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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Congratulations to all those who will attend the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio 2016!

Posted on Apr 18, 2016 in Blog entry, Testimonials

The only day my iPad was on mail alert, I felt excruciatingly nervous on my way back home. My mother was driving the car and we had just crossed Bittan Market. My iPad beeped and I jumped to check my email. It was April 1, 2015 and I had been accepted to attend the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio. Few people knew what it meant for me. The months preceding my acceptance to IYWS were extremely painful. Due to various reasons, mostly stress regarding my academic performance, I had begun to lose faith in myself and my writing.  In fact, this lack of self-confidence made me hate myself. Whenever I was alone, it didn’t take me two seconds to sit somewhere and start crying or disparaging myself. I sometimes went to bed, wishing time would stop. But after April 1, I had something to look forward to. I had first heard of IYWS in my freshman year and I knew I had to attend the workshop. It seemed as though someone was calling me, something was waiting for me 7,890 miles away from my hometown, Bhopal, India. Actually, a lot was waiting for me. If you go through the journal I maintained at Iowa, you will see one sentence written on almost every page: “I feel more alive.” How absolutely true it was! I woke up, walked, talked, ate, sat, stood as a writer. For me, each day in Iowa was a day spent in paradise. Deep within I used to think of myself as an unworthy person. I believed I wasn’t as talented as the other writers who I was going to be with. Truth be told, I was on the verge of breaking down one day when I told my teacher, Dan, that my acceptance was probably an error. I still can’t figure out what magic happened last summer that helped me grow into a better, positive and confident human being. Perhaps I failed to tell my roommate, Chloe, and my friend, Jazz, how empowering and exhilarating their friendship had been. Perhaps I never told my teacher and the fellow poets in my class that they gave me a place where I knew I belonged. Perhaps I never told Stephen Lovely, the teachers and the wonderful counselors how their smiles simply made my day. Perhaps I never told the other campers that without them, I would never have felt so unafraid. Perhaps I never told that wonderful person who once complimented me for ‘having a smile like sunshine,’ that I no longer felt ashamed when I looked at myself or that I had started laughing heartily. Despite all of this, I must say, I have no regrets. The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio, indubitably, has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Not a day goes by without longing to go back to the wonderful place that was Iowa City. Not only do I believe more in the future of writing, I believe in my own voice. I have learned to embrace my roots and know that my dreams are valid. I know that there are people out there who appreciate my poems for what they are. I know that I am the writer I want to be and I will and must continue to grow. I know that home is not the place you come from but where you belong. Congratulations to all those who will attend the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio 2016! Let the experience mold, surprise, inspire and change you!   Devanshi Khetarpal is an 11th grader at St. Joseph’s Convent Senior Secondary Girls’ School...

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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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A Cohesive Structure of Paragraphs

Posted on Sep 9, 2015 in Blog entry, Testimonials, Uncategorized

“I’m listening to Vanessa Carlton, drinking watery orange juice on an airplane from Cedar Rapids to Minneapolis to New York, from home to somewhere that doesn’t quite fit me anymore.”

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