Where I Get My Inspiration, by Max Chu

There’s something about holding a cold glass bottle that makes me feel sophisticated. When you pinch it by the rim with two fingers, how the glass on my finger somehow feels exactly like when I first perfected me card shuffle bridge. Suddenly I’m on the deck of an ancient house in the middle of the midwest (middle of the middle of the west) at sunset. Some jazz record is playing on the record player back in the house, and I can faintly hear it. I got one arm back on the railing, and you’re not afraid of splinters because I;m too cool for that. I got a cool bottle of something delicious in my hand. Nothing can flip my groove. Now I’m not talking about any alcoholic beverage here, folks. I’m talking about the pure stuff. The ginger ale at BiRite that costs $1 for ginger ale and $4 for feeling cool while I hold it. I’m talking about the cream soda that goes down like a freshly laminated comic book. I’m talking about the Trader Joe’s 100% Pineapple Juice, the acquired taste of acquired tastes.

One year at summer camp there was a girl with sunglasses that had reflective lenses. They shielded her eyes from the sun while at the same time concealed her motives. They had pastel blue frames with nearly perfect reflective lenses. She looked mysterious as she protected her eyes from the harmful UV rays of the sun; the ultimate victory. At the time, my own glasses paled in comparison to hers (red wood frames with rainbow lenses) and so we traded. An hour later, I sat on mine. Four months later, she lost hers.

There’s a stall in a market in Bangkok that sells the most revolting shaved ice in the world. Shaved ice, for those who don’t know, is easier than scrambled eggs. Shave some ice into a bowl and throw some sickly sweet syrup on top and boom! Perfect shaved ice. The criteria for shaved ice is rather low, so a “perfect” shaved ice isn’t that difficult to come by. This place obviously didn’t get the memo, because their product tasted like greek yogurt, peach cough medicine, and a salty D- on a test you studied for. How they’re still in business is beyond quite frankly every living being above the mosquito. The locals obviously know to stay away, so they must have to apply even more goat intestinal fluid to attract the unsuspecting tourists with the colorful chemical green hue. Oh, “It’s a local delicacy” my ass! The omelette my sister forgot to eat but still put in the fridge five weeks ago has more culture and is more appealing.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that everything has a story, it just needs to be drawn out. And if drawing a story out means lying face first in a couch for twenty minutes to an hour listening to local news, then so be it (although my mom say the best way to draw something out is to soak it in hot salt water but I think she was talking about splinters).

Max Chu, class of 2020

Writing From Impulses by Solange Baker

Impulse writing is how I have written for most of my life. Up until freshman year I had not received many prompts. “Prompts” in Creative Writing are exactly as they sound; they are meant to elicit ideas and to get you started on your creative process. In Creative Writing one we are given a warm up every morning to help us organize our thoughts and to get ideas down onto paper. We recently had a guest speaker come in. He answered our questions on his book and on writing in general. One of the tips he gave that stood out to all of us was that he writes out of impulse. He finds the idea of not knowing how a sentence will end to be enticing, an opinion that I must agree on.

The following day the head of our department, Heather Woodward, immediately jumped onto this concept. This time we began class without a prompt. We wrote down the first thought that came to mind and did not stop writing until our ten minutes were up. Through sharing the newly produced paragraphs it quickly became evident that writing on impulse was generating some astounding imagery and ideas. While it is helpful to have a prompt given to you when you have hit a block in your writing, often your brain has the capability to spawn wild and alluring plot and character ideas on its own. It is an understatement to say that the imagination is the writer’s most used tool out of their arsenal. Although it may seem overwhelming, partnering the imagination with a little spontaneity can sometimes be the key to writing your next big piece.

Solange Baker, class of 2019

Why I Write by Amina Aineb

I write a lot about my dreams. Or at least I try to. How can you
describe the surreal beauty of dreams? It’s near impossible. I used to
keep a dream journal. All the sentences are incoherent, all the syntax
just doesn’t flow right. But I can see and feel the dreams perfectly
in my head.

They say you should write everyday instead of waiting for inspiration
to strike. The remarkable things in life happen everyday, meaning you
can remark on everything. There is no “writer’s block” and there will
never be a day when there is nothing else to write about, nothing new
to say. If you are a writer and feel that you can’t write anymore,
it’s because you don’t want to. That’s fine. Go for a walk instead.
Write later.

As hard as it is to write down your dreams, you can also lie about
them, because thank God no one saw them but you. In a dream you open a
cupboard and see an amorphous red shape. Change it to a small doll. Or
don’t.

Here is why I write. I want to do the world justice with the right
words. I want to show you how good it feels to wake up with the sun on
my face. You probably already know how that feels, but isn’t it
excellent we both experienced it? I want to soak all of this up and
then ring it out into a cup for you to drink, so you’ll be ready. I
want to make you cry until I start crying with you. I want to describe
my mother’s herb roasted chicken and mashed potatoes until you can
taste them in your mouth. I would make dinner for you, but I can’t.
I’m a lousy cook.

Amina Aineb, class of 2017

Stories Are Everywhere by Lena Hartsough

I see stories everywhere. In every face I examine, in every short phrase I overhear, and in every label or sign I read.

For instance, one day I was at my friend’s house with her and another friend. We were finishing her enormous carton of Odwalla®, and I noticed that on the back of the carton it said, “Separation is natural – shake it up!®” For some reason, I found this hilarious. I pointed it out to my friend, while our host sorted records on the floor, and she laughed too. We thought up scenarios for the phrase, including quite a few puberty classes. She thought that it would be the puberty teacher telling students that it’s natural for boys and girls to grow apart as they grow older, and I said it was a world where humans are born without a butt crack, and the separation spoken of is when the buttocks separate from one into two.

I think the reason we attributed the simple sentence to a puberty class was because it seemed a bit condescending. The exclamation point made it sound like an overexcited teacher when we read it out loud.

Although that situation was comedic, this penchant of mine for seeing stories has often helped me find inspiration for my writing. Many of my ideas for pieces to write come from songs or smaller stories that I find. In fact, as I write this post, I quickly type down another idea onto my list of story inspirations. It came from a song I just heard.

Lena Hartsough, class of 2019