Prose

[Hollow Walls]

By Thalia Medrano

I think there’s someone in the walls. At first I considered the possibility that this was just an old house, and that the noises it made didn’t indicate anything remotely special. But the thing is, eventually I realized the house wasn’t actually making noise. Why I believed it was, I couldn’t tell you, I think my mind was scrambling for the best possible explanation for the sensation I was feeling, so it created whispers and creaks emanating from behind the plaster. But when you really pay attention, there’s nothing there at all.

Thalia wall photoOne could blame it all on paranoia, I suppose, and yes, I considered that possibility, too. How else would you explain this? I believe someone’s here with me, though I can’t see or hear them. But they’re tangible. You can feel the air moving around them. At one point I even considered it might be a ghost.

I gouged a hole in the kitchen wall with a crowbar when I was finally too curious to put up with it anymore. And what did I find but a very angry and malnourished raccoon, who had nested behind the cabinets. Upon calling animal control, I decided that was that.

But the feeling persisted. I punched holes in every room of the house, hiding them all behind posters after the fact in case anyone ever cared to visit. Wouldn’t want to worry them.

I ended up sitting inside the walls quite a lot after a while. By that point I’d given up looking for anything in particular, but the walls were cool and pleasantly dim and it was nice to know that there was a place no one else could find.

And of course I absolutely jinxed it by thinking that. On an afternoon on a Saturday I sat inside the wall for a while and eventually looked up to notice a girl, who, I should add, I had never met before, sitting next to me with a book in hand and a can of soda. Not a ghost, mind you, a real, physical girl, who apparently just enjoyed spending her time reading inside the walls of my house.

[Insert Fire Emoji Here]

By Lucy Earl

Okay, there’s this room at Lighthouse that used to be covered with gold, so that when the light hit it, it would light up. So I was thinking, there’s this thing called Lit Fest, I’ll put a picture of the flyer here:

[Insert Picture Here]

And I was thinking that for a workshop at Lit Fest we could have a gathering of people that we put in that room and made them all as small as ants. Little, if you will. And all these people could read, they’d be literate. But even though they’d be small, they’d litter. A lot. And since they’d be the size of ants, you could say they would be litterbugs. They’d litter so much that they’d even litter books, or litter literature. In fact, they’d litter so many books that we’d have to give them bags to litter their books in, or literature litter bags.
And then, they’d have so many bags that they’d have to pile them all together and use 1,000 cubic centimeters of  lighter fluid to _Lit photo Lucyactually set them on fire. Or a liter of lighter literally lit literature litter bags. Now in order to extinguish the fire, they’d have to use some kind of absorbent, granular material or cat litter.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve noticed what I’m doing here, so I’ll write out the sentence we’ve created. The Lit up room had little literate litterbugs that litter literature into litter bags and used a liter of lighter that literally lit literature litter bags that was put out by cat litter during Lit Fest. Now I’m sure you are admiring that lovely alliteration but we’re not done yet. All of the important words in this sentence can be abbreviated by the letters l-i-t…Oh yes, this is where we are heading with this. So, if we take out the useless words like “that” or “during” but keep “Fest” and we abbreviate all the other words with l-i-t, we would have the following sentence: Lit lit lit lit lit lit lit lit lit lit lit lit lit lit Lit Fest…

Hi. You’re welcome. Feel free to say that that sentence was lit. After all it was literature (as in something published on a particular subject, like “lit”) and I’m sure some people would like to print this out and light it on fire, so it’d be lit. 🔥

[She Sat by the Window]

By Aiyana Spear

Ghostly fingers stroked the keys and beautiful music resulted.

It was a party, and some say that you hear the most lovely music in the world at parties.


No one seemed to notice that it didn’t appear that anyone was playing the instrument; it is more important for the music to be heard than it
is for the musician to be seen after all.

Sonatas and concertos filled the room, shoes clicking in time with the rhythm, dresses of every color only enhancing the magnificent gold decorations.

______

“Thump.  Thump.  Thump.”  …..     hide     hide    hide

______


Whispers, fabric rustling, heels clicking, music silenced

______

Silence, eyes following movement, muffled breathing

______

“Thump.  Thump.  Thump.” …..     come out      come out     dance    dance

_____


Colorful dresses, a sonata continued, heels tapping the rhythm

_____

Maybe it wasn’t a party now, the
music not as lovely as before, the dancing not as lively.

Apprehension now lived on their faces, not fear-yet, but nerves.
What if she comes back?

She sat by the window aiyana

[Dear Story Number 559,]

By Madison Hart

Image of the number 559I regret to inform you…no…that sounds too business like, doesn’t it? Okay, well, Story 559, the truth is, I just don’t have time for you right now. I don’t have time or energy to deal with your indecisiveness, I mean for heaven’s sake pick a plot and go with it already! And, besides, your characters keep yelling at me. Come on! This is just getting ridiculous. You are too unpredictable and disloyal. Yeah, that’s right, I saw you looking at damsel number 207 the other day. Um, not ok, keep your eyes on me, not the words next to you. So, if you haven’t figured it out already, I’m breaking up with you. You see this cursor right here…ya that one. It’s going to drag your pitifullness into the trash folder. Uh huh! I said it. You are going in the trash. And when I have time to address all your little plot holes and put all your characters into time out for five minutes, I will. Wel,l maybe. It all depends on whether I fall in love with story idea number 480 before then. Ok, yes, I’ve been eyeing that rugged archer for months, but what do you care, you have damsels 207-220 eyeballing you all the time and vice versa. So, goodbye, adios, au revoir, sayonara! I will see you when I see you. Have a nice life in the writer dump pile. Maybe you’ll run into the rugged archer’s younger sister while you’re there cause I threw her out too! You deserve each other!

[Love-Breakup: To my Imagination]

By Katy McDonald

To my imagination,

Although the times have not alway been easy for us, I can say with every part of me: without you I would be nothing. You coax the words from my mind to flow from my fingertips onto my computer screen. I will never forget the long, late nights you have kept me company, fighting way my fears and worries because, with you at my side, nothing can touch me. You make the world something new and beautiful. The bare walls of my mind are suddenly filled with life and power. I know that you will not always be with me but that does not mean that you will ever leave me for good. You know when to come home and when to stay away, most of the time. But even when you come to me unbidden I know it is for the best. The history homework can be pushed aside as you take me down another winding road. You have made my life an adventure. You take me to neverland, down the rabbit hole, through the looking glass, to Oz and so many other places. Most of our places will be just that, ours forever hidden from the world, but not all of them and that’s what I really love you for. Not only do you make the world a better place for me but also for those around me. You make the light shine on the dark. You give me hope. Without you, I would be truly lost and that is how I know you aren’t really far away. You stay close enough to keep me safe on the nights when there is no one else. I love you with all my heart. Without you, I am only a fraction of myself.  

Yours forever,
Katy

 

To my imagination,

I know that times haven’t always been that easy for us, so I think it is time for me to finally say: without you I would be so much better. You stop my fingers from writing with paralyzing fears of imagining someone one day reading the atrocity I have had the gall to write down. It would be hard to forget the images you conjure of giant spiders and the world being torn apart by any number of disasters. You make the world seem frightening and empty. The empty chambers of my mind are ripped open with death and decay. We both know that you will not be with me forever and that there are times when you leave and it is better for everyone. You go and come back at the most inopportune times. You will distract me from important work pertaining to school when I simply do not have time for you. I’m sorry, I know that this seems harsh, but I think it’s for the best that I finally say this. You will pull me away and into Hades, the dragon’s lair and any number of torture chambers. The worst part is that this doesn’t always affect me, but those around me because some of the places we go can stay between us, but some of them leak out into the world. You scare me, and that’s how I know you are never really gone: my fear is always with me. You will come upon me in the dead of night like some kind of ghoush. Please, I think it would be best for you to leave and return me to myself.

I’m sorry,
Katy

[Black Moon]

by Madison Hart

I once said I swallowed the sun. But as I sit on my porch I can clearly see it stands in the sky. However, at that time, I wouldn’t have bothered with reality and the fact that I really hadn’t swallowed the sun. Although I knew it in my brain, my heart was filled with its warm rays. You may notice I’m using past tense. You see, since that little girl was running around barefoot in her front yard, she grew up. Growing up is a terrible thing. Everyone argues it’s not. Just take a glance at me and observe my pale cheeks and lifeless eyes and you’ll start to understand. Who I once was, who I long to still be, has been robbed. My story thus ends in woe, but take note of this: Seal the cracks where lies can leak in, or before you know it, your whole life with be flooded. I once said I swallowed the sun. Now the moon is dark.

[YAC Responds: Aiyana & Christian on What is the Purpose of Art in a Time of Crisis?]

[Aiyana Spear]

I believe that art doesn’t need a purpose. To do art, all you need is the drive to do it. But in times of crisis, art is one of the most valuable tools out there that can help people.

When I’m scared, I turn to stories. When I’m feeling hopeless, I turn to words. My sister turns to music, my friends turn to comics, movies, shows, watercolors, calligraphy, and (of course) books. In class when we are discussing tough topics, we always take breaks and do drawing competitions or lip sync battles.

img_5816Happiness, love, hope are the most important things that can help a person through a crisis. Art creates these emotions. Stories help to ground, help make sense of seemingly incomprehensible things. Music can bring peace and stability. Movies, shows, provide escape, painting is peace. All forms of art are works of love, and that love, that power, can help people get through crises, get through hell.

[Christian Wilson]

If you’re stranded in the middle of the forest with a Rembrandt, don’t be afraid to use that priceless son of a gun as kindling in a fire. One of the most common deaths when stranded in the wilderness is hypothermia, and if you can’t get a fire going, you will get sick and you will die. Remember, Van Gogh used to use burn his paintings for warmth and if an artistic master has no qualms about setting artistic masterpieces aflame, then you shouldn’t either. Even if the only reason you’re holding the authentic oil on canvas painting is so you can auction it off to a shady group of Russian oligarchs, remember that despite its acclaim, The Night Watch is not worth your life. Although, given the fact that that painting is twelve by eleven feet, you could probably also the canvas as a tent. While you lay awake at night, wondering if you will die in the untameable Scandinavian wilderness, you can also study the intentional strokes made by one of the greatest painters that ever lived. Art students across the globe have studied every tiny intricacy of the famous tarp that could shield you from the harsh elements. To me, that’s real prestige.

[YAC Responds: Ellen & Sierra on What is the Purpose of Art in the Time of Crisis?]

[Ellen Huggins]

Art is the byproduct of everything that occurs us, so the result of more happenings in our lives; more chaos, more anger, is more art trying to find the meaning of it.

[Sierra Karas]

art is everything

Life is far too monotonous. We drive the same way to work every day. We come home to the same house, the same life, the same bed. We are caught in our habits because they are easy and because they are comfortable. But art is not supposed to make you feel comfortable. It is supposed to invoke feelings you haven’t felt before, it is supposed to be a call to action, a call to something, even if that somethings is small and simple. Maybe the message is just to be kind. Maybe it’s to change the world. And maybe, those are the same things.

Art is there to wake you up, to jolt you and bring you back to life, it is there to scream and to shout, to direct your attention to what truly needs your attention. When we’re in crisis, chaos, or social disruption, we need this wake up call. We need a platform from which we can voice our opinions and get messages for change out there.

We need to unite, and what better way to unite then to see similar or dissimilar opinions plastered down the boulevards until your eyes and ears and hearts have nowhere to hide from the problems at hand. (more…)

[YAC Responds: Adam & Katy on What is the Purpose of Art in a Time of Crisis?]

[Adam Dorsheimer]

The fight for hope can be a painful one, especially when you’re fighting against large men armed with cleavers and your hope is a Picasso in the rain. This is not a metaphor, we were terrified.

[Katy McDonald]

My heart often hurts when I look at color. The brininess of the world can often be painful when you wish it to be dim.  The pulsating purity of the sky it what reminds us that we are in fact alive.

The walls and structures that we have build to hold on to what we believe in crumble and fade, by that bright sky reminds us that the rest of the world is still there. I think that’s how I find myself here time and time again.

Surrounded but by the remnants of torched souls. Without the bright colors of the outside world, the faded colors of the past comfort me. There was once a time when every creator looked upon the world with a heavy heart, of that I am sure. They look at the hand dealt them by fate and decide that it was enough.

Maybe the sat down maybe the thought, but they all created. No matter the poverty, corruption or despaired they thought they could may the hard world seem a little more beautiful.

I like to think that there are people who would look at the bright sky the told him to live and there began to compose. That is just simply a theory. (more…)

[End of the Year Road Trip]

by Katy McDonald

We were driving in the car, well I was driving, they were yelling at each they way they always do.  Screaming every brilliant topic into submission.  The back seat fell into a compatible quite.  Jamie and Sasha must have run out things to say, for the time being.  My shotgun rider, Margaret had miraculously drifted off half an hour ago.

The car passed a sigh, Marfa ½ mile.  Marfa that was a weird name for a town.  

My thoughts were echoed from the I assumed was asleep girl next to me.  “This seem a great place to spend the worst year in the history of… the history of what.”  She yawned.

“Time.”  Jamie.  “It was the worst year in the history of time!”

“Yeah.”  Sasha giggled.  “Twenty sixteen was one hundred percent the worst year of all time.”

I didn’t say anything.  Personally, I thought that was a hard statement to make, I mean we had only been around for twenty-two years out of history and we didn’t know about the years we had no written record of.  I had a feeling that some of the years from 1914-1945 were pretty rough.  But I was tired.

Marfa, Texas by Alejandro De La Cruz Follow, Creative Commons Copyright

Photo by by Alejandro De La Cruz Follow, Creative Commons Copyright

“Okay just hear me out,” Margaret said.  She must have seen the look on my face or something.  “So Britain left the EU!  Alan Rickman, David Bowel, Prince, and a bunch of other people who we all loved died.  Hurricane Matthew happened.  There was no snow like anywhere.  There were the attacks in France and Belgium.  Organ had an army control presence there for a bit.  There were wildfires everywhere, did I mention the snow! Oh, and America failed at the whole democratic thing we have pumpkin for president.”  (more…)