Literary PWeeks Snapshots

Sophie Furlow Latin’s Project Week Program offers dozens of trips across the city, country, and the world. This year, we had two Pweeks that focused on reading, writing, and working with important literature. Mr. Joyce and Mr. Tempone took a group of students to Indiana University to study the process of writing well. Focusing their attention on editor Gordon Lish, students read manuscripts and award-winning short stories from which they learned techniques and tips for revising, drafting, and perfecting their writing. Students on the trip then applied what they’d learned in the library to their own works. On the other Pweek focused on literature, Ms. Hayman and Ms. Callis led a group of students through the ancient city of York, famous for its medieval characteristics. York is rich in its literary history, and students sat to write for half an hour at each attraction. They traveled all throughout the county of North Yorkshire, exploring England while writing poetry. Both literary trips aimed to better its students’ writing, each in a very different corner of the world. Below are two pieces of writing, one from each trip, that students are proud of and excited to share. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Short Story by Gabriel Moreno (9) from Indiana It was a warm summer night. The cicadas hummed their gentle language, the grass twitched, slick with melted moonlight. The leaves were sent skipping in place by the wind. The stars curved into my homemade constellations. My grandmother used to say that they are just holes in heavens floor, allowing the dead to look down. In the thick summer air, fireflies, masking themselves as stars, hovered just out of existence. They blinked into summer for a second, claiming their heritage to the stars, before vanishing. My grandmother used to say that a long time ago the fireflies drank from a puddle of starlight, and that’s where they get their glow from. Baby cousins trod the slick grass. My baby cousins were chasing the fireflies, they were running, trying to catch their tiny dreams, reaching in vain into the dark summer sky. My grandmother motioned me over. When I walked to her. She took a deep breath. The world knew she was going to say something important, so it quieted. The cicadas hushed themselves, the leaves and the grass stood still, and they all leaned in to listen. The fireflies stopped pulsing, and one landed on her shoulder for a good seat to listen to the drops of wisdom she would spill. “Teach them to catch their stars, mijo” she said. “Teach them to cast their fishing poles into the infinite folds of time and space, to bait their hooks with ideas and inspiration. Teach them to grow gardens of ideas in their homes, to tend to roses of dreams. Teach them to chase the stars, and they will follow.” So I did. I taught them to cast fishing poles into the sky. I taught them to daydream and take midday naps to follow their dreams. I taught them to catch fireflies together, to boost each other up. I taught them not to smear and kill the fireflies, to not leave star remnants slathered on their hands. I taught them to tend to roses of ideas, to harvest thoughts and aspirations in time for winter. Among that, I taught them about the summer. I taught them about the leaves and the cicadas, how the dandelions nod to their beat of the wind. I taught them to wish on half dead dandelions, to wish on the fireflies as they blink into existence. I taught them to smoke birthday candles, not cigarettes, told them they would get an extra wish, not cancer. Summer wore on, and the days got hotter. I taught them to judge how good day had been by how discolored their tongues were from popsicles. I taught them to find joy in the smell of hot dog water, to lift their backs off the leather couch every once in awhile so that their bare backs could unstick. Now, many summers have passed. The fireflies have since faded, and the stars have since dimmed. The kids have grown, and my grandmother has since passed. My baby cousins are older, old enough to have branded chasing after their fireflies as foolish and childish. One of them still does, though. One of them finds every spare minute to run barefoot, through the grass wet from melted moonlight. He chases after his dim constellations, the constellations he pieced together himself. He napped daily, mapping his dreams in a dream journal. One of them finds the time to cast fishing nets into the sky, to catch clouds made of cotton candy and spare wisps of angel dust. One of them still makes his own dream catchers, one of them still spends nights talking to the moon. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Poem by Anthony Kolton (10) from York We’re told to build bridges, not walls, But from the tops of those that still exist Ensure a golden view Of sturdy terra-cotta roofs and a spring-shaped Breeze, that brings out bliss in passerby and rose petals.   Make way for infinite gates in all directions, With no bars to bar entry Because in this era of peace no seldom Plank is left on the high tower, Because everyone has equal heritage to power, And are strangers to grief.   But this is only a Utopia in where daisies take root At the base of a gunmetal barrels, and corporations place Progress before profit. So in the meantime, take greif’s outstretched Hand as you walk the world together, it disjoints, The Earth’s crust breaks open at it’s baseball-stitched seams Nowhere close to symbiotic, you’re no heretic for being on the winning side.  ]]>