A Stellar Flare of Young Adult Writing and Visual Art
BY LOLA AFONSO MARTINEZ
The plaza was a buzzing cacophony of dogs barking, children shrieking, and bicycle bells ringing away. As chaotic as it might seem, I’ve always enjoyed how alive it is. Everyone here has a life, a story about themselves. Everything that has happened to them has lead them to become the person they are today. If I had time to observe my surroundings, I would spend hours doing so. However, my session would begin soon, so I turned my gaze away from the liveliness of the mesmerizing plaza. Instead, I paid attention to the nearly empty gazebo I was facing.
I say ‘nearly empty’ because, sitting on a bench in the corner of the gazebo, was Mrs. Adler. If someone asked me for a recommendation on who’s biography they should read, I would urge them to read Mrs. Adler’s. Through a lot of hard work and perseverance, Mrs. Adler managed to make her biggest dreams come true. She’s living proof that no matter how difficult life becomes, it’ll get easier eventually. “Sorry I rescheduled, dear.” Mrs. Adler began, “Cordelia was sick yesterday, so I stayed home all day to take care of her.”
Cordelia, a short, dogmatic old woman who made sure everyone knew just how assertive she was, was Mrs. Adler’s wife. They’d started dating in the 90s, and gotten married a few years ago. As strong as she is, Cordelia gets sick often, and Mrs. Adler often stays home to ensure that she’s okay.
“I keep warning her about those walks in the snow, but you know how she is.” Mrs. Adler sighed, a fond look present on her face.
It was clear that no matter how much Mrs. Adler complains she still adores her wife’s antics. I laughed, nodding. “Give her a break. It’s not too cold outside anymore.”
She shot me an exasperated look, but let it drop a few seconds later. “I suppose.” She glanced down at the green vinyl notebook I was holding. “Are you ready to begin?”
“Mhm,” I hummed. “It’s the first draft, so don’t be too harsh.”
We exchanged notebooks. Every week (except for last week, due to known reasons), Mrs. Adler and I have met up at this gazebo and exchanged short stories. She found writing to be an interesting way to share the tales of her adventures. From conveying her struggles with homophobia to describing the magic of falling in love, Mrs. Adler somehow managed to express her feelings with poetic eloquence in every sentence.
I, on the other hand, struggle to come up with ideas for my stories. I often write about things I’m unfamiliar with, and I think (read: know) that that’s part of my problem. It makes my work seem bland and undescriptive, but I don’t know how to fix it.
Mrs. Adler silently read my paper and vice versa. Her story, unsurprisingly, was wonderful. It was short but beautifully detailed and enticing. Mrs. Adler truly had talent. I was about to tell her so, but she spoke first. “Darling, this is great. Next week, though, bring me something that you wrote from experience.”
“Nothing that interesting has really happened to me, though.”
As if expecting that response, she replied, “Then don’t write about something interesting. Just write.”
I walked home on autopilot. I was trying to think of something to write about. Unlike Mrs. Adler, I hadn’t gone on any adventures. I hadn’t experienced anything abnormal or even done anything abnormal. She knew that. So why was she asking me to do this?
I sat at my desk, cross-legged on my chair. There was a pen in my hand and paper in front of me, but there were zero ideas in my mind. After ten minutes of frustratingly fruitless thinking, I was just about ready to give up and try again tomorrow. Right as I was about to leave, however, that I did indeed have something interesting to write about. I tightened my ponytail, clicked my pen, adjusted my position, and then I was scribbling away.
“The plaza was a buzzing cacophony of dogs barking, children shrieking, and bicycle bells ringing away.”
Lola Afonso Martinez is a 13-year-old girl with a deep passion for writing.