Sunday, February 22, 2015

Creativity: A Top Ten List for Capturing the Writer’s Apple of Discord

It's not the seventh, eighth, or ninth of the month, so I guess we'll call this a bonus post to inspire your creativity.  Today's post is the work of one of our ninth-grade editors, Rachel C.  
Also, readers, it's not too late to submit your creative writing for publication in March!

photo by sevenatenine editor

The Apple of Discord was the coveted object of the Greek goddesses Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite: something they all desperately wanted yet could not seem to have, forcing the Trojan War to erupt, thus unfolding Homer’s legendary love-slash-war story. Writers and artists know this feeling of longing nearly just as well as they chase after creativity, urgently wanting it but unable to attain it for but a few moments. Check out this list of ways to increase creativity and find ways to inspire your own work!

1.      Be curious—don’t be afraid to ask questions and explore.

2.      Exercise your mind with puzzles, quizzes, and games. Let your brain expand; it will allow you to be more mentally flexible when producing creative works.

3.      Be observant. Look at the world around you: listen to the sigh of the school bus, watch the simmering of the vegetable soup, feel the bitter bite of the winter chill. Simple sensory perceptions can result in big ideas.

4.      Dabble in art every day. This will allow you to draw more inspiration from your thoughts and help you become accustomed to the inner workings of your mind.

5.      Read! Literature can provide some of the best motivation and open your mind to possibilities you never would have considered otherwise.

6.      Keep up to date with current events. Things going on in the world today instigate people all over the globe to write, draw, sing—why not you?

7.      Write down all of your ideas—even the silly ones. You never know which one will be the next “Harry Potter” or the future Van Gogh.

8.      Share your ideas with others. The praise and constructive criticism of other creative people will only serve to help you improve, allowing you to develop your thoughts into full, blown-out projects so you can hit the road.

9.      Step outside of your comfort zone. Doing something new can open your eyes to different perspectives and the world around you.

10.  As President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Risks can be dangerous, but they hold amazing opportunities to get those creative juices flowing. Even the most successful people in the world have taken risks and faced failure. Don’t hesitate. Just do.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Colorful Art, Inspiring Poems

When winter gets a little stale, it's time for us to brighten things up with some colorful art and inspiring poetry. Enjoy both from our ninth grade artists and writers this month!

artwork by Natalie D.
Grade 9

artwork by Nicole M.
Grade 9

A Mile is a Journey But so is a Step

A mile is a journey
but so is a step.
Doesn't matter where you're going
as long as you prep

My Journey was lengthy
but started so small.
It consists of some obstacles
like duels and a brawl.

I faced my highest angels and my deepest demons,
in the depth of my mind.
This journey did not only consist of humans
but extended beyond mankind

One step, two steps three steps, four,
a big one, a small one, what's one more?
I could go on forever in circles or squares,
doesn't matter what I do, climb mountains or climb squares.
Every journey has obstacles, twists and turns
some bumps and bruises, and even some burns.
But how can you run if you can't even walk,
you can't get through if you keep yourself locked.
But journeys don't end when you can't go on.
They end when you don't live to see the next dawn.

So my journey was a mile,
but started with a step.
It was an adventure in itself,
that started with one, small footstep.

Poem by Skylar S.
Grade 9

artwork by Brynn F.
Grade 9

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Disaster Averted

Small moments can be life-changing.  Sometimes it is the moments that threaten to change our lives that stand out in our memories the most, even if the moment inflicts no permanent change.  "Lifeguard" is a tiny piece of memoir about a tiny moment that felt enormous.

artwork by Rachel M.
Grade 8


     It's a bright and sunny summer day on a beach in New Jersey.  My friend and I are knee-deep in the ocean, attempting to find a good place to swim without the dead remains of moon jellies floating around us.  Our two friends are standing on the shore, waiting for us to come back.

     As we go out deeper, I feel the coolness of the clear blue water against my skin and the taste of salt on my tongue.  My friend takes another step forward and stumbles off the sandbar into deeper water.  She grabs my arm, yanking me deeper.

     Suddenly, we are dragged farther into the sea.  The waves are bigger, furiously pounding against our bodies.

     "RIP CURRENT!" she yells.  "SWIM!"

     I dive under, pushing with all my will and holding onto her as we both try to swim against the current.  We are like hamsters running in a hamster ball, trying as hard as we can to get to the shore only to find we have gotten absolutely nowhere.

     The water is over my head, and I start to hyperventilate.  Panicking is not the answer, I tell myself, trying to stay above the water.  Stay calm, or we'll drown

     My eyesight is blurry from the saltwater and tears, but I can barely make out the bright red 'LIFEGUARD' sign floating closer to us.  The lifeguard grasps both our hands, letting us hold onto the floatation device, and swims us back to the safety of land.

     We are alive, and the sand between my toes never felt so good.  Our two other friends run over to us, asking is if we're okay and what happened.  Even though we are both shaken, we manage to laugh and tell them that the rip current had pulled us in.

     Even though it was only a small moment, we couldn't help but feel like we survived something huge. 

by Anna M.
Grade 8

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Stop the Clock

Welcome back for our February installments! 
Have you ever had a special time on the clock?  You know, that number that always seems to be staring back at you when you happen to check the time, almost like it's supposed to mean something?  For this writer, it seems that the time is 3:45. 
Enjoy a suspenseful ride in this seventh-grade short story.

3:45 PM
 Clap! The pitter-patter of the rain splashed against the car window as the music from my headphones brightened my mind. I guess tuning out the world was my specialty as a teenager. My brother seemed to be pounding on the keys of his whatever-he-was-playing, and I could care less about what he was doing. And my parents were mumbling about boring stuff, as they always are.

I checked the time on the car monitor, and it read 3:45pm. “3:45” I pondered. I sort of just stared at the time until it got blurry. And I didn’t even bother blurring back. It felt so good, relaxing my eyes. It made the world so much easier to tune out. Then I saw something peculiar, frightening. There were two huge bulbs of light, screaming right for the car.

I was franticly shrieking, pointing at the lights. They were getting brighter by the second. I managed to sputter out two words. “Dad, Car!” His eyes darted ahead and he swerved the car sharply. The screaming was unbearable, and I squeezed my eyes shut like the scared, cowardly girl I was.

I braced my arm on my brother’s chest as the jolt sent me flying. I couldn’t see a speck, but it felt as if thousands, millions of little shards were breaking around me. Thud! Pain shot through me as if a thunderbolt were striking my chest. I could hear the glass shards scraping, jingling on the concrete. And that was the only sound I could hear, but there was something else. I tried to turn around, but pain was pulsing through my veins. I stopped looking when I realized the screaming was me. I was screaming in worry and agony. I started to take deep breaths so that I could use my energy to turn my head aside. However, when I strained my head to look, all I could see was grey and red blurring my vision.

The rain dolloped my eyelashes as if to wipe the red away from my scraped face. As my vision cleared, all I could see were disembodied parts of scrap metal and thick, needled shards of glass. The scent of rubber was wafting in my nose. My long, golden hair was all strewn about. I couldn’t see anyone; no one was in sight. All was silent except for the pulsing in my skull. My chest became empty, and it almost felt like I couldn’t breathe, like a ball coming up my throat. This is hopeless. The stinging in my eyes throbbed as streams of warm water swiped down my cheek, bringing ash with it. I knew this was it. This was it. Nothing could be done to help me. No family in sight, and no hope in my heart.

I gave one last piercing scream to take away all the pain, to take away the awful memories, to wipe my slate clean. I didn’t even get to say good-bye, and I wanted to die right there. It would’ve been so simple to give up, to never have to think of a worry again. I could play in the golden light, smile until it hurt, and see old friends. But the feeling in my guts told me that I had to hold on. I needed to hold on to my life with my bare hands. I could almost feel my fingers losing grip, becoming slippery and my vision was becoming hazy. But I knew I couldn’t fall. I couldn’t let go. A heart is a burden that you can’t let go of; it’s too valuable to be lost. All of a sudden, I felt a rush of blood, paralyzing everything. Terror and blackness overcame me.

I woke up to the sound of beeping in my ear, a weird- thick smell of medicine, and latex gloves. The fluorescent lights blinded me, and I shut my eyes tight. As my eyes adjusted, I realized that I wasn’t here before. I have never been here before. I was lying on the cold cement, holding on for my family, screaming the pain away. But no; now I’m here. “Where is my mom, My Dad?! WHERE IS MY FAMILY?!” I cried. Doctors and nurses of all kinds came rushing over to me with worried looks on their tired faces. They were pressing buttons, writing down stuff. I didn’t want to know what they were doing, or where I was. I just wanted to know where my family was.  

From what I could collect from the nurses and doctors blabbering, I felt like a cold, angered, force was sliding against my stomach. “Yes this is the girl from the crash, age 14… no other victims found on site . . . get more medicine now!” I swear I felt that force slip right into the pit of my stomach. NO, NO, NO!  I started to wail hopelessly, but no tears would come out. I wanted to sulk in the corner where no one could find me, to hide in the closet so I could get away. I wanted to get aside from everything. I never wanted to see a thing again.

When the doctors cleared out, I slowly got out of the springy bed and peeked out of the door frame. Looked left, looked right. None are in sight. I slipped out of the door frame and sprinted through the cold hallway. I sprinted faster than I ever had before. There was a deep pulsing in my calf that felt like it was ripping my leg apart. But I kept running anyway. Not only from the doctors, but the dark, confusing past that laid behind me. I kept thinking, I gotta get out of this nightmare of a place. All the hospital was rushing past me in a blur of blue and white. My bare feet were making a slapping noise against the cool tile. No one could’ve stopped me. The world took my family away in an instant, and I wanted to be gone in a snap. The throbbing in my eyes came back to me. But I couldn’t cry, not then. I needed to find my family, where ever they were.

The parking lot was huge and all I could see were vans and cars, dotted along the vast space. I ran anyway, the white coated doctors trailing behind. The sky almost looked just as hurt as me, for it was raining drops and tears, making everyone else hurt with it. My eyes spotted a cross walk, an escape from this cruel place.

            I could see my pale feet against the stripes as I stumbled flat on my face.

I wished to sink into the yellow and let them blanket me. I wanted to disappear, just as my family did. I wanted to go home, and to go now. No one knew a thing about me. No one knew what I’m like, or what I had just lost, or what I was about to go through. So I thought that I might as well go join my family, wherever they were. I closed my eyes to the point where I could see only black and faded, blotched, colors. And I thought back to where I last saw my family. It was when I saw that time, 3:45pm. All the thoughts from that moment swirled through my head with colorful slashes in the dark.

Nothing is happening;

I’m so bored!

I want to get out of this stupid car.

            Well, I guess got my wish. I never knew how precious time was, until you lose it, until it matters no more.

I blurred my vision on the passing cars, imagining that I was blurring out to that time, 3:45, what a beautiful time. I could almost feel the air of the warm car, wrapping me in comfort. But I could only hear the tires roaring past the tip of my ear. I screamed and let it echo in my head until all turned white, blurry white.

The jolt of the car caused me to snap my eyes back to reality.


 My body was still in the seat. The car was on the road. It’s like it never happened. Because it didn’t happen I thought. It was so real. It had to be, but no, we are on the road. My dad avoided that car; he swerved away from it. My music was still blasting in my ears as if it were saying that everything was fine. Nothing was going to hurt me, and nothing ever will. I gave a big sigh of relief because I knew that the nightmare of my imagination was over; my stupid imagination. I looked back at the car monitor, and it read 3:45, that precious time. My precious time.  
by Gigi F.
Grade 7