By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Amanda Warner was pretty giddy. So was her mom, Michelle.
The hard part was figuring out who was more excited.
Amanda, a senior at McNary High School, was with fellow The Write Club members May 29 when they opened the box containing hardback copies of the book The Paperside Gathering, filled with short pieces by club members.
The club, formed three years ago by Keizertimes associate editor Eric Howald, allows students to explore their creative writing side. Pieces from throughout the school year are gathered and put into the book, unveiled at the end of the year.
A $530 grant from the Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund, plus additional funding from the newspaper, allowed everyone to get a hardcover copy of the book this year.
“Actually having it in my hand, my hands are shaking,” said Amanda, who had six pieces in the book plus the back cover. “It’s so cool to see it altogether like this. The group was bigger last year. It was more intimate this year. It felt more like a family.”
Michelle proudly read her daughter’s pieces and immediately started figuring out how many copies of the book to buy for family members.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Michelle said. “She’s so excited. I want to buy a whole box of the books. This renews your faith in teenagers. It’s like sneaking a peak into their heads.”
Amanda was looking through the book along with fellow senior Brittney Gilbertson, who did the cover, 10 stories and inside illustrations.
“I kind of forgot about some of them,” Gilbertson said while thumbing through the book. “I’m glad I got it done in time. I’m a horrible procrastinator. I can’t believe I’ve actually done something like this. This is going to be forever.”
While Gilberton did the cover, she noted it was a group effort.
“Everyone came up with an idea for the cover,” she said. “It was all collaboration. It came together really quickly. The title and the drawing were done in one day.”
Junior Zach Abbas, a first-year group member, had two pieces in the book.
“I got an e-mail from Eric about this book party,” Abbas said. “I couldn’t wait. I had a hard time focusing all day. The whole day, I looked forward to it. It’s a bit unreal. I’ve never been published in anything. To hold my work and the work of others is fantastic.”
Abbas looks forward to being an experienced member of the club next year, helping new members.
“I’ll be able to put myself in their shoes and pull them into the fold,” he said.
Senior Jason Wiskow, who had 10 pieces in the book, won’t have that opportunity.
“It was exciting to get into the book, but it’s also sad because I don’t get to come back,” said Wiskow, who will be going to Chemeketa Community College to learn sign language. “This is my second year in the group. It’s been completely life changing. I was shy and timid last year. Through Eric and being able to express myself, I’m able to see I’ve done it. The encouragement from Eric and the others helped a lot. This book is going to go on the shelf with the other one.”
Other authors were Tyler Bays, Taylor Bomar, Maria A. G-Warden and Meadow Wheaton.
Copies of the book are available at the Keizertimes office for $5.