YA Indie Carnival: Back To School Day

The theme for today’s YA Indie Carnival post is back to school days. One of the features is a classroom scene from one of our stories. So here is an excerpt from a short story called The Muse:

She dodged a frustrated driver trying to park in a spot too small, as she scooted across the street from the station to Auraria campus. The studio was cool in the summer heat as she set up her clay and tools and got to work. Her fingers tingled and the sculpture took shape as though the shape of the piece was flowing out of her hands. When it stood done, it was a long vaguely human form like statues dubbed the white ‘dancing aliens’, outside the Denver Performing Arts Center across the street. But this bore only a passing resemblance to that piece. This solitary form was fluid with curves, like a humanoid shape that was part amoeba. Tendrils from its palms reached out for contact to anyone, anything who glanced at it. It looked strangely hungry.

Mr. Catan, the teacher, wandered over and studied it, and noted the same thing. “You certainly have created a stirring piece.” He smiled at her, “Almost Dali-esque.”

Yeah, stirring, she thought, glancing away from his upswept 50’s greaser hairdo and skater-punk t-shirt three decades too young for him. Like Hustler is stirring, she edged away and started smoothing the figure’s shoulders with a sponge.

But he didn’t move on to the other pieces. “What were you thinking of when you created this? It looks…lonely, empty.”

As soon as she stepped back from it, she saw that he was right. It did look lonely. Need seeped off of it, reaching for her. She gasped and backed up into the wall.

Mr. Catan laughed and nodded at her reaction. “Well, wherever you got this idea from, you had some kind of inspiration. There was a time when artists who created things like this believed they had been touched by the Muse, or fed upon by her. It depended on their perspective. Men gave their lives to her. Or at least, they gave pieces of themselves. Van Gogh, Pygmalion…what did you give to create this?”

Creep, she thought.

He smiled, “You should enter this in the student exhibit when it’s finished.”

Suddenly, she felt bad at her knee-jerk reaction. He was just trying to help.

The Orphan, its name came to her as he walked away. The curves of the statue almost seemed to lean after him, the vacant eye depressions gazing into the back of his neck. She hurriedly cleaned up her materials, and went to her next class, as the statue faced the door.

The next feature is a classroom scene from our own experiences:

I attended a Hebrew day school called Hillel Academy for most of elementary school. And while I don’t have a lot of clear sequential memories, I have snapshots of memories. One of my clearest memories was of candy. Yes, you read that right. Candy. We were allowed to have bags of candy in class as long as we paid attention…what an awesome idea, sugar and paying attention in class…how often has that worked? And when I say bags of candy, I’m not talking cute little candy bags, I’m talking big honking brown paper lunch bags. We would all go to the candy store in the mall and blow our allowance money on gobstoppers, lemonheads, atomic fireballs, jujubees, pixie stix etc, stuff that isn’t even around anymore.

So I remember one day, we sat in Navi class, Navi was commentary on the Torah by ancient rabbis who lived before archaeology was invented. We were all armed with our pencils, notebooks, Navi books, and overflowing bags of candy. And of course, as one might expect, the rustling of paper bags started as soon as Rabbi T started talking. He would write until the whole chalk board was covered in text that we frantically copied, this is what the sugar was really for, super-speed. And he would periodically stop, turn around and glare at whoever’s paper bag was loudest. Finally, he turned around, and I remember seeing an eraser go whizzing past my classmate Josh’s head, as he dug into his bag, and Rabbi T thundered, “Knock it off with the paper bags!”

Josh started laughing, probably the wrong response, and after that our candy had to stay in our bookbags for Navi class. So we pulled the candy back out for Chumash class, in the next period.

I asked years later, when I visited a Lubavitcher Chabad and saw again kids running around with candy, what was it about kids having candy? And got the answer I never dared to ask as a kid, lest it be taken away. They said that it was a good way for the kids to associate the study of the Torah with sweetness. Good old sugar bribery. My mom used the same tactic with my sister and I. She’d bake awesome smelling desserts like baked fudge, and I had to have three bites of veg, and my sister had to have three bites of meat if we wanted to have any. I use the same tactic with my daughter.

I don’t know if it’s a Jewish thing, but sugar can get me to do damn near anything, and someday, I’d love to look at the statistics for diabetes in our population compared with other folks. That, however, was one of my very fond memories of school.

And now, for my giveaway winner! Amabe421 will receive a copy of Into The Ruins, an anthology containing Diary of a Duct Tape Zombie, Mushrooms, Plagues, Whistles, and Beer Garden, and also a separate copy of Bees of St. John, since that is not included in the new anthology.

For other nifty classroom stories, please visit our other carnies and learn more about their school daze.

http://www.refractedlightreviews.com Danny Snell’s Refracted Light Reviews

http://pattilarsen.blogspot.com Patti Larsen, Author of The Ghost Boy of MacKenzie House, the Hunted series, and the Hayle Coven novels.
http://courtneycolewrites.wordpress.com Courtney Cole, Author of Every Last Kiss, Fated, Princess, and Guardian. Also a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles.
http://wrenemerson.wordpress.com Wren Emerson, Author of I Wish and a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles.
http://laurasmagicday.wordpress.com Laura Elliott, Author of Winnemucca.
http://nicoleawilliams.blogspot.com Nichole A. Williams, Author of Eternal Eden, and the upcoming Fallen Eden. She is also participating in the Glassheart Chronicles.
http://fisheramelie.com/blog/ Fisher Amelie, Author of The Understorey, as well as a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles.
http://amyjonesyaff.blogspot.com Amy Maurer Jones, Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy as well as a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles.
http://thewarriorseries.blogspot.com T. R. Graves, Author of Warriors of the Cross.
http://ctefft.blogspot.com Cyndi Tefft, Author of Between
http://pjhoover.blogspot.com P.J. Hoover, Author of Solstice, The Emerald Tablet, The Navel of the World, The Necropolis.
http://www.aliciamccalla.com Alicia McCalla, Author of the upcoming science-fiction novel Breaking Free.
http://heathercashman.com/better_off_read Heather Cashman, Author of Perception.
http://www.abbiglines.com Abbi Glines, Author of Breathe, and the upcoming Existence and Vincent Boys.
http://cidneyswanson.blogspot.com/ Cidney Swanson, Author of Rippler.
http://cherischmidt.blogspot.com, Cheri Schmidt, Author of Fateful, Fractured, and Fair Maiden, Fire Dancer
http://www.lexusluke.com/, Lexus Luke, Author of Manitou, The Sky People Saga, Fire Breather
http://www.suzyturner.com/, Suzy Turner, Author of December Moon and Raven, Dragonslayer
http://kasi-kcblake.blogspot.com/, K. C. Blake, Author of Vampire Rules, Elephant Trainer
http://hereventuality.blogspot.com/, Gwenn Wright, Author of Filter, Ring-Leader
http://kimberlykinrade.com/, Kimberly Kinrade, Author of Bits of You, Pieces of Me and Forbidden Mind, Prestidigitator
http://jlbryanbooks.blogspot.com/, J.L. Bryan, Author of Paranormals series- Jenny Pox. Tommy Nightmare & Alexander Death

4 Responses to “YA Indie Carnival: Back To School Day”

  1. LOVE the imagery in the Muse–the statue is intriguing! And as for sugar… I’m with you. Just hook me up to a direct vein tap…

  2. Well, well, well. A fellow Coloradoan? I took inspiration from Manitou Springs and the Garden of the Gods.

    Love your scene here. Where can I find the rest of the story?

  3. GREAT excerpt and summary of your own experience. Have a good weekend.

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