Eighteen by Noa Mendoza

Things You Can Do When You Turn Eighteen:
1. vote
2. buy spray paint
3. buy a lottery ticket
4. buy things from TV infomercials
5. buy a lighter
6. buy cigarettes (and then promptly throw those away!)
7. buy your own plane ticket
8. rent a hotel room
9. get married
10. drink a beer in most countries outside of the U.S.
11. have a full time job
12. call all your underage friends “children”
13. convince your parents to buy you something big
14. get a state issued I.D.
15. get a tattoo
16. donate blood (whoop! whoop!)
17. change your name (I will henceforth be known as Queen Esmeralda Anastasia Rosebud)
18. get jury duty

Things You Cannot Do When You Turn Eighteen:
1. Say “but I’m an adult!” when you don’t want to do dishes
2. Say “but I’m an adult!” when you don’t want to go to Calculus
3. Say “but I’m an adult!” when you don’t want to write a blog post
4. Say “but I’m an adult!” when your work doesn’t get published

Noa Mendoza, class of 2016

Life is A Box of Chocolates by Noa Mendoza

In the famous words of Forrest Gump, “life is a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get…” And I got into college! So that’s crazy. I’m sure many of you are awaiting acceptance yourself—to SOTA or summer writing programs or publications. And what I, as someone who has gotten lucky enough to get a great piece of chocolate (like the gooey, caramel dark chocolate kind) have learned is, to be honest, waiting is the worst part. The build up,the anxiety, the sleepless night before is the worst- but once that acceptance (or maybe rejection) letter comes, you know that it’s what was meant to happen. It’s amazing to know the hard work you put in before hand (whether that’s taking the SAT or painstakingly making an umlaut zone) is validated. So to all you waiting acceptance out there—I’m sorry it’s so stressful but it will ultimately be worth it! Que sera sera and all that.

Noa Mendoza, class of 2016

Halloween by Noa Mendoza

On Friday night—the eve before All Hallow’s Eve, I did something I thought I would never do: I chaperoned a Halloween Dance. Well, chaperoned is a strong word—it was more along the lines of taking people’s coats and throwing them in bags for coat check and using the magical cotton candy machine to make people cotton candy. While I went into the dance with the entirely wrong attitude (“this is gonna be lame” I’d grumbled, sinking into my chair and pulling my hood over my eyes), I ended up discovering something entirely surprising–dances are kind of… fun.

Sure, they’re lame. Sure, it was just a bunch of Freshman gyrating to pop music,

but, halfway through a Pitbull song, I had some sort of epiphany: if I had to be there, I might as well enjoy myself. So, I threw some coats in the back and, along with Josie Weidner (’16), went and danced the night away. This, I realized, is something that applies to being a writer as well. There have always been prompts that I didn’t like, that felt completely ridiculous, or times when I thought I absolutely can’t write this play or poetry is so stupid, what’s the point—but, like chaperoning a Halloween Dance, sometimes it’s good to push yourself. To get out of your comfort zone and write that weird conceptual poem or do the cha cha slide. And it was if you just “go with the flow” (in the words of Josie Weidner ’16, someone I only kind of know), you might just **gasp** enjoy yourself.

Noa Mendoza, class of 2016

On Time by Noa Mendoza

This may be upsetting to some people, but Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is my least favorite Harry Potter movie. While the time turner business is certainly a compelling plot device—and the hippogriff, Buckbeak, is pretty cool—I can’t seem to find my interest held by going back and forward in time and watching the scene of Buckbeak’s death over and over again from different angles. Long before our class today with our current artist in residence, Margot Perin, I had this feeling that time, in any story, is certainly not something to be messed with.

   This is what we talked about in class today—how time is sped up in some stories and how it is slowed down in others. For example, in a horror story, time is usually slowed, to create tension—the writer might describe the moment footsteps are heard behind the main character, elongate the seconds they take to slowly open the door. In Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling elongates the moment Harry picks up his wand, the look on his face, the spells he casts when he battles Voldemort, and describes it in much more detail than when he’s simply walking to, say, the Leaky Cauldron.
   Ok, now that I’m done geeking out— we finished the day breaking up into groups and writing stories with our prompt being only the two words “gender neutral person” and “train.” I’m not going to say that my group’s story was the best, but we did include a beautiful Russian named Fattoush selling hot buns and an exorbitant amount of train puns.
   Also, this is a picture (courtesy of the coolest freshie cat, Solange) of CW enjoying cookies and is super relevant to this blog post.

[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

Every Writer

by Noa Mendoza (’16)

Picture 47

Three A.M:   
The microwave buzzes and Rory wipes a piece of lint off of his ironic Christmas sweater. He rests his head briefly against the crumbling cabinet wood, and then lifts his fist to punch the microwave door several times before it squeaks open with an exhausted groan. He stirs the steaming Raman noodles with a plastic spoon, pulling a tattered napkin out of his skinny jeans and tossing it to the floor. It’s Some Girl’s number from the party, probably the one with the ironically-not-a-sweater sweater that dipped to her belly button piercing.  The one who couldn’t spell “ironic” unless it was the name of another drink to shout toward the bartender.

“It’s i-tonic,” he mutters to himself, then rolls his eyes and places the noodles on the floor. He has not yet found the means to buy furniture, and refuses to ask his parents for money. He has not spoken to his family in seven months in an attempt to convince himself that he is very successful and independent and absolutely swamped with writing and inspirational, adventurous friends with intelligence and worldliness soaked in every sentence they speak.

“God, I should never try to pun. Why can’t I be goddamn witty? Is that really too much to ask for? Just give me something.” He grabs the noodles again, spilling a trail of salty water behind him as he kicks his shoes to the opposite corner of the tiny flat, then sinks into the lumpy mattress in the corner. He pulls his grandfather’s typewriter out of its case—an official, polished, dark green machine that looks most suited for an office building in the 1930’s, as opposed to a roach infested flat in Brooklyn.

The woman pursed her cherry lips. “This ain’t no business for a boy.” He grinned at her, his crooked smile

“God no. That’s terrible.” He groans angrily and pulls the paper out of the typewriter, tossing it into the middle of the flat.

“Okay, right, Rory, you have one job. You were published in the New Yorker once—you can do this. You have to. Right, write. Write, write, writer, write.” He takes a bite of the Raman noodles and then places a fresh piece of paper into the typewriter.

The first clack of the key sounds as the phone begins to ring. Rory glances up in relief, tripping over his tattered shoes in his haste to get to the landline.

“Mom,” he reaches toward the phone, and then thinks otherwise, snapping his hand back. He looks away as the shrill call of the telephone echoes through the flat, bouncing off of the old mattress, the rotting wood cabinet, the impatient silver of the typewriter’s keys.

“Loneliness is the key to creativity,” he murmurs uncertainty. “Maybe—no. I have to write. I’ve never had any choice. I have to be a writer.”

The last ring of the phone dies as he loops back toward the typewriter, sinking back into the mattress with a loud squeak. His fingers rest lightly on the keys, desperately attempting to create some sort of believable voice on the page. He glances up again, and is met by the stale silence of an empty apartment. He begins to type.

The Office

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.

Dance Class Distress

by Noa (’16)

I have always enjoyed to dance, but I have never been a good dancer. This combination is absolutely lethal, as demonstrated by my consistent Bs in my PE dance class, taught by the wonderfully intimidating head of the Dance Department, Elvia, and her sidekick (student teacher), Bruce. I know what you’re thinking—a B is not in any way a bad grade. And yes, I may be a bit of an overachiever. But I consider these Bs, taunting me with their nimble, curvy hips (these Bs would be able to dance the Salsa) to be a mark of failure in a class in which one is seemingly graded solely on their natural ability to move their feet in complicated patterns and not trip over themselves in the process. The Dancers, with their twirling, shiny hair and ability to pull off leggings and tiny tank tops, stand at the front of the class and perform every movement with an enviable languid, “god-this-is-so-easy” grace, while I (I can’t speak for anybody else, they all seem to be good at dancing and/or not stress about it as much as I do) make awkward, robot movements in the back row. That isn’t to say that I don’t try. I try really, really hard—I even do all of the sit ups that we always do before class, instead of lying there like a floppy starfish. But for some reason, my consistent efforts always seem to manifest themselves into a “you-will-never-be-good-enough-no-matter-how-hard-you-try-just-give-up-you-failure” B, which will forever haunt me much too deeply.

Pft, easy

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.