by Noa (’16)
Like all things, both good and bad, The Office– NBC’s hit mockumentary about office workers at the paper company, Dunder Mifflin, in Scranton, Pensylvania– is coming to an end. I, like many other TV watchers, am sad to see it go. Had you asked me a week ago if I would miss The Office, my answer would probably have been “Eh. Not really.” However, I have recently had a change of heart. After being stuck in bed all weekend with a fever and general fatigue, I resorted to re-watching all of the old Office episodes, because, frankly, I’ve probably seen about everything else on Netflix instant-streaming. At first, I was a bit hesitant. My first experience watching The Office was one of mild entertainment, but mostly indifference. But this second time around was eye-opening. I came to the realization that, although it seems to be simply about a paper company, The Office is so much more than that. It’s about the meaning of friendship, and teamwork, and the modern work industry, and how life in a small town in a small business is anything but small, and a hilarious beet farmer/black belt/ Assistant to the Regional Manager named Dwite. It’s about Phillis, and Bob Vance of Vance Refrigeration, and Stanley, and Meredith, and Angela, and Kelly, and Ryan, and Andy, and Michael, and Creed, and the adorable couple, Jim (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EnsjrDsVyI) and Pam, and so much more. Like all TV shows, The Office has had its ups and downs (season 8— really?), but I was once again reminded of its undeniable charm and wit and Pim’s (Jam’s?) adorable coupley-ness. I can now honestly say that I will miss The Office when it leaves the air, but Dunder Mifflin, thanks to Netflix, will forever remain in my heart.
by Frances (’14)
Sometimes it takes a while to figure things out. I learned this in my internship this year. Because of the self-governed, self-created nature of the Community Internship, I had chances in class to reflect on the direction I think we should take the project. However, I quickly realized that I do not have very much experience in outreach or volunteer-work, which were the two initial ideas from which we constructed the internship. In class, I could easily identify the problems we needed to fix—not enough diversity in Creative Writing being one of them—but I couldn’t think of any good way to stop it.
We spent most of our internship classes discussing the problems, as well as possible solutions, before we all agreed as a group that it was a problem too big for us to really tackle. Instead, through the conversations, we found a new window open to us, which still had to do with work in the community, and by extension, outreach; we decided we wanted to volunteer, write about, and learn about various people and organizations in our community.
I found this to be a positive experience. Although outreach did not succeed this year, Giorgia and I will renew our efforts next year, running a portfolio workshop at 826. Now I know the problems and obstacles in organization and leadership, and I feel prepared to tackle them.
by Abigail (’14)
On Friday the third, Umläut had a successful (and profitable) release party for the 2014 issue, dubbed Plastic Knives! We pity everyone who wasn’t there, and we’re sure those who came didn’t regret spending the night before Prom with us.
While the prime attraction was, obviously, this year’s Umläut— as professional and polished as ever, but with a new matte cover this time— there was also great music by Rin Tin Tiger and Mayya Feygina, food donated by Arizmendi and CW parents, and a raffle. It was probably one of the balmiest days we’ll see this year, but most people managed to stay inside long enough to listen to several of the published authors read their work.
We couldn’t have done it without 826 Valencia’s generosity in offering us the space for the night, free! Thanks to the parents who contributed to covering what 826 usually charges.
If you missed the party, we trust you won’t make the same mistake again next year, but you can get your new Umläut at SOTA at lunch (we’re selling outside of the CW room) or by emailing email@example.com. Soon it should be available to purchase online at http://sotashop.myshopify.com/products/umlautliterary-journal.
by Molly (’15)
I have a crush on Flannery O’Connor.
No, not that kind of crush. A literary crush. We all have one, right? That one particular author who makes us so excited we could kiss the book, or whose sentence structure makes us melt a little inside? Even though literary crushes are common, people seem to think my “thing” for Flannery takes it to the next level. Maybe it’s because I squeal whenever her name is said, or because my eyes go wide when the words “Southern” and “fiction” are used in the same sentence, or because I want to raise peacocks on a dairy farm in Georgia instead of going to college like I’m supposed to.
I don’t know what these feelings are, but they are very strong. This happens to me a lot, but I have never had such intense feelings for a person whom I’ve never even met, whom I have only grown to know through biographies and letters and stories, a person whom I know I’ll never meet due to my cruel placement in the twenty-first century.
The weirdest part is that I can’t even explain to myself why I like her so much. You’d think it would be her fiction, and I’m not denying that her fiction is spectacular (that is such an understatement), but there must be some greater pull. All I can do is guess, but I think my love for Flannery O’Connor stems from the fact that she has opened my mind so much that it hurts. She has introduced me to religion and its importance, removing me from the annoying close-minded atheist position I held previously. This isn’t to say I’m suddenly a militant Catholic, but I’m less sure of the world than I was before, which I find to be a positive change. What she’s done is forced me to think. Flannery, although so removed in time and space, has had a huge impact on my life.
Plus she’s really pretty.
Congratulations to Maya Litauer (’15) for her publication in the About Place Journal:
I am a soft body,
wrap me in your glowing shroud
and watch me sing.
Bathe me in your salty sweat
as we fade into the forest
Our edges are sunset,
out roots and our branches
connect what we see.
Lather me into
your dry cracks
and watch me come to life.
Close your eyes and graze
my tips with yours -
my bark is marked
We have eyes,
in our leaves,
we know what warmth is –
take some from my
roots and bury it in your
by Mykel (’14)
There’s a feeling I like to call “end of the year nihilism,” and it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. For someone as lazy and evasive as yours truly, heaps of final projects and tests often result in what the experts like to call a “fuck-it-all coma.”
I’m trying to avoid that scary place in my brain this year. And you know what’s really helping out with that right now? Our awesome artist in residence, Sarah Fontaine.
Oh yes, this is one of those posts.
Her combination of flexibility and structure, experimentation and “engagement with discipline” reminds me how meaningful school can be. I am personally having a great time with the genre-bending texts she has us reading, but our unit gives me more than texts to think about. It reminds me what a huge privilege it is to spend all my days learning. In other words, even if some of my experience with school is annoying and uncomfortable, it’s still not “a dog and pony show.” (Sarah Fontaine’s words.) It still has things to offer me.
Just because Creative Writing is in the middle of a really cool unit doesn’t mean that school is fun all of a sudden. But doing things like listening to an entire album without distractions, holding silent conversations, and reading confusing literature make me more willing to sit through things that may be boring or uncomfortable. And more than that, the kinds of homework we are being assigned remind me to be more open to what my “boring” experiences have to offer me.