Monday, March 31, 2014

Welcome: From the Director – 2014

Ben Myers and Ken Hada (April 3, 2014)
On behalf of so many gracious volunteers, students and staff at ECU, I gladly welcome you to the 9th Annual Scissortail Festival. This year, eleven authors new to the festival join those who have returned. To all of you, and to the many audience members who celebrate creativity with us, I hope the festival is an inspiring experience. We have limitations of facilities and resources, but what we do have, we celebrate – and that is the love of the story, the need to tell and even more, the need to listen. We do it for applause, and we do it to applaud each other. During our longer and colder than usual winter just passed, I enjoyed rereading many of the authors who are on the program this year. I think this is an important exercise – to re-read the books on our shelves, to rendezvous with those who are writing those books, and to affirm the capacity to know and participate in creation.

The last line in B.H. Fairchild’s poem To My Friend captivates me: “the small darknesses we never see.” Something about this phrase sings poetry. It haunts those realities we feel, the fears and failures we sense, the joy we want to believe in. It points to the incalculable value of the creative arts. For us, authors and audience, these three days together may offer us the chance to see something that often eludes us. Together, we can at least look for it – whatever the “it” is for you at this time. Part of “it” for me is the recent loss of my favorite Uncle Max, who was one of the last links to my Hungarian ancestry, raised by my Great Grandparents Gustava and Julia, the family historian, the storyteller who knew well and paid attention to those from the “Old Country.” The last stanza of a tribute poem I wrote about Uncle Max may speak to what Fairchild imagines, and hopefully it includes you and your participation in this wonderful but all-too-short experience we live together:

See the surf – the waves beat
Against the shore but look out, look away
From this harsh moment and see
How the bay settles
Into endless beauty the way prairie grass
Flows forever in the wind
That calls us home
So I invite you to take part in as much as you can, make a friend, offer a ride, listen with good ears, laugh and love, even as we think about loss. To those who feel my use of nature is too sentimental, I leave you with one of my recent rough drafts, after thinking about Fairchild’s line and other matters, peace J

Three Days in April

Like a junkie
I keep coming back
Scissortail – I bet I’ve said or typed that word
A couple thousand times just this year alone –
It is the bird that makes me scratch
I cannot help myself
On my knees before you muttering
Hair messed up, unshaven, sleepless
All this for a fix
All my days, all my nights
Amount to nothing more than running scared
Afraid the last ecstasy will be the last
Worried sick that when I come down
Next time won’t bring me back up

Until it returns – gets me off, I float
In the freedom of language, the overdose
Of image and sound – Word.

For three days in April my itch is salved
Tripping far away and I am high
Where no bird could fly

Ken Hada

April 2014

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Scissortail 2014: The Poster

Winners of the 10th Annual R. Darryl Fisher Creative Writing Contest

Poetry Winners
First Place: Shannon Abbott, "Aurora", Norman North
Second Place: Neena Alavicheh, "Reflections in Leaves" , Yukon High School
Third Place: James Bratton, "The Port", Norman North

Honorable Mentions:
Larissa Lynch, "Mac's," Walters High School
Erin Haastrup, "Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister," Union High School (Tulsa)
Makayla Leann Bray, "Seven Plays of a Pawn," Ada High School
Alexis Skrunack, "This is Where I Am," Walters High School
Victoria Quiroga, "The Old Mill," Lawton High School
Dominique Bradley, "Ode to My Father," Lawton High School
Samantha Huckabay, "Dad Never Cooked Much," Norman North
Aubrey Crynes, "By Sophomore Year," Norman North
Sara Ishaq, "Alien," Norman North
Tanner Capehart, "After the Rain Dance," Sallisaw High School

Fiction Winners
First Place: Peter Biles. “The Patriot.” Latta High School. (Teacher: Holly Wood)
Second Place: Katelyn Elrod. “Remembering Audrey.” Chickasha High School. (Teacher: Jo Perryman)
Third Place: Sara Ishaq. “A Portrait of Genevieve Poole.” Norman North High School. (Teacher: Kathy Woods)

Honorable Mention
Whitney Stewart. “Therapy.” Moore High School. (Teacher: Eileen Worthington)
Misty Jeter. “The Singing Bird Flies Low: The Diary Of Harlequin Linchtstrahl.” Dickson High School. (Teacher: Jennifer Moore)
Jenny Corbin. “Screaming.” Bridge Creek High School. (Teacher: Leslie Munhollon)
Justin Wu. “Out of Time.” Norman North High School. (Teacher: Kathy Woods)
Andrew Mather. “Spatty.” Bartlesville High School. (Teacher: Darla Tresner)
Spencer Yue. “Tintoror.” Norman North High School. (Teacher: Kathy Woods)
Aryn Alderman. “Dream World.” Norman High School. (Teacher: Kaysi Sullivent)
Subhieh Matar. “Dark Detective.” Deer Creek High School. (Teacher: Jason Stephenson)
Jamie Lim. “When Lightning Strikes.” Norman North High School. (Teacher: Kathy Woods)
Ella Parsons. “Phantomes du Louvre.” Norman North High School. (Teacher: Kathy Woods)

"Aurora" by Shannon Abbott

Sweep me off my feet and carry me
Away through dense oak forests and mountain ranges high
Stretching up and up until they’ve mastered the clouds.

Take my hand and lead me
Away over the lakes so deep,
And fields of luscious green,
Sunlit and smiling.

Then pick me back up and show me the way
Under the watchful eyes of the midnight stars with
Stardust in my pocket to guide us in the
Blackest caves,
Silver shimmering on my fingers.

Do not stop until we arrive
The snow crisp and cool and beautiful beneath our feet
The tundra on its wedding day
And the bouquet tossed so high that the moon catches it
And laughs a twinkling laugh
Sending dancing petals across the sky

Remnants of roses red and lilacs purple.

"Reflections in Leaves" by Neena Alavicheh

Autumn is lonely.
Dead leaves take to running with the wind,
Their tiny legs skittering against the brown grass
In a dance of nostalgia and breathless laughter.

Wind fills my lungs,
And its scent is sweet and cold
As it infects my soul with a deep longing.
My hair flows with it, wildly yet gently stroking my face.
And I hear the footsteps of days long gone,
And of people whose voices are background noise to my journey.

Will I remember them?
Perhaps not, but like the warmth of my coffee, they linger
For now.
Clouds, in the brilliant blue sky, we float away from the older days.
But the sun warms my heart and calms my wanderlust.
Perhaps for forever I will live in this moment
Of warmth and contentment

Of dead leaves and the sweet, lonely smell of fall.

"The Port" by James Bratton

tall-mastered trawlers swarm with
leathery scaly wags gathered to hunt
the great blue-backed lobster
they leave the rocky coast behind
and travel to the salty waves

their backs are burdened with wool sweaters
and their own yellow shells
their senses with nauseous scents
that no longer register with the hardened hands
their faces with scars of storms past
and prickly grey beards
their minds with lives lost
and forgotten friends

they turn their backs to the shore

their faces to the winds

"The Patriot" by Peter Biles

A house propped its legs on a beach and was glad to be painted cool blue, because the house liked blue, and liked the ocean. Its shingles were drooping but at the same time firm, and the paint on the porch was peeling but somehow fresh and admirable.
It was an old house good enough to suit an old man, and lenient enough to be burdened by a girl of twelve. The village was snugly behind them, set in a pleasing arrangement of colors and sizes, but the crags and cliffs above them were even more pleasing, though they were arranged by nature and scoffed the ocean with black, stony hands.
Supposing that having few possessions means happiness, the old man and his granddaughter were two of the most well to do people around. The old man had a fiddle that he played to the girl on frightening nights, and the girl had a small guitar, its six strings still miraculously intact and its battered neck sleek from use. They played the instruments and had nothing else to smile on. The table in the kitchen was a scarred plank. The bowls were old and cracked, and the electricity flickered. The music from the fiddle and guitar, however, overruled the ruts in the wood, even the sad blinking the overhead light gave in the kitchen. The twangs and high cries only reminded the old man that he belonged to the girl, and that the girl belonged to him.
The night skies were more often lit with flash bombs in the distance than ocean storms. War cut through the southern villages but hadn’t the time to visit the small, rather unnoticeable beach town. Even when rumors of air raids forced the people on their toes, no planes except the mail deliveries ever circled overhead.
“Why is there war, Papa?” It was a night when the bombs sporadically made the beach town tremble. Beads of white like lightning sliced their way inside through the window in the kitchen. The old man was drinking a lukewarm cup of coffee and polishing the fiddle with his handkerchief. At the other end of the table, the girl was expectantly staring at him, waiting for an answer.
“I don’t know, Micah,” he said without looking up. “People make friends, but their friends always have enemies.” Another soft boom and a dim flash of light.
“It scares me,” said Micah.
“Me too.” Micah continued to stare, but acquired surprise. The old man had not changed the intent bleeding of his eyes on the dark wood. The admittance that he was afraid hadn’t hindered the motion of his hands.
“You’re afraid?” Micah said softly. “That can’t be.” He looked up and caught Micah’s rich, brown eyes, which he labeled as deep as any forgotten myth. He fingered his mustache and studied the child for a couple of silent moments.
“Do you think fear is a childhood pastime?” he asked her.
“I always thought it goes away when you get old,” replied Micah.
“I hope you are not disappointed, my dear. Fear is a parasite. It doesn’t go away unless you fight it away.”
Not a second subsequent to his words the wailing of a siren slit the night’s throat. Micah’s heart jumped and her pale cheeks became flushed. The old man put down the handkerchief, his eyes fixed through the window.
“Heaven forbid,” he whispered.
 The tremors from the bombs had turned into vehement quakes. The beach town was no longer unacquainted with the war.

"Remembering Audrey" by Katelyn Elrod

"A Portrait of Genevieve Poole" by Sara Ishaq

Chapter the First: Albert Farrell
            As in, the morning started off with one. Normally, I just shrugged it off, ‘cuz I got headaches all the time, so what’s one more, right? Wrong. This, this was the mother of all headaches, and Lord almighty, I really thought it would be the end of me. But I couldn’t let it take me down, not today. So I got dressed as quick as I could, a flurry of arms and legs as I tried to fight down the waves of nausea lapping at my consciousness.
When I finally finished, I reached over to my desk to grab my glasses, putting them on to clear the final wisps of blurriness only to reveal a whirlwind of mismatched socks, wrinkled slacks, and as the cherry on top, I’d even messed up the buttons on my shirt. Dear God, when did you stop loving me? I sighed and moved to my nightstand to check the time, glimpsing the wind though my window as I passed, tearing at the trees fast enough to give me whiplash. It was almost enough to send me back under my covers and I nearly caved…but I couldn’t miss school today- not with so much to look forward to.
My seat in class was right next to Genevieve Poole’s, and she was just the most charming girl that the sun ever laid eyes on. On my first day of school I was late, and she’d shown me a shortcut through a little garden with these pretty white flowers. I haven’t been late since then, not only because of the new route, but also because I didn’t want to miss sitting next to her, especially since today Genevieve was going to sing the lead in…