These are the voyages of the Lighthouse Writers Young Authors Collective on our one-year mission to explore strange forms, seek out new styles, and boldly go where no teenager has gone before. We’re here not only to hone our creativity but to encourage, support, and lift each other up as a fellowship of writers. We recognize and cherish the power held within words. Writing is often a solitary art, but it is the solace found in writing that brings the Lighthouse community together. When we expose our truth, we are rewriting the teenage rebellion and the world will never be the same.
By Lucy Earl
What do people’s souls look like? Because I don’t think they look like the bodies they reside in, that’s too easy. Do they look like other people? Faces we’ve only met in dreams but we still know exactly which reality to match them to? Perhaps mine is an old man, eyes lit up with the joy of his borderline craziness, or maybe he’s just really imaginative. Is there really a difference between a strong imagination and insanity? Maybe our souls are the forgottens we’ve left behind, lingering on objects or in smells like memories waiting to be picked up again. Maybe our souls are the smell of a childhood home or the sight of an old table. Maybe our souls are colors that don’t have names but make you think of a certain person and you can’t shake the feeling. Or maybe our souls are words, shifting around to form sentences, separating your life into constantly rearranging stanzas. Maybe our souls are the random thoughts we have while we lie awake at night, sticking to the ceiling above us like a mobile of existence hidden in foggy heads. Maybe our souls are soggy days, wet socks, the smell of rain, and the warm feeling in the pit of your stomach you get from laughing for too long. Or maybe they don’t exist in a way that you can hold in your hand. Maybe your soul doesn’t fit into a jar of trinkets collected by those whose minds like to wander. Maybe we can trap them in the words on our page, the ink sinking deeper into the paper as each second passes, like any moment we have, burying itself into the folds of your brain. Our souls, perhaps, are the residue of our existence,a moment trapped in the ribbon of time, fading as it pushes past us, but we still hold on just as tight, because it’s comforting to think that nothing disappears forever.
By Lucy Earl
Any various devices for producing light or sometimes heat.
An object of little to no importance to most people.
If I had known yesterday that the lamp would be moved, I wouldn’t have bothered to show up. I mean, it’s not just about the lamp. It’s the uneasy feeling that everything has changed. I left this room two months ago and I wanted it to stay exactly the same. I wanted to come back, have to slightly reposition my chair, and put my notebook on the table to my right. I wanted to watch the same crowd of people parade in, one after the other. But now the lamp is moved and everything else has changed with it.
A physical representation of the impact of change on one particular individual.
The thing about communities is that they need constant maintenance and a level of consistency in order to survive. But, if those communities are left unattended for too long, then new people come in and start messing with it. Suddenly, the table is on the wrong side, there is a clock counting out our fleeting time together, the arms of my chair are covered with a different fabric, and the lamp is in the wrong place. But still, I am here.
Our time here is forever frozen in a collection of words
The cold echos of past moments
Still reverberating around the room
They have left their ghosts here for me to discover
My other anchors across the room
Slipping away from my hands
Taking the living, breathing moments down with them
Symphonies of laughter still seem to bounce around the walls
Fading away with every second ticked off by the clock
Tables look empty without the collection of juice boxes
And gummy wrappers slowly building up as the hours go by
The room looks empty and cold without the overflow of chairs and lives
I moved the lamp back
Placed the clock out of sight
Hid the fabric covers
Put the table on the right side
A word, like most, that begins to sound incorrect the more often you say it.
YAC is a group of slightly crazy teenagers, and I use that word fondly.
Laughter colors the walls of the room that we meet in, and I doubt that color will ever fully go away.
Every person brings their own skillsets, and somehow those skills create a conglomeration of incredible stories.
We are crazy, and nerdy and if you were a fly on the wall it might scare you a little bit, but we are YAC, and laughter fills our lungs. by Aiyana Spear
Chewing the shadows
Cutting open words
As building blocks
For your soul
by Abigail Munson
YAC is low-key a bunch of crazy high school students that get together on Wednesdays and talk about a lot of stuff, mostly writing, but sometimes weird stuff, like Adam’s irrational fear of a pea, or Lucy’s hue of purple or how Katy can’t spell, but none of us can spell, really, or form a complete sentence (like this one – it’s gone on way too long) but we still call ourselves writers, and that’s good and all because we’re all really good writers, but we all write different stuff, like Abigail who writes like a ton of poetry with all those really clever biblical allusions, and Madison who writes all this fantasy stuff that’s really cool, and always gets confused with Madeline, for some reason who always writes like way too much and can’t even finish this damn sentence, and Cassidy, who has like, a pretty weird sense of humor , but that’s cool and all, and Ellen usually writes about herself, but sometimes it’s about Hello Kitty instead (and maybe Hello Kitty should be considered a member of YAC) and Aiyana writes descriptive essays, and Sierra writes a little bit of everything, and Thalia dresses like all darkly, which is weird because her writing is so bright, and I think that’s everyone, except for Jesaka, who has to be included, of course, and I’m not sure what she writes, but I’m sure it’s as good as the prompts she gives us, and that’s YAC, 🙂 by Madeline Dean
A place where I thought new things and mastered new thought. A room where lives were created. A group of great people I will carry with me forever. A space where anything is possible and magic can happen. A mindset where kindness and friendship are born. A home where new worlds are traveled and explored together. by Katy C McDonald
YAC is somewhere I’m understood
YAC is splendiferous
YAC is where writers can be themselves
YAC is where friendships begin and creativity never has to end
YAC is like a convening of Powerful sorcerers
YAC is home
by Madison Hart
Land of misfit toys. But hey, we’re writers, what do you expect. Oddly enough, there’s very little writing involved, just a lot of inside jokes about writing. Or about the snack table. Or about each other. Mostly about each other. by Thalia Medrano
There are two types of people in YAC… those who like linked stories and Cassidy. by Cassidy Nicks
A concept, a feeling.
It is not merely our group name,
It is green carpets, plush chairs.
It is laughter about nothing,
Laughter about everything.
It is Wednesdays and plot
holes and inside jokes.
We are YAC; YAC is within us
I know that sounds kinda
sappy, but the thing that
YAC is most, is the people.
Each year it changes,
because this people change.
At heart it is an
idea – and an idea
can go anywhere.
by Sierra Karas
by Lucy Earl
I don’t get to savor this
It’s too late.
No more arriving early
Or waiting for other people to get here
No more sunsets or snowy afternoons.
No more knots or rants about the weather.
I don’t get to savor this
No loud monologues or magic school buses
No more juice boxes or trying to figure out
How to hide the body.
I don’t get to savor this.
We will be back
But people leave
It will be wonderful
But a different wonderful.
No more seconds to tick away
No more… this (I)
Our time here forever frozen in a collection
I no longer get to savor this.
I never saw Colorado skies until I walked out from the grotto of a beautiful old Denver Square house as the sun set orange and pink over the dingy low city skyline, where the frayed telephone wires cut dark black silhouettes just above the horizon. I had seen it before in a picture, taken somewhere else maybe, but the same view, and had always wished that the real world could look that way. And yet here I am, finding that picture come to life in the place I’d lived in long enough to grow bored of.
I never wanted to stay in Colorado. I still don’t want to stay in Colorado. But I’ll miss the sky. Maybe I’ll find skies somewhere else. Maybe I’ll find an ocean, a grey one in a drizzly little town somewhere where the sky isn’t as brilliant but it won’t matter because I’ll have the water for a sky. Maybe I’ll have a misty forest like the ones I found in Vermont.
I’ll miss the sky, but I’ll still leave, because I want a different ordinary. Someday, my ordinary will consist of:
- Fire escapes
- Acrylic paint
- Lace curtains
- A park with a good tree to climb
- Open documents full of words that mean something
- Worn in boots
- Potted plants growing on the window sill
- A room far off the ground
- My new sky, be it a forest or ocean
But for the time being, a can appreciate my ordinary for the red walls, the dried flowers hanging from a string above the closet, the strange art from every corner of the world in every corner of our home, the blue, purple, and green trim, the creek behind my old elementary school, the bus on a rainy day, the large chair in the coffee shop, the parlor and the Denver Square house.
Atari video games were once very popular—that’s for sure. But what will they be fifty, sixty years from now? Just a little black box, sitting in a junkyard. Assuming junkyards still exist fifty, sixty years from now. Maybe the world will become some kind of environmental utopia where everything is recycled, and the Atari game will broken into little tiny pieces, a part of everything but nothing itself.
That can’t happen to writing. It can’t get broken up into little bits. Because, without choice or order, all writing becomes just words. A novel or a Shakespearean play becomes nothing but a dictionary.
So, that’s not to say dictionaries are nothing, but they are just a means to an end. And the end is the collection of all of those bits and pieces–English is a language of miscellany. Here’s a Latin word, and over there’s a Germanic one, and, together, they’re a symphony of emotion.
By Madison Hart
You’ve asked what my summer looks like. My summer will be an ordinary summer. But don’t think of the word ordinary and frown. Because I intend to make the ordinary extraordinary. I will turn rolling out of bed in the morning a party–for I have another day. I will turn brewing the coffee into a time of thanksgiving–for I have coffee to brew. I will take making an omelet and flip it into a competition against myself–just to see how perfect I can make it. A shower will become a luxurious cleansing underneath a waterfall. Getting in my car will become like boarding a space craft–for I am off to live adventures and meet new people. I will take my errands and treat them as if I’m on a countdown–for errands always need a little pizazz. I will take washing the dishes and turn it into a karaoke night–for music makes any task grander. I will take climbing into my sheets at night and turn it into a time to ponder my extraordinary day and my extraordinary tomorrow. So, you see, my summer will be extraordinary. Not because of what I do, but because of how I do it. What will your summer look like?
In Ramona Blue, Julie Murphy plunges the reader straight into an engrossing story. A story that feels more like a summer memory from years ago than reading a book. While main character Ramona is not by any means generic, rather a six-foot-tall blue-haired enigma, she creates a deep nostalgia within the reader, like she was your best friend in another life.
Murphy’s descriptive language is languid and beautiful and melancholy and entirely blue. Every few pages, there is one sentence that takes my breath away and I have to read it over a few times and let it resonate within me.
I instantly fell in love with Freddie, his character was sweet and charming and almost too good to be true. Freddie felt like a silver-lining in a muddy, wet town.
Ramona Blue was overall very well written. I adored the language, the characters, the story and would definitely recommend it to my friends and I will definitely read it again.
The Beast Is An Animal by Peternelle Van Arsdale reads like a really fun acid trip. [Editor’s note: not that Cassidy knows what an acid trip is. She’s just watched too many YouTube videos.] Everything is far out, mysterious, elusive: the story of a damaged and abused girl transforming into a fearsome creature.
The book is compelling, with an engaging plot, but is simultaneously hyper realistic and impossible–the decisions and paths Alys (the main character) follows, are incredibly real, yet the story is based in a fantasy land more similar to classical China or medieval Europe than anything else.
The real world blends with fantastic creatures, and a “fforest” (this spelling was incredibly obnoxious, and my biggest complaint) is never what it seems (at one point, the fforest spelling is broken and a normal forest is written, leaving the reader wondering if it was on purpose, or was just a typo).
The Beast is by far the most interesting character, but remains absent most of the book, and while it’s alluded that part of the Beast is inside Alys, this is never really mentioned until the last chapters. For being the title character, he sure isn’t a leading one.
Five Things I Learned While Reading The Beast Is An Animal
- People are selfish when they are scared.
- People with power often act like @ssh@les.
- Sometimes a girl doesn’t need a guy to solve a problem.
- Nothing is ever purely good or evil.
- Don’t judge a Beast by the stories others tell.
Overall, despite the annoying spelling of forest (as fforest), The Beast Is An Animal by Peternelle Van Arsdale is a well-written story that will keep the reader engaged from cover to cover.