Senioritis, by Josie Weidner

“Senioritis. Noun. a supposed affliction of students in their final year of high school or college, characterized by a decline in motivation or performance.”
–Google Definitions

Let me begin by saying I’ve been listening to a lot of Justin Bieber lately and I totally have senioritis. I’m not sure yet if the two are related.

I have approximately three months, nine days, fourteen hours until graduation, not that I’m counting or anything. But I’m really not. I’m reveling in this feeling of apathy. It’s liberating to realize that you basically have nothing to lose. A dangerous feeling, perhaps not what I should be feeling, but freeing nonetheless. Thus far, it has translated really nicely into generating new work, and taking risks with my writing. Come second semester, I’ve found that the emphasis of my personal writing practice is not centered around revision, or writing the best thing, or spending a ton of time on a piece, but trying things I’ve never done before. Being weird with my words. Mixing it up formally. Writing from perspectives I’ve never tried to write from before. Breaking out of this mold that I’ve been stuck in for the past three years has felt so good, and I think I’ve generated some of my favorite pieces during this time of extreme motivation decline. And all that time I spend skipping class and avoiding homework, well that’s just purposeful building of experience for my writing.

So, in a lot of ways I think listening to Justin Bieber and senioritis are correlated. Freshmen, sophomore, even junior year, I would have died if someone found out I occasionally dance around to “Baby”. Yet, this year, strolling into school after a restful sleep (because senioritis is really a stress free affliction), I love blasting “What Do You Mean” and even singing along as I past the nervous packs of underclassmen, just trying to figure out what it all means.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that everyone should adapt a little form of senioritis. So you can let go of your inhabitations, and realize that you really have nothing left to lose. You can be happy, and not care what other people think, and it may actually end up benefiting you.

I’ll end with the inspiring words of JBeibs himself: “Love Yourself” and “Never Say Never”

Josie Weidner, class of 2016

Meet Your Cowboy by Josie Weidner

I want to talk about a new ritual Creative Writing has adopted this week. At the beginning of class, we tear a little piece of paper from our notebooks and write our name on it (I prefer to use Josofinnne, Queen Josephine, Jojo) for Heather to collect. She then distributes our names to a different person in Creative Writing and gives us a prompt of something to write to them (Tell them a secret, What do you admire most about this person?) and then the paper is given back to its original name-bearer.

One of my personal favorites was the prompt “What do you wish for this person?” On my piece of paper was written, “I wish you finally meet your cowboy.”

As a senior, it’s getting increasingly harder to be present in school. With finals week fast approaching, and my own personal schedule growing more hectic, it’s even harder to be grounded and cognizant of other people, of my community. This little ritual, however, has helped me focus in Creative Writing, not to mention create personal connections with everyone in the department. It turned my day around when someone wished for me to meet a cowboy. I realized that, no matter how crazy things might get, I will always have the Creative Writing community, and I will always be valued for exactly who I am.

I highly suggest this ritual for all kinds of group settings. It not only feels good to receive your paper, but it also feels good writing them. I love having that personal connection with one other person in the department, even if it is just for five minutes before class.

I’ve been collecting my pieces of paper in an envelope, and when I’m feeling overwhelmed I read them. I’m looking forward to reading them for many years to come!

Josie Weidner, class of 2016

Deadlines… by Josie Weidner

You guys, let’s talk about deadlines. I’ve never been the type of person who meets every deadline—case in point, this blog post is a day late—but sometimes I just have more pressing matters, like watching the entire third season of Game of Thrones in one night, or staring at my ceiling as I think about the things I should be doing. I think everyone can relate to that feeling at the end of the day, when your back muscles ache from the weight of that fifteen-pound sack you’ve been slugging around, and its full of all of these papers just waiting to be studied but all you want to do is crawl into bed with a cup of tea and find out what perils the Stark family face next.

This feeling is called procrastination, and I’m kind of an expert. You’d think after four years of high school, I would have mastered the balance between finishing homework and still being able to enjoy life outside of school (aka, meeting deadlines). However, as senior year as progressed, I’ve only come to realize that enjoying life outside of school is so much more fun than…well, school. And college applications. And the SAT.  And thinking about next year. Because, lets be honest, not thinking about it is so much easier than thinking about it.

What is a deadline? It’s just a word, given the power to cause stress and anxiety, it makes people snap and succumb to pressure. Deadlines are a construct of society, completely pulled from thin air by the modern man.

It turns out though, being able to meet deadlines is a crucial element to being a writer.  And a member of civilization. Authors need to meet their publisher’s deadlines, and their own personal deadlines, or books would never be written. Deadlines are what make us productive, and they keep order in work and in life.

So I guess, I have to cooperate with deadlines. Maybe I’ll actually write a blog post on time. Maybe I’ll stop obsessing over how boss Khaleesi is with her dragons, and actually start doing work. Just one more episode…

Josie Weidner, class of 2016

Building Voice in Gnarly Ways by Josie Weidner

Let me preface this blog post by saying that I wish I were one of those people who could effortlessly slip words like “gnarly” or “that’s so dope” into my every day vocabulary. I have always observed that the people who looked happiest in life were those who thought of everything in terms of being “gnarly” and “dope”; Sean Penn in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”, laid-back rock climbers, chill surfers who hang out in the tropical waters of Fiji. Yet, those types of words sound so ungenuine coming from my mouth. As much as I wish I were a surfer in Fiji, I’m just a high school senior who uses the word “awesome” too much.

I didn’t start thinking about how important vocabulary is until this week, when I happened to flip through skating and surfing magazine Juice in a bookstore. They kept using words like “Outside” and “Barrel ride” and “Double axle curve, pineapple doing is best to remove all that sauce.” I had no idea what these words meant in the context of surfing, and they didn’t make sense in the context of my vocabulary. For some reason, I found these words to be so intriguing. This was true surfer speak.

Building vocabulary is a fundamental part of writing. Before, I always thought it was enough to replace words like ‘rural’ with ‘pastoral’ or ‘big’ with ‘enormous’. Now, I think about building vocabulary in terms of voice too. What I had read in Juice was a prime example of what a surfer might say. I realized that being able to use authentic vocabulary and voice like that expands the range of characters I can write about. There are so many different types of voice that conjure up specific characters like business jargon or teen lingo or mom voice. How these characters speak already says so much about who they are, just like the types of people who say “Gnarly”.

My ending point to all of this is that as writers, paying attention to how someone uses vocabulary in their voice creates more interesting, intense characters. Expanding what you read, listen to, and whom you talk with can build the voices from which you draw upon. Who knows, it may prove handy in life as well, when you’re surfing in the turquoise waters of Fiji and need to know that when someone shouts “Outside”, a new set of waves is approaching, and you better get paddling.

Josie Weidner, class of 2016


[DR]: 11/5

by Josie (’16)

Whelp, it was just an ordinary day in Creative Writing I. By ordinary, I mean abnormal by the denotations of ‘school’ but completely regular for Creative Writing. We spent the art block critiquing an assignment from last week. The assignment had to do with what we have been studying thus far in the poetry unit: Sound. We were all to edit a poem we wrote earlier by first recording our voices, then listening to ourselves read the poems and critiquing our own work.

I personally found this method to be very successful since I never listen to myself read a poem. I could tell instantly what needed to change solely based off the way lines and stanzas sounded. Today, we spent time reading the rewrites and thoroughly discussing each one. In fact, we so finely combed through each poem that in half an hour, we had only gotten through one poem! So, Colin, a diligent sophomore, was deemed with the title of “Time Manager.”

Being someone with a rather short attention span and exhaustion due to sleep deprivation, I could have been easily lulled to sleep. However, the level of discussion and the quality of the poems were so intellectually stimulating and extraordinary, there was not a second I did not feel like contributing my opinion or listening to what other students had to say. I found myself leaving school thinking about the sounds of words and the way poems sound. We came to a realization at the end of class: Poems about movement do not necessarily have to be about movement, but have to sound like the movement they are expressing. I thought that was pretty great.

Today we were also host to three kids shadowing the Creative Writing department. I wish I could have talked with them more, but I did manage to find out one girl was in the midst of publishing her very own novel in England! This is just an example of the unique and interesting people that come to Creative Writing.

On top of critiquing poetry, working hard, and meeting shadows, my friend Noa (16’) and I were also trying to come up with a name that was a mixture of our two names. Our purpose was to prove our level of friendship to the Emmas, freshmen in the department. I LOVE the Emmas, but Noa and I were upset that they shared a name and they were friends, so we decided it would only be fair to share a name as well. We finally settled on Nosie Wendoza. Below is a picture of the class, and gangster Noa.

Rehearsal Week!

Yes, that exclamation point in the title is totally warranted, even if the permalink doesn’t think so.

Voyager is off to a great start— we’ve got our whole cast and crew here: Heather, Tony, Rachel, Carol, Isaiah, Maia… Plus the brilliant tech crew we can’t do without (as Beyoncé once said, “Who run the world? [Tech]!”). For the first time since my four-year-memory (the average lifespan of a high schooler), we’ve got all our Skits-I-Mean-Interludes finalized and roughly staged in the first day of theater rehearsals. We’re also aiming high this year, in that every CDub will have their pieces memorized for the show. I expect to just cruise (badum–CHING!) along this week, until Friday, our big show.

In the mean time, here are some pictures to keep y’all entertained:

Melodica-Alien and Jules Justus-Alien Hula/Macarena (?) girls Audience

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 
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