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[The Tree Project Starting Point]

[Editor’s Note]

The Young Authors Collective (YAC) kicked off 2018 with a new project—a project with an ever-evolving name. The plan: one YAC member wrote and shared a story with two YAC members, who then each shared with another member and so on until each member had written a story or poem inspired by the one before it. The project structure is a bit like the “telephone game,” where each listener relies on a single person to convey the full story–and what you hear in the end is sometimes completely unrelated to the game’s origin story. This project was somewhat difficult to name, though, even for a room full of writers. We tried “Geese” because the path of the stories followed the formation of flying geese, then “Tuning Fork,” and then we eventually settled on the “Tree Project.” But never, ever “Cassidy’s Linked Stories.” (You’ll have to ask a YAC member for that story.)

 

Instructions for Reading

Read A City Graveyard After The Rain by Emma

Then choose either of the two pieces by Aiyana or Alison

Keep following the links at the end of each piece

Then come back to A City Graveyard After The Rain by Emma

And start with the piece by Aiyana or Alison you did not read before

 

Or, you can use the chart below to follow the two evolutions of our starting story.

                          A City Graveyard After The Rain by Emma
Something Like Connections  by Aiyana Knock by Alison
Finger Song by Abigail Tree/Telephone/Tuning Fork/Geese Piece by Leo
Tempo by Thalia A Letter to My Inner Muse by Elaina
N…E… by Jonas Daughters by Madeline
A Life in Numbers by Sonya Remembering by Cassidy
Radio Silence by Adam

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[Radio Silence]

By Adam Dorsheimer

She would have been much more beautiful without the bruise covering her left eye. The prismatic rainbow of a mark running from her forehead to the top of her cheekbone radiated shades of purple and yellow and green that varied based on where it was viewed from. It was mesmerizing, and it took all I had not to stare. Her good eye was even darker than the bruise, looking haggard and devoid of life, as though her spirit had faded into nothingness. In fact, as beautiful as she might have been, the bruise appeared to be the most lively thing about her at that moment; she seemed to be somewhere between dying and dead. To avoid looking too closely I focused my attention on the task at hand, scanning and bagging each item with exaggerated care. An eternity later, she hobbled away, clutching the flimsy bags to her chest as though they would fly away if she loosened her grip. The moment she disappeared from view, my hand shot to the radio on my belt, but my tongue was paralyzed. I was in a daze, questioning what I knew I saw, my mind’s eye still entranced by the mark. “Hello?” The voice jolted me out of my trance, and I muttered an apology. I got to work, once again, on the task at hand, but not before delicately replacing the radio in my belt.

 

[Book Review: Ramona Blue]

by Abigail Munson

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. Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy I am quote

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.

[Book Review: The Beast Is An Animal]

By Cassidy Nicks

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 beast is an animal book coverThe 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

  1. People are selfish when they are scared.
  2. People with power often act like @ssh@les.
  3. Sometimes a girl doesn’t need a guy to solve a problem.
  4. Nothing is ever purely good or evil.
  5. 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.

 

[Our Manifesto, 2016-17]

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.

[Untitled]

by Abigail Munson

About Lucy Earl

 

Grown from toe,

To crown

In a house divided

By a titanic orange wall

Like a Clifford Still painting

A garring bloodline shot

Through white

Pink Martini’s booming trumpets

Stick to the wall,

(A welcome stain)

California’s famous sun

Never touched it

The sun was saved for

The elementary school

Across the street

Not her school, just a

Location

A memory-landmark

One summer they redid

The asphalt on the

Playground

A lonely red ball marooned

Between the faded

Swings and

Sticky picnic table

Maybe no one cared,

Maybe no one saw,

But black swallowed

Red and a lumpy grave

Was made beneath,

Sometimes the girl

Would sit on top of

The tomb,

(sun kissing

Her hairline ember-red)

And think about the

World

Could she find

Happiness here?

How long would she

Have to search?

The blessing-curse

Is that life

Is the search

[Combat Boots/Cleanliness]

by Ellen Huggins

About Thalia Medrano

Thalia just seems like a cool girl. Like she should be someone’s cool older sister. Like she gets good grades, but also wears things that makes it look like she doesn’t get good grades? Like combat boots. Not to say that people who wear combat boots are doofuses, but they seem very nonchalant.

I think that Thalia is very organized too, like she maybe has records or something that she keeps alphabetical order. Or she organizes her socks or something, like by color. I could alse see her being very deliberate on what she puts in her backpack, you know what I mean? Like she puts hand sanitizer in it. And her water bottle is always filled, or at least she brings it along so that she remembers to be hydrated during the day. So very combat boot- cleanliness.

[Who Are You?]

by Sierra Karas

About Abigail Munson

 

Black coffee, tar

Big Georgia house, full

Alone moments, stolen

–    –   –   –   –   –   –  –

She stands in front of her mirror self,

Concerned with the future,

Dreams carved out of the wood banisters,

Keepsakes gathered from a forgotten barn—

Life on hold,

Furniture mimicking life,

What does it take for you to get up and leave?

Now she’s established,

Established Abigail

Together, but not too together,

Loves education,

And believes you should never give up,

This you already know,

Maybe you don’t care,

Why do we always make a habit of simplifying people,

You are your favorite color,

You are the school you go to,

You are nothing else,

This isn’t true, but nobody seems concerned with true truths,

We want people to fit into containers,

Always unpacking, not repacking

Do you leave destruction in your wake or do you pick up after yourself?

Many don’t realize that we are just as much the questions we ask as we are the answers.

Name.

Abigail.

Age.

17.

Grade.

12th.

Siblings.

Four sisters, one brother.

Order.

Daren, Isabel, Abigail, Madeline, Lydia.

I will say this once more so you hear:

This is not who you are.

Who are you?

[Joker’s Mask]

by Madison Hart

About Christian Wilson

Playfulness dancing in his eyes

Round every corner a new surprise

Always making others laugh

Never letting a good joke pass

Vulnerable when the ice is cracked

His pages fold

The cover slacks

Hid behind a joker’s mask

Lies a deep intellectual

Contemplating his past

This is a boy

Striving to a man

Forever playful

Life’s story in his hands

[The Big Scene]

by Adam Dorsheimer

About Katy Mc Donald

My palms are sweating and I’m not sure why. Nothing’s changed. I have no reason to be this nervous. Wait what’s that? There’s no screen door here… is that a baby? Who the hell brings a baby to an audition? Oh, it’s just that guy. Did he make that noise? Talk about method acting…

Only three people sit in the waiting area (not including Linda, a pretty, young receptionist). You should all be quite familiar with our heroine, Katy McDonald, who is unnecessarily anxious about a role that she has locked in. You have also met Trent Gladkowski, whose claim to fame is imitating any sound or voice he hears. A formidable opponent, no doubt, but nothing compared to the third person in the waiting room: Jenny Courtenay. She’s blonde, she’s gorgeous, she was born with absolute pitch. Scariest of all,
however, was her “perfect record.” No botched auditions, no bad shows. Not a single mark against her. Katy is, unfortunately, unaware of the stiff competition she must face. Moving right along…

Great, now this girl’s giving me a look. I don’t need this today, I get enough of this at school. She would be a great Wendy though, not gonna lie. Better than this other guy… wait, why is he auditioning for Wendy? There are loads of male roles in Peter Pan. I’ve just gotta pretend like I’m looking over my lines… where’s my script? Wait, it’s at home. What am I doing? I’ve already got it memorized. But she doesn’t know I have it memorized. But she doesn’t need to know that I have it memorized. What’s with that giggle? Don’t roll your eyes at me…

 Our heroine’s name is called some time later, after Gladkowski and Courtenay are called. She sighs and enters the theater proper, soon realizing that this is the largest venue she has ever been to perform in. She knows that she needs to sing her song well if she wants
to impress the judges, but she doesn’t know that she needs to be flawless. Luckily, one particularly jaded judge, Stephen, takes a liking to her. He wasn’t swayed by any of the previous auditions like the previous judges, who are, as is usually the case, complete idiots. Even Courtenay, with her stunning appearance and remarkable skill, was unable to command his attention. Stephen is an intense man with an eye for talent who feels as though the youth of today can’t match his passion for the theater. With sky-high standards and an immediate bias imposed against her, Katy faces a challenge unlike any other. But from the moment she takes the stage, Stephen is captivated. Her presence is powerful and the room is silent. So she sings…