Writing has been my passion for as long as I can remember, and as a result I’ve been involved with the Thurber House ever since I was in fourth grade, when I attended a summer camp in the hopes of improving my craft. In fifth grade, I was asked to be a docent for the House, and I spent much of my free time explaining the intricacies of the building to tourists, sipping hot chocolate while decorating for various holidays, and interacting with people of all ages who shared my passion. My involvement waned by the time I was in high school and immersed in other activities. Flip the Page has been the perfect opportunity to reacquaint myself with a place I once considered a second home, but, more than that, it has allowed me to see others’ perspectives and learn more about writing and the nuances of life, literature is meant to capture.
I first heard about Flip the Page last year, and, excited by the possibility of publication, I submitted a poem, “Concussed and Nonplussed”. After being selected for the magazine, I was given the opportunity to read it out loud at the Columbus Arts Festival and listen to others in the magazine do the same. It was incredible what this small journal had the ability to do for dozens of kids, teachers, and parents, instilling confidence and pride and augmenting a vivacity for both writing and reading. When my friend Brie told me there was a selection committee made up of high schoolers, I knew I had to get involved.
Literature amazes me with its ability to convey idea, thought, knowledge, and, perhaps above all, truth. Even more amazing and curious is that these truths are individualized to each reader. Pieces that have changed my outlook on life leave others lukewarm, and vice versa. Nowhere have I found this to be more true than the Flip the Page Selection Committee room. Often we’ll stumble upon a piece that I’ll fight to include while someone else fights just as hard to leave it out. Overall, this promotes intriguing and enlightening discussion about every facet of a piece – and these are not seasoned, experienced writers inspiring these discussions. These are high school students with astute views of life as a whole and topics that range from love to death to the power of the human mind. And these kids definitely have that power.
I’m thankful to have been able to work alongside the rest of the committee to produce something palpable and beautiful and true. I can’t wait to get my hands on the finished copy of this year’s journal, but I have gained so much more from this than just the book; I’ve gained experience, countless inside jokes, and a community of writers, all passionate, all dedicated to this illuminating form of art.
Concussed and Nonplussed
By Kinsey Cantrell
Hilliard Bradley High School
Concussed and nonplussed, I sit in this chair
alone on a throne that bode me no wear
Disconnected, I’ve perfected the art of no thought
the pain is the bane and the shame is distraught
Thought I’m meek through the week, I may have found strength
in endings, upendings, and lending some length
to the notion of a potion I sip to feel numb
and sleep much too deep and keep a sure thumb
They ask me where I am and I cannot say
they ask me my name and I ask the day.
It’s been long here, inside my head
where the shade comes to fade and the haze lasts for days
and the rhyme holds be back and the prose pulls me forward
and the light is repulsive and the dark is no horror
Animal, I duck away from the noise
dogged by ponderings of perfect poise
parroting, slurred, the words I’m told are true
stepped up to bat and struck right through
Of sense I make none, of hopes I make many
they tell me to rest, give my musings no penny
I lie awake and dream of potential clarity
of a state I could know, one of disparity
There seems a wall between me and understandings constructed
And all the sights I could see this wall has obstructed
And all of the things that I could have lucked into
Remain out of reach the same way that you do
If I know not what I’m doing, does that not make me human?
In my scant knowledge, I know I’ll place no trust
And though my pleas increase by degrees
I’ve found I meander and I’ve found I am lost
and perhaps that is why I am thusly concussed.