The Insoluble Pancake

Posted on Aug 30, 2016 in Blog entry, News, Testimonials

“It is nearly an insoluble pancake, a conundrum of inscrutable potentialities, a snorter.” —Flann O’Brien, The Third Policeman I commence my search in the bookstore titled “Prairie Lights.” It is not situated in a prairie. At the entrance there is a sign that decrees “World Famous Bookstore & Poke Stop.” A mingling materializes in my mind. Maybe I’ll remember what I’m looking for. A hardcover volume? A Pokemon? If so, I am quite undeniably certain that this is the right place to start. I cannot go in immediately because there are two doors. I have already encountered a tricky problem, a nearly insoluble pancake. Is one healthier than the other? Is one an exit only? Perhaps both are exits, and the entrance is inscribed on a different face of the building. My brain is already scrambled, I pancake eat just to want my now. At that moment a melodious voice says-sings “excuse me” and a girl swings open the door on the right. She disappears behind the oak. I stare at the slab of wood, slowly rotating clockwise around its hinge…at the last second I wedge my hand in the narrow crevice and wrench the door open. I walk inside with a dignified air. I consider asking the woman at the desk the following question: What am I looking for, and can I find it in here? She will probably ask me a question as a reply, such as: I don’t know. Are you looking for a book? It is certainly possible that I am looking for a book; however it is equally likely that I am looking for something else entirely. So I decide not to stress her out until I figure out what I am looking for. I wander through the store, my gaze sprinting left to right along the spines of books, occasionally hurdling over a few that look boring. None of the titles ring a bell, though I do see the name Flann O’Brien. I knew a Flann O’Brien once. After I finish the fiction section I walk over to the next shelf but I realize that I am wasting my time; maybe it is a book that isn’t in this store, maybe it is a book that hasn’t yet been published. So I am quite sure it is not a book. Because I know I will find what I’m looking for in this town. But I might as well look around a bit more; this is a nice bookstore, and I may never come again. As I am wandering I see a girl picking books off a shelf and tasting them. I believe it is the same one with the mellifluous voice. She is doing this with a big smile. There is one book that she does not put back; eventually she takes this one to the front. She wears a sky blue lanyard with a key and card hanging from it. I have bumped into some blue lanyards today already. They seem to be very significant—does the lanyard represent wealth and distinction, like a toga praetexta? A mingling once again materializes in my mind; this time, though, it feels almost epiphanic, and with it comes a memory; not a memory, really, but a feeling, a feeling of superb happiness at the sight of so many books. A faint smile emerges on my face. I buy the book by my friend Flann O’Brien. The synopsis on the back is very weird (a book inside of a book, it says), but he’s a weird person, I remember. After the cashier bags my book, I ask,...

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Not the Typical Cliquey Pods

Posted on Aug 23, 2016 in Blog entry, News, Testimonials

One thing I found in Iowa City, besides the sweltering days that occupy most of summer in Iowa, was a vast network of friends.

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To Iowa City (I left something there) by Mansee Khurana

Posted on Aug 12, 2016 in Blog entry, News, Testimonials

“My classmates were eager to learn and share ideas, everyone’s love for art came out in different ways, and I felt like I had a place among people who didn’t disregard art, but created it.”

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The 2016 Application Period is coming!

Posted on Jan 15, 2016 in Blog entry, News

High school age creative writers, Hark, Hear Ye, Hey, Yo, Spread the word! The Application Period for the 2016 Iowa Young Writers’ Studio is approaching! We’ll start accepting applications via Submittable at 8 AM central time on Monday, February 1 and stop at 8 AM central time on Monday, February 8. Details about the application process here. These girls applied, and look how happy they...

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Fish Tales & More from Session 1, 2015

Posted on Oct 1, 2015 in Blog entry, News

This past summer, during Session 1 of the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio, fiction writer and radio wizard Liz Weiss took students into the studio at KRUI, Iowa City’s sound alternative, to tell true stories and read from their poetry, fiction, and essays. Here’s the first of two podcasts. You’ll hear about a Russian girl’s family that adopts a pig and conspires to serve it to her for New Year’s dinner; an American patriot who finds a portrait of George Washington hanging in a British aristocrat’s bathroom; a woman who falls through a wall during an earthquake in Japan; a boy who mourns the loss of a cheap watch he bought at 7-11; and a terminally ill fish euthanized in vodka. Enjoy! Technical difficulties? Contact our Audio Help desk at It’s staffed by a person with absolutely zero expertise, but he’ll try to...

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I Left My Heart in the Burge Lobby by Sarisha Kurup

Posted on Sep 16, 2015 in Blog entry, News, Testimonials

“There was a little voice in the back of my mind that would whisper, These are some of the happiest times of your life. You will miss these moments later.”

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