Posts Tagged ‘Kim Henderson’

Parallax Student Magazine Now Online

February 29, 2012

(from L) Whitney, Editor-in-Chief, and Cali, celebrate the launch of Parallax online

By Marcia E. Gawecki

On Jan. 16, Parallax launched its online literary magazine and the Idyllwild Arts students had a big party to celebrate.

Parallax, which means, “a displacement in the apparent position of an object viewed along two different lines of sight,” is often used by astronomers to measure distance. It’s also a cool name for a student literary magazine featuring multiple viewpoints.

Parallax has been published in a printed form since 1997, but just two years online. It showcases the writing of Idyllwild Arts students, mostly from the Creative Writing Department, but also from other majors, including Interdisciplinary Arts (IM), theatre, dance, music and moving pictures.

The students have expanded Parallax online to include submissions from other high school students worldwide.

Isaac, one of the editors, said the criteria for submissions was basic.

“We’re looking for good writing,” he said. “On our web site, you can expect high-quality literature.”

He went on to say that Parallax is not just a web site for writers.

(from L) Isaac receives congrats from Kat Factor, Idyllwild Arts poet-in-residence and head of the IM Department

“It’s an online literary journal,” Isaac. “It’s a collaboration.”

Well, you can see for yourself at It showcases the poetry, short stories, screen plays, theatre plays and essays. And some of the best visual images, photography and comics by visual artists at Idyllwild Arts. The combination is colorful, edgy, earthy and pretty terrific.

“Who says that high school students can’t write seriously, or that our voices can’t spark conversation within the literary community?” asked Whitney, the publication’s Editor-in-Chief.

“We think it’s possible. In fact, we know it’s possible. It’s what we’re doing. Parallax is a springboard into the writing world for serious young writers, and we want to hear from you.”

Some of the poems and story excerpts now featured online were recited on the night of the online launch. One by one, students came up to the “stage” before the fireplace, and recited their works. There was no microphone, and probably a predetermined time limit, but the works were high caliber and could match up to any Chicago “Poetry Slam.” The audience of 100, made up of students, faculty and staff, was enthusiastic and respectful.

It also helped that there was good hors d’oeuvres and raffle prizes.

“The next raffle prize is a bunch of Jesus post cards,” quipped Rebecca, as she called out the winning number amongst the holiday lights and decorations.

Some of the Creative Writers were theatrical in their recitals, like Isaac, who transferred from the Theatre Department last year.

“It’s easy for me to talk in front of others,” Isaac said. “But you don’t have to be a good speaker if it’s good writing.”

Isaac read a poem that he had written from a daydream. “Tearing open my abdomen like sand out of me/Doves of the dirt/It keeps coming/Mounds into mountains/Puckering the whites of my eyes.”

Branford dressed for the occasion and told a chilling tale of murder, mystery and lab rats.

Branford, a tall, lanky guy who was dressed up in a suit for the occasion, was the most theatrical with his loud, deep voice as he read his excerpt from “Door 29.” It was a graphic journey about lab rats, and an audience favorite, including Tima’s 12-year-old son, who wants to be a writer.

“He was the best,” the boy said.

Branford’s “Door 29” is a murder-mystery that occurs at a laboratory, with a bit of Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” thrown in. Here is an excerpt:

“You want to go up to them and warn them. Tell them to run. Fear paralyzes you. You cannot move. Your tongue lies limp in your mouth. It reminds you of one of Doctor Octopus’s severed bionic arms. You wish you were a superhero in this moment. Wish you were more than a boy trapped inside a man’s body. You wish you could scream and tell them to run.”

Whitney recited “Cain’s Lament,” a modern poem about Cain and Abel, that was set to music by Arik, and sung by Samuel, fellow music students, at “Idyllwild Arts Day in LA” last year. (You can hear Arik and Samuel’s version sung before the printed piece at Parallax online).

“I just love this,” whispered Andrew Leeson, an instructor from the Creative Writing Department.

Here is an excerpt from Whitney’s “Cain’s Lament:”

Over dinner God told us he was an atheist. He spelled it out for us: A-T-H-E-I-S-T. Christ admitted to being agnostic. “What happens,” my brother asked, “when you don’t believe in yourself?” God put an arm around him, led him to the edge of the wine glass, directed his clean eyes upon the World.

"We're looking for good writing," exclaimed Isaac, a Creative Writer.

“A child was murdered quietly in a market. A soldier shot civilians in the street as they pressed their heads against the barrel of his gun. A king ordered his subjects to hang each other and one by one they twitched and were still. A nuclear bomb obliterated one-third of the world’s population, but no one happened to be looking that way just then.  God stepped away from the wine glass, brushing smears of human blood from his sleeve.

“Oh,” my brother said. “Oh.”

Becky, Scarlett, Ariel, Erin, Michelle, Freida, Dante, Callie, Ruth and Maria all read short stories, and poems, to end a remarkable evening, a literary celebration.

You can read them all online at, or go to the Idyllwild Arts web site,, and click on Creative Writing and Parallax.

In other news, three creative writers–Scarlett, Becky and Maria–left for the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) Conference & Bookfair in Chicago today. They will be reading and attending the 3-day event that starts on tomorrow, March 1, at the Palmer House Hilton.

“Margaret Atwood is going to be there!” Becky exclaimed of the Canadian poet/essayist/environmental activist. “We won’t get to meet her or anything, but she’ll be there presenting. Maybe I’ll just follow her to the bathroom and meet her then!”

Other AWP presenters include: Jimmy Santiago Baca, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Jennifer Egan, Forrest Gander, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Philip Levine, Ed Robertson, and Jane Smiley, among others. For more information, visit

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me.








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