Labor Day Newsletter

Volume 1, Issue 4: September, 2020

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Our Creative Contest Winners!

In August, we hosted a Creative Contest. Students could submit their prose, poetry, or visual arts for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card and be featured in our newsletter. We received so many great submissions by some very talented students. Our staff narrowed it down to our top nine (three in each category), and we sent them over to our celebrity judges, Charles Carpenter and Ski-ter Jones, to choose a winner for each category. Below you will find the winners and their pieces, why the celebrity judges chose their piece, and the runner-ups chosen by our staff! We would like to thank everyone who submitted their work, as well as Charles and Ski-ter for being so generous to help out!

Poetry ~ Remark on the Origin of Roses


Oh, to be the blood

Shed by the goddess of love

That turned white roses red

And Adonis, as he lay dead

The grief of him, felt so powerfully, became

The flower we remember, not the name.

And the romance of our world,

With this great tragedy unfurled

Adonis, as he slowly bled

Gave naught to dred;

For In memory of him was born

A symbol of romance, all velvet red with thorns.

Prose ~ Awaiting


Tears twinkle around her eyes, delicate glass beads that threaten to shatter at any moment. She cried an awful lot that past year but nothing compared to the tears she cried a year ago when sudden tragedy had hit. Right now she sits in a 70s themed bar, complete with a disco ball and faded neon lights that light up the bar’s name in dancing letters that look almost as drunk as some of its patrons. She sits at the counter though furthest from the door. That way when she faces the wall, no one will care to bother her as she swirls her straw around her cherry martini glass.

Exactly a year ago she sat in this spot; that day she had faced the door and raised her glass at everyone who walked through it. She went through two glasses of the same drink that night and it was as she was asking the bartender for a third that a man burst through the door to announce the earth shattering news: her fiancé was dead. As her glass shattered into a million pieces against the cold, tiled floor, so had her future and her heart.

That night she had been awaiting her beloved fiancé. Though he worked shifts late into the nights, he still made time to celebrate their fifth anniversary. She barely minded that their celebration had to be so late that it was practically early morning. But he never arrived that night. He never arrived anytime after that either.

Tonight she allowed herself to go out because it had been so long and moving on was the one promise she was never very good at keeping. Tonight on their anniversary, at least she could say that she tried.

The men babbling for the attention of the bartender and the couples dancing skin to skin on the dance floor bleed around her like wet watercolors, trickling into one grey, indiscernible mess. The bass of the music pulsates deep in her bones as she takes another sip from her drink; she dares herself to think of anything but him though the endeavour is in vain. It is her second drink tonight: she wonders if there will ever be a third.

The first thing that clears amidst the haze is a man in a bowler hat. In fact, she sees the hat long before she sees the man and thinks to herself it looks rather ridiculous. She watches as the purple tied rim comes closer, until it sits down at the stool beside her.

“Can I buy you a drink?” the hat says, and she would have laughed out loud at the absurdity of the vision if it wasn’t for the man underneath it. When he comes into view, she snaps out of her dream-like thoughts, and the world comes crashing down around her; even the music blends into one cohesive song though the bass still echoes inside her.

Her instinct is to say no. But when she looks down, not only is her glass empty but so is her wallet. She curses herself for not bringing more, although bringing more was an earlier attempt at making sure she didn’t stay out all night.

“Only if it’s a cherry martini.” She half expects the man to walk away at the sound of her voice which has been hollowed by the tears that have been threatening her all night. When the man walks away, it is only to get the attention of the bartender and when he comes back, he hands her the drink without demanding she tell him what is wrong. “You waiting for someone?” is all he asks as he sips from the rim of a clear copper drink. “Yes.” She would have spoken more but on this night she doesn’t have much to say. “I am too.” He copies her, saying no more than what needs to be said. In that moment she is thankful that the purple bowler hat with the respectful man beneath it walked over to buy her a drink.

“Why does it feel like the people we want to see the most take the longest to come?” She looks up at him, surprised by the sudden question that bursts the bubble of silence that had rested between them the past few minutes. That was a question she had known the answer to for quite some time now. “It’s because they aren’t coming.” That was when he began to look at her. Not up and down like someone inspecting a fruit for its ripeness, but instead searching as if to find a long lost treasure.

The man frowns. “Well, if that’s the case, I have a proposition.”

“Perhaps I am in the position to listen.” Her face remains unchanged. The droopy

edges of her mouth have long set and dried, though there is a new found twinkle in her eyes.

“We stop waiting. For just one night. If they really aren’t coming, we have a night to spare. Finally give ourselves one night that we don’t have to wait for.”

As she considers, he investigates her expression further, searching for some sort of hint. The twinkle in her eye gives it away and the man knows her answer before it even leaves her lips.


“Okay,” he says back, a relaxed smile growing on his face. “One rule though. No names. We have this one night, and that’s it. I don’t need another person to wait for.” She holds her breath, scared he might call the whole thing off. But he nods his head. She wants to nod back, neutral face intact. Unfortunately for her, his smile is an infectious one.

When they pass through the door of the bar, she feels as though she has crossed a great precipice. The night breeze nips at her shoulders and reminds her heavily of the bitterness felt in the air that year ago; the memory of pulling her sweater tightly around her shoulders, shielding herself against the whipping wind. Tonight she instead takes her sweater off, allowing the cold air to send electric chills across her goosebumped skin; the feeling is invigorating.

They don’t say much, but their night is full and eventful. They make stops all around the city, taking cabs to the most random places they can find. Although the zoo is closed this late at night, they take turns climbing the tree that overhangs the penguin cage and sees who can turn more penguin heads in their direction. She wins because she is the only one that dares to yell into the night.

Their next stop is a bewitching statue standing in the middle of a courtyard. A once mighty lion is now a rusty green color, his sharp teeth dulled down by time. There is a worn patch of silver on his back from the thousands of hands that have passed over his brazened coat. The man lies down at the foot of the once great king, closes his eyes, and sticks out his tongue, pretending to have been defeated by the mighty beast. She laughs and sits upon the lion, lifting an invisible sword up to a dotted sky.

Still on the ground, he opens one eye, peeking up at her to see a smile pinned on her face. She looks up at the sky, arm raised. In that instant she looks glorious, the moonlight milking her skin, sweater draped across her back like a billowing cape. She looks down at him and smiles knowingly, thanking him for letting her have this one moment.

The last place they visit is an empty playground. She bounds towards the swings, kicking her flats aside and letting the sand run through her toes. He follows her, taking place on the swing beside her.

“Look up at the moon.” These are the first words he has spoken since the bar. She follows suit, swinging and pumping just as he is, keeping her sight on the almost full moon, her eyes longing to glance at him. She pumps her legs harder and before long it is as if they are both touching the stars.

“I haven’t had a night like this in a long time.” Yes, it had been over a year since she had had a night that made her feel like this.

“Me too,” he replies, and makes his way off the swing towards her. Now her eyes don’t waver from his, nor his eyes from hers. Then his arms are around her, and they are both standing barefoot in the sand under the moonlight, rocking ever so softly in each other's arms.

The beads in her eyes suddenly return, and this time a hammer slams through the thin glass that kept them from falling and tears gush down her face. The words barely make it out of her mouth, instead seep out like the tears from her eyes:

“Why does it feel like the people we want to see the most take the longest to come?”

“I suppose it’s because they have yet to find a way back to you.”

She pulls her face off his shoulder, holding him away so she can look into his eyes. Her eyebrows hunch into tight bushels as a puzzled expression seeps across her blotched face. “Do I know you from somewhere?” She sees a glint of something familiar in his face, though she cannot quite place where it is from.

This time he says nothing, instead squarely holding each of her shoulders, and placing a kiss on her forehead. He turns around and begins to walk away from her and into the vast field that lay opposite the playground where they swung.

Suddenly, something bursts inside of her and she needs to go with him. She tries to reach her arm out again, to touch him, to hold on, to grab any part of him that she can take with her, but something is holding her back, and all she can manage is to shout the words,

“What is your name? Please tell me your name!” But the words are lost in the sudden wind that picks up, carrying them far out of reach.

But as she watches him fade away until he is nothing but a shadowy haze and fly up into the sea of black, she figures she already knows the answer. The last thing she sees is a purple bowler hat disappearing into a freckled night sky.

Visual Arts ~ Live

E Nahkala
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What Our Celebrity Judges Had to Say

About Remark on the Origin of Roses~

We loved the meter and soul of this piece. It was refreshing to see a take on love that did not lend itself to the usual tropes associated with love and loss. The imagery was evocative and rich, without feeling forced and cliche.

About Awaiting~

We loved the imagery of this work. It took us on a journey that weaved powerful emotions with layered and detailed environments. There was a confidence in this writing that showed an acute awareness of what it was to feel the sting of loss and cope with the feeling of hopelessness. Both the characters and the locations in which they interacted were well developed and full. We understood and empathized with the protagonist and her trials.

About Live~

The color and motion of this piece spoke volumes. The character is at one time both delicate and powerful, stoic in her posture but vibrant with energy. Her hair and clothing drape her beautifully, giving her the feeling of dancing, as if through a dream.

Watch the Video Below to See Charles Talk About Why he Chose the Winners!
Charles Carpenter


Visual Arts

Colored Sea

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Film Camp Interview

by Norah

Grade 9

California Film Kids

What are your names?

Bobbi, Letti, and Altin

What grade are you going into?

Bobbi - Ninth grade

Letti - Eighth grade

Altin - Ninth grade

How did you hear about the camp?

B - My drama teacher introduced it and they got in touch with StoryArk

L - Same as above

A- Same as above

What projects are you working on in film camp? (group question)

We are currently working on comedy short film and working on a sitcom.

What do you like about film camp? (group question)

  • Something to do because there is nothing much going on this summer.

  • It is a great opportunity, learning about the creative process, and working as a team.

  • It is very inviting and open in film camp.

Why are you interested in film?

B - My mom is in the entertainment business as a stunt woman and that is how I got into film.

L - I have always loved film. My dad is also an actor.

A - I always have wanted to be an actor.

What do you think about the California weather compared to Minnesota weather? (group question)

  • California is always hot, but then for 2 weeks it is freezing cold.

  • Minnesota has seasons and they get to sled a lot.

What did you know about Minnesota before?

B - Nothing much

L - Nothing much

A - I watched the movie “Fargo” and learned a bit

Do you like the online system? (group question)

It is harder to connect with people not face to face. It’s a different experience, so I prefer being in person.

Your Monthly Chuckle

by Rose

Grade 6

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It's Poll Time!

We Want to Hear from You!

We are looking for your submissions! You can be featured on the Boomsite Newsletter and also on Covid Operation on Tuesdays! Email Ivy at or click here!

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StoryArk provides a variety of creative programming for youth, allowing them to tell their story through their chosen medium - whether that be a novel, poetry, film, song, podcast or anything else they can dream up. Student initiated and student led, each project is imagined, designed, and developed by youth. Professional authors, screenwriters, filmmakers, musicians, producers, directors and actors share their expertise and experience, helping students gain new skills in their craft and empowering them to become their best creative selves.

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