the YA Series The Magnolia League. I had the pleasure of interviewing Ms. Crouch, whose insights not only shed an attractive light on her works and life as a writer but also offer advice to aspiring writers who currently roam the Porter-Gaud campus.

    When did you first discover your passion for writing? Did you know during your time at Porter-Gaud that you wanted to be a writer? Many writer-types discover their passion early on, but some lose hope in pursuing their dream of writing for a living. Was this ever the case with you?

    Before Porter-Gaud, I went to grade school over at Charleston Day. I was a very bookish, shyand, lets face itnerdy child. Even worse, I was born in New York City. It was a time at CDS when most of the kids in the class were related to each other. Theyd all grown up together in one big, sticky, blond Old Charleston heap. I just didnt fit in.

    I spent a lot of time reading and writing my own stories. Likely they were about an underdog redhead who overcame unpopularity and blossomed into a gazillionaire movie star. Who knows. I certainly never thought I was good at it. I just really liked books because they seemed nicer to me than the kids at school.

    (At 41, I have found that I was entirely right about this. Books and dogs, always a better bet in the long term than humans.)

    In fifth grade, I had a wonderful teacher named Dottie Rhett. She was tall and glamorous and she had this movie star voice. She looked like a very pretty superhero. Once she came to school with her hair dyed lavender. I think it was an accident, but it was like this ice goddess had shown up to teach us Wordly Wise. I thought she was amazing.

    Anyhow, one day, she took my mother aside, held up one of my stories about mean girls drowning in lava and said, This is what Katie should be doing. Its a wonder, what a good teacher will do for a child. Just having that tiny bit of encouragement got me going for life.

    Mrs. Rhett passed away this year, which was a huge loss. I thanked her in the acknowledgments of my first book nine years ago. She was a truly lovely person.

    LOGAN COLEMAN

    Between the LinesInterview with Visiting Writer Katie Crouch

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    What was one book you were required to read in high school that you thoroughly enjoyed? Additionally, what was your favorite bookoutside of the curriculumthat you read in high school?

    I remember very clearly that we had to read Crime and Punishment. I also remember very clearly that I didnt get through it. I just wasnt ready for that one. Then we read Pride and Prejudice, and I was like, Yes! Smart girls! Romance! Parties! What can I say? I was intelligent but shallow.

    I read The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath on my own, which spoke to me. I wasnt depressed, but I liked her bad attitude. I read Plaths journals, her biographies. And I read everything in the world by Judy Blume.

    Other than that, its hard to remember. I would just go to the library and pluck out a book and try it. Its all so overly marketed nowthese logarithms from Amazon telling you what youll like and why. Theres something to be said for just strolling in the stacks and grabbing a book that looks cool.

    What has been the greatest inspiration for your books?

    Connecting with other people.

    We all experience life in such different, monumental ways. Yet its impossible to communicate effectively. For example, the other day I was sitting at the airport, and a friend had texted me that shed had her baby six weeks early, and it was too small, and she didnt know what would happen. My baby might die, she said. And all I could do in that moment was text back, Im sorry. Which felt so lame and small and stupid. I mean, I could send flowers or make some food or something, which I did. But to really scrape the surface of what I wanted to say about the hugeness of what I was feeling for her, Id have to write a whole book. Which still wouldnt work. But its worth a try.

    So thats why I write novels.

    Why has Charlestonor its counterpart, Savannahon multiple occasions been the center of your books? Or, in simpler terms: what makes these cities worthy settings?

    I have a really strong emotional connection with Charleston. I miss it, but my partner, Peter, is a tenured professor in San Francisco, so this is home. But by having my characters live in the Lowcountry, I could sort of be back.

    Ive stopped using Charleston specifically, though, because people at church kept asking my poor mother if those insane, badly behaved female characters in my novels were actually me. (Theyre not. If only my life were so exciting and tawdry.) But after the 100th time she asked me to write about another town, I said OK. Well see if Ill stick to that.

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    What is your routine and set-up for writing? What are your preparations and methods when it comes to sitting down and writing?

    Before I was a mom, I would get up at 6:00 and get four to six hours in. Morning is the best time. I use an app called Freedom that locks the computer out of the Internet. Very important. I always tried to write as my first cup of coffee was entering my brain.

    I always write in a notebook first and then type it in. Then I rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. I dont show anything to anyone until I think its done. I dont need any discouragement, because Im pretty good at that on my own.

    I keep relevant books and maps and photos all around me in whatever Im using as an office. (Currently I have a closet.) I also make sure to not just rewrite, but also to create more material. Pages equal confidence. One bad draft of a book is infinitely better than one perfect first chapter rewritten seventy times.

    Now that I have a daughter, I have to be more fierce with my time. My early mornings are spoken for. Afternoons, late morning, thats my time. If I get behind, I cancel plans. I bail on my friends all the time. Your book Abroad is set in Italy and is inspired by the true case of Amanda Knox, an American college student studying overseas who is charged with the murder of her roommate. What about this case struck you to the point where you had to write a book on the topic? How much of your opinion for the case is incorporated in your fictional main character, Taz, assumedly based off of Amandas own personality and controversial story?

    I covered the Knox story for Slate magazine three years ago. I knew a lot about the case. But actually, the main focus wasnt Knox at all. It was the victim. I was in Italy when I decided to write this, and all anyone could talk about was Angel Face, the beautiful American. And very few people could remember the victims name. (Meredith Kercher.) I found that fascinating and alarming. Because as I started researching and interviewing people about the case, I found the most relevant answers to what happened always led back to her. She was the only one who knew the truth, but she couldnt relay it. Which was a terrific place for fiction to begin. Do you ever struggle with people assuming that characters in your novels are based upon real people, or perhaps based off of your experiences with them? For instance, family or friends thinking that they were the inspiration for your characters?

    Yes.(Please see church gossip story above.)

    My father gets especially annoyed because the father character dies in two of my novels. Why do you always kill me off? he asks. When this happens, I offer to give him my therapists number, which effectively ends this line of questioning.

    Honestly, I dont worry about peoples assumptions anymore. If people do think youve written about them, they get annoyed because they think youve gotten it wrong. If they dont think youve written about them, they say, Hey? How come Im not in your book? Theres no way to win.

    I just make sure that if Im actually writing about someone in my lifewhich is pretty much neverI stress their amazing good looks and colossal intelligence.

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    How do you transition between writing adult fiction to writing teen fiction? Is writing teen fiction significantly different? Have you enjoyed writing your teen series The Magnolia League?

    Those Magnolia League books were genre fiction, which is much different to produce than literary fiction. They were commissioned by a publishing house, and I had three months to finish each one. My best friend from high school, Grady Hendrix (also a PG, AP English, Mr. Moore alum) signed on to help. We wrote like maniacs. I love those books and especially loved writing with Grady, but they never caught on in a big way. The house was looking for huge, Twilight-style numbers. It was almost like being a writing mercenary. I do much better with no deadline, no stakes. Id be really bad in Hollywood.

    In terms of writing for teens, there were no guidelines. My editor was like, All profanity, sex, its been done in YA, its fine. Keep it tasteful. Thats it. I found that pretty surprising. The more I think about it, the more I have no idea what Young Adult means in terms of fiction.

    What has the collaborative process been like? In general terms, how does it work?

    Grady and I did everything over the phone and email. Id write a chapter, pass it to him, hed write the next bit, pass it back. We had so much fun. He is brilliant, just one of those insanely smart and funny people that always is doing something nuts. The New Yorker wrote a Talk of the Town about him a few years ago. Hes just one of those people. You should read his latest book, Horrorstor. Its terrific and was picked up by a big TV producer.

    I dont think I could collaborate with someone I didnt adore as a friend. You have to be able to hear, Um, sorry, Katie, this bit sucked. Seriously. Write it again! and not hate the person. Its a delicate balance. Can you disclose to us any information on a project in the works?

    Im sort of all over the place right now. But Im really liking literary thrillers about smart, messed-up women at the moment. I like writing them and reading them. So thats probably what Ill finish next. Do you have any advice for high school students with an interest in writing in their years to come, or potentially, as a career?

    If you think you want to be a writer, then write. Its pretty simple. Spend a lot of time writing. Turn off the internet and the TV and the phone. Go to a quiet room and figure out what you want to say. Write one page, then the next. Then keep going.

    When youre not writing, read. Figure out what books you like and what you dont. Its OK not to like Crime and Punishment, but you have to read it to know. Have an intelligent viewpoint on it. I like John Green more than Dostoyevsky because the modern subtlety of his dialogue speaks to me more at this time in my life, though I appreciated the dark ride into Raskolnikovs brain. Think it through, own it. Figure it out for yourself, not for a teacher or someone youre trying to impress.

    Finally, develop your own canon. Buy your favorite books and put them on a bookshelf. I like real books, they make me happy. I dont care if Im old-fashioned. A nice paper book with delicious paper pages that you like to read over and over? Trust me. As a writer, thats your best friend.

    Ms. Crouch will give a reading on Thursday at an assembly and visit English classes. Several of her books will be available for purchase on campus.

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    The semicolon here has the effect of drawing out the entire line, forcing the reader to spend more time to gather together the thoughts of the sentence and allowing the reader to partially experience the near stop of time occurring in this particular instant within the narrative. To Stephen, the mere seconds he spends with his eyes locked with the visions appear to last a lifetime, and the sentence offers the reader more and more immersion by putting him in Stephens shoes. The main segment of the sentence stretches the line out with repetition, furthering the temporal dilation. The repetition also lends the sentence a prayer-like quality, a quality that once again strengthens the sensation that this particular moment is taking up more time than is physically possible. In addition to this pseudo-religious quality, the sentence establishes a certain air of the mysterious and the mythological. The reader, and to a certain extent, Stephen, cant be certain whether this girl is a physical being, a person whom Stephen has projected himself onto, altering and elevating her in his own narcissistic way, or a complete delusion, an utter fabrication of his mind. The scenes unreal qualities, along with its prayer-like wording and structure, give the impression that the entire scene occurs in metaphorthat the bird-like girl isnt really in front of Stephen at all. Instead, Stephen sees an idealized form of human beauty, a perfect creation that he admires but does not lust for, gazing out to the edges of the sea, to the places and the experiences that Stephen knows await him beyond. -Kris Kitchen

    This spring in AP English Literature, students were asked to choose their favorite sentence from James Joyces modernist masterpiece A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and to describe the ways in which Joyces (often challenging, always complex) syntax contributes to the texts meaning. Below is senior Kris Kitchens response, in which he analyzes the thoughts of the novels protagonist, Stephen Dedalus, a burgeoning writer who wants to transcend the limitationsfamilial, religious, nationalthat define his identity in his native Ireland. In the scene, Dedalus, standing on a beach, staring out to sea, has a vision: a strikingly beautiful bird-girl who seems the embodiment of Stephens creative vision, a creature bodily and imaginative, real and ethereal.

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    Artwork by Savanna Barrineau

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    MADELINE KUHN

    Tickling the Ivories I entered the elevator, my pink cross-body bag slung across my shoulder, and pressed the worn second-floor button. The elevator hummed as it moved, and when the doors opened I cautiously stepped onto the old, grey, laminated flooring. I scuttled down the hall into a practice room, exhaled slowly, and plopped onto the tall piano bench. I peered down at my faded light-up sneakers with fraying shoelaces that no longer tied after days on the playground. A fluorescent light gently flickered above my head as a moth attacked its luminance. A clock ticked on a sterile wall, each second interminable. Then I heard cheap heels clip down the hallway, and my teacher entered the room with her dark red lipstick, a short black bob, and a meretricious sequin dress similar to one I own for dress-up. Are you veddy for your lezzon? she asked in a thick Russian accent, smiling to reveal a spot of lipstick transferred to her teeth. I slowly nodded, pushing a lock of hair out of my eyes, and began to pull out my large books from my bag. Play your scales virst, she demanded harshly and pulled up a weathered banquet chair to observe my playing. I placed my shaky hands on the keys and began to play. You made mistake. Start over, she exclaimed dictatorially. I restarted, and my trembling fingers plucked out each individual note precisely. Straighten your fingersyou are not a spider. Frustration building inside me, I put all my effort into the simple scales. My fingers danced on the keys as I played the scale that she ordered. Her dark eyes focused in on my hands. At the end, she nodded, showing some approval. Bring out your sonatina! How much did you practice? She stared into my eyes. She chastised me about not doing the work that I had been given. Her anger rose within her as I grew more uncomfortable. I looked away and didnt reply. I turned the worn pages to the song I had been assigned, and yet despised. I placed my hands on the keys again. Trembling more, I began to sink into despair as I realized my inadequacy to play the piece. The overwhelming complexity of notes, sharps, flats, and rests on the page heightened my anxieties and uncertainty. However, I began to play. Your timing is off, and you are in the wrong keystart again. She forced the words through her teeth.

    HONORABLE MENTION, FICTION

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    Warm, stinging tears welled in my eyes, and the world became blurry as I tried to hold them back. I began again, only to be told, Start again. A car alarm went off outside. Another student entered the building. The moth slammed again against the light above. My head swam with anxiety. A tear rolled down my cheek slowly and fell on my pink corduroy pants. I am done with you today. Go home. When you have practiced enough, you may come back, she said as she stood up to leave.

    Then, she stormed out of the room, her heels clipping at a much faster pace than at the start of my lesson. I gathered my things, crouched down in an attempt to tie my shoe, and proceeded slowly to the elevator. It hummed up, and I rode it down to wait for my mother. As I sat on the curb, I began to think of how to tell my mother I wanted to quit piano. Tears streamed down my face when her electric blue Odyssey pulled into the parking lot. I walked to her car and looked over my shoulder to glance back one last time at the piano books I had left on the sidewalk.

    Artwork by Logan Coleman

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    HONORABLE MENTION, FICTIONANNEMARIE THOMPSON

    By the Bayou It had been fifteen years since I had last visited the town of Dolores, which was only a mile away. It was a lonely life, I suppose you might say, but I enjoyed it. I had a whole vegetable patch by the bayou. I also had Mister ONeil send me his best cow flank once a year. However, I did have one companion, Lucius. Lucius was the light of my life when he was born. He was never a burden! I promise! He wasnt like the other kids, though. The doctor told me he was in some vegetative state, and he was paralyzed from the neck down. He never spoke, but I loved pushing his dusty, blond locks from his eyes. His eyes seemed to stare straight at measking, begging me for a favor. It should have been a normal Monday, but today seemed different. A south wind blew. Clearly, a sign of change. Knock-knock. Ohhh, I wonder who it is, I thought. It was too early for Mister O Neil. I looked down at the front door step, a little dusty from a lack of visitors, to see a tiny young lady. She must have been about fifteen, the same age as Lucius. She had on a beautiful, checkered-blue dress, complete with matching gold braids. Her eyes sparkled when she talked, and she reminded me of my youth. Hello, Ava. Im here to help. Really? What a fine young gal you are, but please call me Mrs. Fletcher. I havent been called Ava in over thirty years! Well, where are you from? I go down to that school right down yonder, and I was sent here to help you with Lucius. My names Louise, by the way. Thank you kindly, I said. I thought about how nice it would be for Lucius to grow up like Louise and have a girlfriend perhaps. It sure wouldnt have been as lonely. Now here is Lucius, I said as I pointed towards his Victorian-era styled bed. Louise pushed his arm a little bit and gasped, as he gave no reaction. She slowly looked at his face. She was eye to eye with him. I couldnt help thinking how perfect Louise would be as a wife for Lucius. If only Lucius hadnt had this disability. If only he was normal, then they would be the perfect couple. She stared at his piercing blue eyes as he returned her gaze. Does he ever talk? No. He can only move his face. Well, what can he do? Oh, he likes to sit in the sun. Sometimes I read to him. But he cant properly function, right? Well, yes Well, then whats the point of living for him? That fired me up, I can tell you right then. So I naturally screamed, Get out of my house! I dont need any more assistance! But she was gone, long gone. She was never coming back, I thought triumphantly. I gazed back at Lucius as he started to gurgle, so I took a napkin to wipe his chin. I looked past him at the setting sun, and I wondered what lay beyond the rivers of Dolores. I had always been so attached to Lucius. Maybe it was time to explore the fringes of the map. Just maybe. I rested my head on Lucius stomach and fell into a deep sleep. Hello, Ava! Hello? I said groggily. Was it Lucius? Was he talking? No, it was just Louise. Wait, just Louise? I had kicked her out earlier, I thought. Well, are you ready for a vacation? Why, yes, of course I am. Then Ill leave you to your thoughts, she said as she disappeared out through the front door. What ever could she mean? Well, I was starving. So I made my favorite steak sandwich. While I toasted the bread, I sat down in my sedan chair. All of this commotion had really worn me out! It was Tuesday, so

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    I probably needed to give Lucius a bath. That little girl kept bothering me, though. I couldnt get her out of my thoughts! A vacation did sound nice. I mean, I had never gone anywhere because of Lucius. I I shouldnt be punished, should I? No, not at all. I need to make sure hell be all situated though before I go. Wait, the bread! I ran to the toaster to find it ice cold, and that it was already midday. I hurried to the living room to find Lucius still alive and well. I gingerly lifted him up and carried him over to the bathtub. I situated him upright in the tub and poured the hot water on. Lucius closed his eyes, falling into a deep sleep. I took the lye soup and started scrubbing. Scrub, scrub here. Scrub, scrub there. Scrub the day away, I sang to myself. I heard Louise walk in, but I was too tired to kick her out. What? Can I scrub that lavender shampoo in his hair? Sure, sure. Have you thought about that vacation? Yeah, I have. Louise washed his head with the utmost care, which made me smile. I looked over at Lucius, and his eyes met mine. I saw him pleading again, and then it sort of clicked in my head that maybejust maybehe was seeking some assistance. I thought long and hard until Louise leaned over and whispered in my ear, Do it. She was right. He had nothing to live for. He could not enjoy the pleasures of life, nor could he know them. He probably didnt even think. I loved him so much, but he never knew me, I suppose. I would be doing him a service. Yeswhy, of course, I would. His pleading gaze was all too lucid now. I smiled at Louise and nodded; she nodded back. I brushed his dusty, blonde bangs lovingly out of his eyes for one last time. I lifted my two hands, and then I pushed him down into the bubble bath. There was no fight, no struggle, but only his piercing gaze. Lucius? Ahhhh, no answer. Good. I looked back at his face, but there was no reaction. Wait, what? WHAT? God, no, no, no! What did that wretch make me do? Lucius, what the hell are you doing? Wake up! I looked for that wretched little girl. She was the one who made me do it. It was all her fault! I looked around again, but there was no one else around. No one. It was alwaysjust me. I looked down at his eyes, sobbing all the while. They were dull. What had happened to his piercing blue gaze? His eyes were all glassy now. They gazed out lifelessly to the sky, but right under his eye lay a little teardrop. Oh, noooo, I moaned. Lucius felt his lungs burn to the last second. He did love me. Why did I do this? His little teardrop was living proof of his emotions, and, after all, is emotion not the window to the soul? No matter the person, a person is, after all, still a person. I looked around the sad excuse of a house. It seemed strangely empty with all the same furnishings, but there wasnt a speck of life anywhere. Spiders clung to every niche, and a steady drip from the roof disintegrated the couch. My eyes followed the watery trail to the hole in the sofa. Louise had just been sitting there, I thought My eyes scanned the room until I found Louise. She was trapped in a tiny clear photograph from thirty years ago that read Ava Louise Fletcher, 15. Trapped Nothing mattered anymore, though. I looked down at the two murder weapons, slowly curling and uncurling them. I sobbedwhether out of pity or regret, I do not know. All I knew was that this house left nothing but sorrow for me. The houses last splash of color was disappearing in the tub to a now pale and icy cold grey. How could I bear to live with my guilt anymore, though? How does anyone keep living after an accident? I didnt deserve to live. I was a selfish old hag who had killed her last friend in the world. I had utterly ruined this house. Thats why I ran out of the house, burdened down with rocks, ready to go down to the bayou.

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    ELLEN NIRENBLATT

    Travelogue: On The Border

    Danger: Minefields, the bright yellow sign reads as our mud splattered off-road Jeep bumps and splashes past it. On either side of the Jeep are rows of barbed wire fences to protect cows and other tourists from over 100 stray land-mines left over from previous conflicts with Syria. I look over at the driver, a man in his middle 60s. He looks unfazed. If he isnt worried, then I shouldnt be either, I think to myself. Sitting across from me is my 78 year-old grandfather and, behind, my parents and younger brother. In front of me are the driver, wearing an odd looking fuzzy hat apparently from Romania, and our tour guide, Yonatan, who is 38, with a makeshift scarf wrapped around his bald head for warmth. After one last treacherous descent, our Jeep comes to a halt on flat terrain. Everyone steps out of the mud-splattered Jeep and onto a lush, emerald field still wet from past rain and morning dew. Everywhere in the grass are volcanic rocks from the hills ancient past as a volcano. The hilltops behind us are dotted with Eucalyptus trees and discarded coils of barbed wire, reminding me that this hills purpose is not for its beauty but for protection against Syrian rebels trying to get into Israel, where we are now. Yonatan asks us to look down the hill at the mammoth barbed wire fence that stretches along the valley for miles. Just on the other side of the fence is Syria and its civil war. The sounds of mortars exploding and gunfire reach our ears from only a mile away. A strange sense of safety encompasses my thoughts. Knowing that an army base is nearby and the entire Israeli army is constantly on alert, I am able to listen with awe at the chaos below. Once again both the driver and Yonatan promise our group is safe, so we stay and listen to the history of the border and sounds of gunfire and explosions. A soft rumbling sound of an approaching vehicle becomes louder and louder as it nears us. Turning around, I see a massive tank with fresh mud on its tracks situated on a flat bed truck. Our Jeep driver asks the Israeli soldier, the driver of the truck, if we are allowed to visit the army base near by. He says yes, knowing we are a private tour, and drives away, with the tank in tow, the soft rumbling growing softer and softer. Our group climbs back into the Jeep and drives down an actual flat road to the army base. As we pull through the metal and barbed wire gates, soldiers as young as eighteen smile and crowd around the jeep to look at us. The Jeep stops and we step out into thick, wet mud in the center of the base. In front of me, friendly soldiers are talking and taking pictures with everyone; behind me are rows and rows of tanks. No pictures of the tanks are allowed as they are used for the Iron Dome protection system against incoming missiles. This base is on the front lines between Syria and Israel; however, the feeling of safety is overwhelming. After listening to the soldiers talk about the base and taking pictures with them, our group leaves the base and heads to a former Syrian hospital turned secret Syrian headquarters that was bombed by Israel. It is a three-story concrete building with now paneless windows that open into former hospital rooms, an eerie reminder of the Six-Day War.

    Freshman Ellen Nirenblatt recounts a memorable journey her family took to Israel during the holiday break.

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    As we walk into the building, shattered glass and concrete rubble cover the dusty floor just as graffiti and bullet holes cover the three remaining walls. The wall across from us is gone, leaving just the staircase with missing steps in front of it. An eerie stillness in the air around us makes the hospital seem frozen in time, forever scarred from the war. On either side old hallways open into abandoned hospital rooms with paneless windows. We carefully climb the staircase with a concrete stair missing here and there to reach the second floor. On one side, here again a wall is gone, and, on the other, the railing is gone, leaving a gaping hole in between the two flights of stairs, us, and the floor below. The hallway in front of us has a crude skylight, not from a window, but from a hole an Israeli bomb made while crashing through the building.

    We ascend the last staircase to the third floor, the roof, and look out at the barbed-wire fence separating Israel from Syria. Yonatan tells us about the Six-Day War and its impact on the area today. Then we carefully descend the staircases back down to the first floor and out to our Jeep. We climb back in for the final time and head up a mountain toward a series of old bunkers now occupied by tourists. Next to them is a caf where we spend the rest of the morning sipping coffee and looking out at the rolling, emerald hills. And to the Syrian border in the distance.

    Photograph by Ellen Nirenblatt

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