Posts Tagged ‘Creative Writing Department’

Creative Writers Recite Thursday Night

May 26, 2011

Austin and his classmate, Austin, will recite tonight.

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Tonight three seniors from the Creative Writing Department will recite some of their favorite works from their time spent at Idyllwild Arts.

It’s the second night of a two-part series. Wednesday night featured works by Katie, Taylor and Madi. Tonight’s event featuring Amber, Austin and Austin will be held at 7:30 p.m. at Stephens Recital Hall.

Stephens is the place where great music happens. All of the junior and senior classical instrumental recitals were held there. And the classical and jazz voice majors sang there too. On Tuesday night, the place was packed and sweaty with jazz fans eager to hear the Final Jazz Concert. Even empty, the place resonates with sound.

Granted, it doesn’t sound like much excitement will be happening tonight at Stephens. Three seniors will come up to the mike at the podium and read. What could be more boring that that? Two guys and a girl reading passages from a book? No music, no dancers, not even video in the background.

But I can’t think of any place that I’d rather be tonight.

Writing is so powerful that you don’t need “all that jazz.” You can just read out loud and captivate your audience. Remember story time at preschool? And bedtime stories with your family? We’d all gather around my dad on the bed and have him read book after book until his eyes crossed.

“Read it again, Daddy!” my sister would exclaim.

Sometimes he would read the same book again, or pick another. The worst words were when he’d yawn loudly and say, “OK, that’s enough for tonight. Everyone get some sleep.”

I miss people reading to me so much that I’d even get “warm fuzzies” when my boyfriend would read the directions out loud on how to install a new appliance.

“Read it again, honey,” I’d say. “I didn’t hear the last part.”

Stephens is the place where jazz recitals are held.

So tonight, when Amber, Austin and Austin (what are the chances of that?) will read some poetry, plays and short stories excerpts, I want to be front row and center. Nothing is more exciting to hear a writer recite his own words that he started long ago on a blank page.

Most writers don’t have great voices. They can be kind of weasly and quiet. The pen takes over where they lack in sound. However, to their credit, Austin and Austin both have great voices. Perhaps it comes from all of that reading practice in class. One of the Austins was a lead in a student movie called, “Penelope,” that will be released next week. Maybe saying, “Oh, my love!” so many times helped his voice.

Boring setup, weasly voices aside, it’s the content that we die for. These writers will recite the best of what they’ve written while they’ve been here at Idyllwild Arts. Maybe some of their best works came during their freshman year, when they were younger and more naive. Perhaps years of living in the woods has opened up their eyes to the wonder of nature. Or years of co-ed living has given way to love and lust that can only be expressed on paper.

If you want to get a preview of some of tonight’s works, pick up a copy of “Parallax, the Spring 2011 Edition.” It’s available for free in the bookstore and in the Parks Exhibition Center. It’s less than 150 pages, but chock full of stories, poetry, plays, and peppered with photographs and illustrations from the Visual Art Department.

Some of the word choices and content will be shocking. Lesbian love, menstrual cycles and butt picking are a few that I came across.

Austin only laughed at me.

“We’re teenagers,” he said. “We’re supposed to shock.”

Scarlett, another writer, didn’t agree.

“What is so shocking about that?” she asked.

So tonight, you be the judge. Come early and sit on the folding chairs, amongst students and staff members that you haven’t met yet. But know that you are among friends who’ve all come together for one reason: To hear gifted young writers read to us.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. at Stephens Recital Hall. It’s free and open to the public. Stephens is located on campus at the end of Tollgate Road in Idyllwild. For more information, visit or call (951) 659-2171.

Photos courtesy of Idyllwild Arts Academy.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: May 26, 2011 @ 7:28

Creative Writers Recite

May 28, 2010

Ruby and Joey perform a love song from Sunny's musical

It’s always better to hear an author read. It’s an authentic voice. And a treat, if they ever become famous.

Many times, I’ve sat in bookstores, listening to authors read. I close my eyes and try to envision what they are saying. Most of the deliveries were presented in a monotone voice. There was no three-piece band, singers, or accompanists to “jazz” things up. But that was then, and this is now. Even readings on the high school level, there is more of a “show” with actors and musical instruments.

“Senior Readings” in the Creative Writing Department at Idyllwild Arts began on Wednesday night, May 26, but I missed it. Two seniors, Dustin and Khalid, read poems and excerpts from their short stories.

Khalid, who attended the second reading on Thursday night, said that people in the audience Wednesday night got pretty emotional when he read, “At the Diwan of Rumi in Afghanistan.”

“They started to cry, then I almost cried, but I couldn’t because I had to keep reading,” Khalid said.

His sponsor wants to help him publish his last piece, “In Search of My Youth During the War.” She is a screenwriter with connections in Hollywood, and is eager to get started, he said. But he wants to wait.

“Because my parents aren’t here, and it doesn’t seem right,” Khalid said.

On Thursday, May 27, three seniors were slated to read, including Jordan, Sunny and Emma. However, before they began, Kim Henderson, head of the Creative Writing Department gave a little preview. She said she had been working with these three students for three years now, and what they were about to read was some of their best work.

Emma read her poems, short stories and excerpt from her novel

Each of them were required to read for 15 minutes, but they decided to break it up and take turns reading two pieces each until everything was covered.

Jordan was up first and read two poems, “Where It’s Warm,” and “The Lookout at Airport Mesa.”

Next, Emma read “Resurrection,” a short story about two friends on an Indian reservation. They would often watch Peter’s uncle carve animals out of wood, or would run errands for him. One day, Peter’s uncle came up missing, but they found his wrecked car. After awhile, the two went to investigate to add closure to the uncle’s life.

Then Sunny read two poems, “Death of a Stranger,” and “Inflation,” with great descriptions, such as “Days hung like sugared frogs,” and “Five dollars for your soul.”

When Jordan read from his novel (the title he didn’t give out), he got some great laughs from the audience.

“This story is about a guy named Westin, who lives off of a trust fund in New York,” Jordan began. “But he’s not attracted to his wife anymore.”

He went on to describe how Westin ran around Central Park, using people as mile markers. And he had the paranoid idea that everyone was following him, so he ran.

Jordan read from his novel about a guy who believed pigeons were following him

“What’s more, the fucking pigeon was following him,” Jordan said. “It was if he was running from nature itself.”

The pigeon ended up attacking Westin in the leg, and a woman in an orange suit defended it. “They are gentle things you know,” she said.

For her next piece, “Something,” Sunny played the piano and sang, as her mother beamed and took pictures from the front row.

“I know how to write poetry,” Khalid said later. “But I sure as hell can’t write songs like that! Amazing!”

Sunny read three more poems, “Adoption,” “Origin of Snow,” and “Sonnet,” which was based on Sir Thomas Wyatt’s poem, “I Find No Peace, and All My War is Done.”

Then Emma read an excerpt from her novel about a married man attracted to a flower shop girl.

“Enough,” a haunting love song from Sunny’s “Fire and Brimstone” musical, was performed by Joey and Ruby, two musical theater majors. They sang without props right in front of the podium. Just goes to show you that you don’t need a lot when the content is good.

After Jordan recited his poem,” Melanesian Mythology,” he jumped right into an unusual good-bye.

“I’m leaving for NYU in the fall and Emma is going to USC, but we’ve never been together onstage at the same time,” Jordan said. “So I’d like to invite her up here to sing her favorite song, “Your Love.”

Sunny read her poetry and sang a song that she wrote

The two sang a duet, danced and camped it up for the audience. The music by The Outfield was prerecorded. There they were, two writers singing and dancing a farewell song that was sentimental, but not very good. But it didn’t matter because the audience, which was made up of friends, family members and faculty, loved it.

Then Sunny joined them onstage and they gave their final bow. They hugged each other like good friends, and then everyone was invited outside for ice cream.

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