The Eatwell Farm

by Josie (’16)

I have worked for a farm called Eatwell Farm at the Ferry Building farmers market, held on Saturdays, for a year now. Eatwell Farm is a small, organic farm located in Dixon, California that produces a variety of products from body scrubs to eggs.

I got the job at the farmers market not only because my family has been friends with the farmer for a long time, but also because my brother and sister worked at the stand when they were in high school. Now that they have moved on to college, I get to fill in for them. I love working at the farmers market and I love Eatwell Farm.

Recently, the farmer, Nigel Walker, had expressed an interest in having a farm rap. So, over winter break, my siblings and I created the Eatwell Farm rap and gave it to Nigel as a Christmas Present. We are very proud of our creation:

Eatwell Farm…it’s all I think about
Let me tell you bout a place called Eatwell Farm
It’s certified organic so don’t be alarmed
And it’s run by a homie named Nigel Walker
He’s an awesome dude but a Facebook stalker
Always tryna set people up with a love that’s true
but that’s okay cause Eatwell Farm’s a great place to meet yo boo
we got cows and chickens 
and food that’s finger lickin’
and a horse and a pond 
and a real deep bond
with the bay area homies that invest in our CSA
that’s who the farm be workin for every single day
growin kholrabi and tomatoes
lavender and potatoes 
without harm in’ the Earth
We’re Eatwell farm dawg
and Dixon, California is our turf
EATWELL FARM that’s all i think about…
Jason’s growin out his hair soon it’s gonna be a mullet
homie don’t complain if we only got pullets
cause our eggs are the best, everybody knows it
the chickens live like kings
and that orange yolk shows it
and don’t get me started with those strawberries man
they the real bomb-diggity 
UNDERSTAND
When yo chillin on the farm there ain’t no better offer
then kickin back in the sun with a Drinkwell softer
but watch yo back dawg
don’t make a mistake
if you ain’t careful the Walker twins gonna throw you in the lake
So dawg you might be askin,
Homie what’s a CSA?
well it’s community supported agriculture baby
and it’s A-OKAY
Dawg you must be cray-cray not to be in our CSA

What Do You Guys Even Do In Creative Writing?

by Olivia W. (’16)

This is a question I get asked a lot. Nobody ever asks, “What do you even do in band?” because that’s quite obvious, as well as “What do you even do in Visual?” or better yet, “What do you even do in Vocal?”

Nobody asks “what do you guys even do in Media?” or “What do you guys even do in Tech?” (Which I personally think are the most obscurely named departments.)

At SOTA, our departments are named for what they focus on. Band will play their instruments and Visual will conduct visual art and Vocal will be vocal and so on and so forth. Creative Writing is no exception to this rule of thumb.

Or maybe we are.

When I am asked this question or someone just wonders it out loud with no direct reference to me, someone in the vicinity will usually answer “I dunno, they just like, write all day.”

This wonderful misinformation has cleared the road for all of our highly amusing Creative Writing stereotypes. We drink tea all the time, read and write at every chance we get, are sadly underdeveloped and love poetry.

We do have a hot water boiler in class to make tea, I know for a fact that I write poems in math textbooks, and we did conduct poetry circles for a couple of weeks in CW1.

The stereotypes of Creative Writing aren’t a far throw from the truth. They are merely grossly bloated overblown romantic renditions of it.

What do we do in creative writing? Sometimes, we have deep, philosophical discussions. Sometimes we eat cupcakes. Sometimes we watch clips from awfully camp movies. Sometimes I have no idea what is happening.

Creative Writing changes day by day. I can tell you that we have a fall fiction unit, and then comes poetry, and we finish off with playwriting. I can tell you that we have Portfolio checks and Lit Reviews and three shows a year. I can tell you that Heather is our head and everyone loves Isaiah even though my freshman class has no clue who he is. I can tell you that on Friday we went to a Zen monastery and we won field day and that I know the names of everyone in my department and their grade but I cannot tell you what we do. It’s not because it’s a secret, it’s because so many things go on in my department I wouldn’t be able to give you the faintest clue in a novel.

Asking what we do in Creative Writing is like asking a mole what the ground tastes like. If you really wanted to know what the ground tasted like, you should take a bite yourself. Moles don’t eat dirt. They just swim in it.

Zest Books

by Noa (’16)

Zest BooksA few months ago, Colin and I began an internship at Zest Books. Zest is a company that publishes non-fiction books geared toward teen audiences, on subjects ranging from how to make clothes out of old jeans to the memoir of a teenage girl diagnosed with leukemia. It’s an awesome company that accepts teen advisors (such as myself) to come in and work with a very nice and fashionable lady named Anne and read manuscripts that Zest is considering publishing, in order for them to get a teen’s perspective. We all sit around a table and drink tea and eat cookies and talk about what we think of people’s writing, which, at least to me, is a pretty ideal way to spend one’s time. The great thing is that we are actually allowed to say our honest opinions about the manuscripts, like “this cover is so weird why would this exist,” or “I really love the idea of this book, but the graphics are off-putting,” and it seems like they generally appreciate and value our advice. As a young person dipping my toes into the (very, very intimidating) writing industry, I can honestly say that the fact that the company and the adult-people running it are so lovely and interesting makes me want to be part of the publishing industry so much more.

It’s too late to watch the sunset

IT’S TOO LATE TO WATCH THE SUNSET
It’s 7 pm on a Sunday, one of those
hey-let’s-be-alone-days, not
particularly out of choice, but I like it anyway,
because I can do what I want, listen to what I want,
eat what I want, act as I will.
I’m hungry, going out for a bite to eat
on Taraval Street, the winter day outside
is dark except for a few lights
Breaking on the horizon.
I walk out and head down the street,
I have nowhere to be and nobody to see,
Nothing to do but travel.
I have nobody to be, out here
On these streets, the Avenues ticking by,
23rd, 24th, 25th, tick tick tick.
These streets looks like a modern Old West, tired
The tumbleweed and the gun slingers replaced by
Cars and old buses,
the heads that droop to the ground.
Like everything in San Francisco, Taraval operates on
hills
Something almost unnoticeable to the walking feet of
Daily lives, going from
House-to-grocery-store-to-Laundromat-to-dinner-out.
The L-Train passes by, grating roar on the tracks
26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, nothing
But bars and dry cleaners.
In mystomach and my chest
Is the Desert.
I want something to fill me up.
The 30’s pass quickly,
And there is nothing outside
Or inside the Desert.
41st, 42nd, 43rd Avenue,
The rise and fall, the barren stone buildings,
The lights are all out
44th, tick, the sun is disappearing into Ocean Beach.
I can still see the faintness of light
As I pass the dim street lamps
The 7/11 and the parking lot villages.
I crash into the ground, my feet
kicking up the light sand rocks.
On the beach,
There is no sun, setting or naked,
And around me I can see nothing but
The Ocean swaying gently
Blackness without light.
I take off my shoes and walk into the water,
cold and moving, the wet sand is
harsh on the skin of my feet, the salt water
crashes on my legs, eroding the
cracking pillars.
Out in the distance, the sun has fallen off the face of the
World,
Disappeared. Now lost. Now gone. And the

water stretching out along the coast
Into the fleeting West.
I try to find my shoes, but I find nothing
except debris turned into sand.
The stars appear,
And, I,
I remember a diner I had been to a long while ago, a
diner by the Ocean, and I remember wanting to visit it
again
with my feet bare and sandy and wet,
I see the night along Taraval, the burnt out bulbs
shedding rings of light,
I listen to the Great Highway’s Silence, the cars
rumbling along every two minutes or so,
I stare as two people pass with their dogs, making sure
not to tread on the sandy road,
I look South and see a port stretching out into the
Ocean, burning with lights, orange and red and white,
trying to extend out into the great black panes of waters
I watch as the stars appear, and the star appear, and the
stars appear, until they dot the sky to the horizon,
twinkle and remain, reflected in the Ocean as pale dots
of light.
And I sit on an empty L-Train, taking me back
up the avenues, staring out the window because I don’t
want to sit alone.
–Colin Yap

class of 2016

from “The Divine Feminine

Help I Have No Writer Juice

by Noa (’16)

If you’re anything like me, you may come across a point in your life when you find yourself staring at a blank document or notebook page or Textedit (your free Word trial ran out), with an assignment due tomorrow and absolutely no idea what to write about.

We should all just move to Canada.

“…you should probably quit and just move to Canada…”

You probably feel a bit drained, as if your supply of writer juice has magically evaporated into thin air and all that is left is a crumpled little shell of a person, banging your head against your desk in frustration and hating your brain and hating everything, especially other writers who probably have loads of writer juice stocked in the shelves of their brain while you don’t and it’s unfair and life is unfair and you should probably quit and just move to Canada because it’s only going to go downhill from here. Unfortunately, science has not yet discovered a cure for such thoughts, although there are a few websites that I have stumbled across on the internet (while procrastinating from said writing assignments), that I’ve found very useful:  

http://oneword.com/ gives you a one-word writing prompt and sixty seconds to type down any ideas that pop into your brain. It’s awesome because it’s much less intimidating than staring at a blank document— you don’t have to worry about if what you’re writing is good or bad (you only have a minute, after all.) Also, once you’re done writing, your work can be published (don’t worry, you can do it anonymously, or you can use your real name) and you get to look at what other people have written too. There are all types of people on the site, some experienced and others not so much, and their writing alone may be enough to spark a little bit of inspiration.

http://thestorystarter.com/ generates a random sentence for you to start your story with, and it’s (probably) not cheating because the sentence is generated randomly, so technically (maybe) it’s not plagiarism. Okay, I wouldn’t recommend copying the sentence word for word, but it’s definitely a great source for inspiration, and a lot of the sentences are weird enough to come up with some awesome plot ideas.

And remember, “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life… Besides, perfectionism will ruin your writing, blocking inventiveness and playfulness and life force (these are words we are allowed to use in California).”- Anne Lamott

“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something—anything—down on paper. A friend of mine says that the first draft is the down draft—you just get it down. The second draft is the up draft—you fix it up.”- Anne Lamott

Every writer's worst nightmare

Shadows Are Awesome

by Noa (’16)

We’re only scaring on alternating Tuesdays.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: When I was in eighth grade, I was actually kind of terrified of shadowing. Not just because I was already terrified of all things involving high school (I didn’t even want to THINK about my portfolio until I absolutely had to), but also because everybody seemed so much taller and older and scarier than I was used to. Also, I had a sort of justified fear of getting completely ditched by whomever I was assigned to follow around, as I had been the first (and only) time I shadowed a high school. Obviously, this unnamed high school (*cough—Brandice—cough*) did not have as awesome shadow buddies as Creative Writing shadows have! Not only, as I have experienced, do the shadow-ers of Creative Writing seem genuinely awesome and well-read and writer-y, but the Freshman, as well, are really glad to have them. I mean, after having experienced the shock of being yanked from the eighth-grade throne of middle-school reign, it feels really good for our egos and our hearts to finally have something to show and teach a younger person, versus being the very small Freshman who has to ask about how to get to second period. Also, we have a panini press, which all the shadows seem to have loved. So, any eight grader who may have stumbled upon this blog, come shadow Creative Writing! We’re not scary, I promise!

Submissions

Submission Anxiety. We all get it. We all deal with it. We all sit back in out chairs, look at the ceiling, take a breather, breathe in, breathe out, then start searching through the giant list of places to submit. We pick a few that seem promising–like they would be a good home for our writing, and click that dreaded submit button. Will they like it? Will they accept it? Will their rejection letter be as long-winded and purposefully inoffensive as the others? Then, we wait a few weeks or a few months, getting excited when we notice we have mail in our inbox before we realize that, no, it was just someone spamming everybody pictures of cats. Hurray.

There’s no cure, unfortunately. But there are ways to make it easier.

Check out the Yahoo! group CRWROPPS-B · Creative Writers Opportunities List

and the website NewPages

for opportunities for submissions.

I promise. It will get better.