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The first thing I did after Who Killed Heather Woodward?, our latest CW show? Rush home and write this blog post!! Why? Because THE SHOW WAS AWESOME YOU GUYS. Although I am definitely not at my most eloquent right now (5 hours of rehearsal + 2 hour show + end of a long week=very, very tired) I did not want to lose the hype that always follows the end of every CW show before I wrote this blog post. This hype-y (buzzy, fuzzy, happy, energized) feeling always comes from the immense relief that follows successfully pulling off a show (a feeling definitely shared by the ever tolerant and amazing Isaiah who, and I quote, gained “five new gray hairs” from rehearsal week). Although we may have all been playing 2048 (ugh THE FRUSTRATION OF THAT GAME) on our phones throughout the entire rehearsal week, we managed to pull it together at the last second and have an awesome show! Also, a big shout out from myself to both Mr. Pochini, Heather, and Heather’s favorite chicken, who’s amazing acting made the show. Also, below is a picture of Colin smiling despite the pain of being so terrible at 2048.

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I have always been a climber. My family has a video of me climbing a tree in someone’s backyard when I was maybe six. I would climb up, then get scared and make my mom help me down. But within minutes, I would be in the tree again, entranced by the smell of damp leaves and the shadows of branches on my skin as I lifted my hands and feet up the scratchy bark. And, of course, I loved to climb because I was good at it – which makes any activity enjoyable at a young age.

The first time I rock climbed indoors was at a friend’s birthday party in first grade at Mission Cliffs. I loved it immediately. I started going all the time – with my brother, my dad, and friends, if we could get them to come. I learned to belay, I got my own harness, and I scrambled up the wall for hours. As I got older, I started to climb more, and went with my friend and her dad regularly. But around eighth grade, when I was completing my portfolio for Creative Writing, I stopped going. At first, it was because I was busy, but even after that, I didn’t go. It all comes back to enjoying things you’re good at. I was out of practice, so I wasn’t good anymore, and every time I tried it, I just got discouraged.

Recently, I decided to try climbing again. I had nothing to do one day, but wanted to do something active. So, I asked my dad to take my climbing with him. He, all this time, has kept up climbing, and become very good and passionate about it, so he gladly eased me back into it, re-teaching me how to tie to ropes and the harness. And guess what? I sucked at it, but I had so much fun. I couldn’t stop! I told my dad I wanted to climb as much as I could, at least once a week. I knew I had to get better, but I also knew I would.

I think part of getting older is realizing that even if I’m not great at something at the outset, that doesn’t mean I can’t get better. A lot of the fun of climbing is actually seeing myself improve. Climbing makes me feel good about myself not only because it’s physical exercise, but because it’s a reason to feel proud of myself.

The Ride of the Umlauteers

with apologies to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the 6:30pm ride of the umlauteers,
On the 18th of April (get it?), in 2014;
’Most every man can now be seen
Saving the date of that day and year.

 

And so should you! On April 18th at 826 Valencia, umläut will be celebrating the release of its latest issue, “Free Market.” Admission is $5 for all. The party is money-themed, so feel free to come dressed as your favorite…piece of money.

 

Once you’re in, you can help yourself from a groaning smorgasbord, listen to live music, absorb readings of pieces from the journal, and buy raffle tickets for our awesome prizes, which include baked goods and signed copies of Dave Eggers’ books. And, of course, for a mere $10, you can get your copy of “Free Market,” hot off the press!

 

For those who don’t know, umläut is SOTA’s student-run, award-winning literary journal. Anyone from the school can submit in any genre. News flash: this year we resuscitated the tradition of including interviews conducted by umläut staff members. Some of the people we talked to were Lorin Stein, editor of the Paris Review; Galina Lipkina, chemistry and math teacher at SOTA; Dr. Marta Kochanska, primary care doctor for people with HIV.

 

All party proceeds go directly back into the umläut kitty, so umläut can pay for itself. So remember: you’re funding both a fantastic journal and arts education for the youth of SF.

 

Can’t wait to see you all there!

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Senior Thesis Reading & Celebration at the Book Club of California, May 5, 2014 5-7pm
Every CW student in their senior year proposes and completes a self-directed manuscript of publishable quality that we call the senior thesis.
Seniors work with a writer in the community who serves as a mentor and advisor, and over the course of a year the students develop and refine their manuscript (typically a collection of poems or short fiction, novella, or play). This year, most of the students are also designing and producing chapbooks of their thesis work.
We’ll celebrate the completion of these ambitious and impressive theses at a reading event on Monday, May 5, at the Book Club of California. Each of the seniors will read excerpts from their work and have their chapbooks on display. Please join us as we celebrate the outstanding culminating work of our very strong senior class! And to read what some of the seniors have to say about the process of working on their own theses, visit our blog to read these interviews by Midori with AbigailMykelGiorgia, and Olivia.
 
 
 

Who Killed Heather Woodward?

An evening of poetry, prose and mystery, organized by the class of 2014
Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts

FRIDAY • APRIL 11 • 7:30 PM

Don’t have a clue who killed Heather Woodward? 

Find out at 7:30 pm on Friday, April 11, on the Asawa SOTA mainstage.

$5 Students & Seniors • $10 Adults

BUY TICKETS

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An evening of poetry and short fiction, organized by the class of 2014

SATURDAY • APRIL 12 • 7:30 PM

Muddy’s Coffee House

521 Valencia Street @ 24th

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March 24th is Flannery O’Connor’s 89th Birthday Eve. This is only the second time I will be celebrating her birthday, but I feel already as if it is tradition.

On March 25th I will go to Grace Cathedral and sit at the fifth pew on the right side. The church will be spacious and cold, and there will probably be a few loud little boys whining at their parents, as there was last time. The boys will be easy to ignore. I will stare for a while at the ornate ceiling and walls. Then I will take a Bible from the pew in front of me, flip to a random page, and read about Moses and Elijah. I will try not to feel out of place in the church, will try to fit in like one of the regulars whose heads hang low in prayer. Then I will try to pray. It won’t work out very well, because nobody has ever taught me how to pray. I’ll begin by addressing God, but won’t know what to say; I’ll say maybe “Hi,” and then feel stupid. At that point I will give up, and instead just think about Flannery’s life and stories and hope that next time I will be better at this praying thing.

I’ll put the Bible away and stand up. It will be getting dark at this point, and I’ll go to a corner store and buy a Coca-Cola, the bottled kind from Mexico. Then I will go to a nearby grungy café and spike the Coca-Cola with coffee. This, apparently, was one of Flannery’s favorite drinks, and I’ll never understand the appeal. Yet even though the carbonation/coffee combination is pretty vile, I’ll still feel somehow satisfied with it; I’ll still feel like I’m somehow honoring her memory.

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The other day in Economics I discovered that I like math again, though I’m not taking a math class this year. I’ve started writing in a graph paper notebook, and I’ve figured out a lot of things like this:

1 foot = 0.001515152 furlong.

“I put my best 0.001515152 furlong forward”

“She was swept off her 0.003030303 furlongs”

I also like making graphs about the things I write. You can describe a lot of trivial and non-trivial things about stories using graphs, like “Number of Stupid Puns Over Time” or “Character’s Mood vs. the Extremity of Her Actions.” You can also analyze data about your own life with graphs like “Number of Chai Lattes Consumed per Day vs. Measure of Caffeine-Induced Feeling of Existential Dread.” Writing on graph paper has changed the way I express my ideas. I feel liberated, especially because I like to think that I’m conducting experiments or researching. I think I would feel even smarter if I started wearing my Halloween costume lab coat to school.

 

As it turns out, an “essay” is a word for the breast of a deer. It also means “a first attempt.” What us freshmen have been doing the past four Mondays is exactly that: taking a first attempt at reading the essay, “Self Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson in a close, analytical manner. What this mostly involves is pouring through dictionaries and staring at Nick Hoff (our teacher and Maia’s partner) with incredulous expressions. Though our minds manage to sometimes wander (see: Isaac’s special relationship with Tom, the collapsible mug rack), we’re actually making steady progress. Let’s see… In in eight hours total of class-time, we’ve read three paragraphs. Fairly impressive, considering we only read the title in the first two of those hours. Nick explained to us that even though this is arduous work, we are actually having a conversation with a piece of work that was written nearly two hundred years ago. Which I think is pretty damn cool.
 
This also means we get to spend time in our new meeting spot: the halfway book room at the end of the second floor hallway. Let me tell you; this room is the shizz. There’s a couch with gum on it, a microwave that badly needs to be cleaned, unexplainable candles shaped like owls and skulls, and various other fascinating knickknacks (including Isaac’s friend, Tom.) Actually never mind, Isaac just whispered to me, “Tom is NOT a knickknack.”

I repeat: Tom the mug rack is not a knickknack.   

In CWI, we recently read, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” a short story by Joyce Carol Oates. It’s an excellent story, full of witty name puns (Arnold Friend = an old friend), questions about our ability to make choices, and a character representing Satan (if he was a smooth, greasy-haired human, instead of a red, horned, demon-guy). Furthermore, it’s dedicated to Bob Dylan, because the girls that he writes about also end up where they are because of the choices they make.

What I kept thinking about as we discussed the story, though, was how prolific Joyce Carol Oates has been. In the anthology we’re reading from, it notes that she has already published 35 novels, 25 short story collections, and she might just keep going. Since her first book was published, a short story collection called By the North Gate, in 1963, she has not stopped writing, and she has not stopped having her books published.

What kills me about it though is that I will probably never be like Joyce Carol Oates. Maybe that’s what’s getting to me: I’m not Joyce Carol Oates. But I’m also never going to be Hemingway or Fitzgerald or Vonnegut, and I’m not writing about them right now. I think I’m very self-conscious of the fact that what I write is not always good, and that it might be a waste of time to the world to read it. Even now, as I write this blog post, I’m very conscious of someone who might read it and say, “Eh.” I don’t want to be a sad-sack, but I also don’t want to be the cause of waste of man-hours.

Still, I want to write. Not every hour of every day, and certainly not solely in my life. But if I can just keep living and writing things that interest me, and have the opportunity to interest other people, I’m going to try to do it. What I like about Oates, when I think about it, is that she stuck with it. I don’t know about her own insecurities of vanities, but she just keeps throwing manuscripts into the void, and I can get behind that. 

Recently, San Francisco has been graced by the sun’s presence. The temperature has been above sixty-eight degrees all week, and us pasty San Franciscans have been pulling on our shorts reserved for vacations to tropical places, and heading outside. Just in these past three days, my skin has gotten about three shades darker, and I’m loving it. The sun reminds me of summer, of a simpler time when you don’t have to worry about bringing multiple jackets to the beach. This weather has put me in the mood for lying in the grass, listening to my favorite music, which in turn has put me in the mood to write. Feeling free and relaxed helps my brain to function, and listening to my favorite songs inspires me. Music is how I combat any writers’ block because it gets me loose and thinking. So, if you’re like me, and feel like sitting in a cramped, quiet place is dull and uninspiring, try getting out into the world, and listen to some good music. Enjoy the nice weather, a trip to the beach, or a relaxed roll in the grass, and my favorite song for writing to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubLjcTF45t0. Also, here is a picture of Noa because her beauty is just so inspiring. Image