By Lauren Siegel
At age 15, Julia Aizuss ’14 is already a published writer and the author of three novels.
High school magazine Polyphony H.S. published Aizuss’ short story, “The Grand Canyon Isn’t a Miracle, It’s a Threat” about a woman reflecting on her boyfriend’s suicide.
Hers was one of 77 accepted pieces. 1,618 pieces were submitted by students all over the world. Aizuss said it was the best story she had written. She wrote it in December 2010, and after it was accepted in April 2011, worked closely with the editors of Polyphony H.S. through email. Polyphony H.S. spent a couple weeks suggesting edits and discussing the story with Aizuss before publishing it in August.
“I can’t say what inspired me, it just came out of my keyboard very unexpectedly,” she said.
Aizuss also participated in National November Writing Month in the Novembers of her sixth, seventh and eighth grade years. She achieved the 50,000 word goal for all three of her submissions. NaNoWriMo requires participants to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Aizuss found herself writing at least 1,667 words a day in order to meet the Nov. 30 deadline.
The event was started in 1999 by freelance writer Chris Baty in order to promote literature, literacy and learning.
Ben Knight ’14, Michael O’Krent ’14, Micah Sperling ’12 and Tom Thorne ’14 are also attempting to write a novel for NaNoWriMo this month.
“While all my family was over at my house for Thanksgiving, I would go back to my room now and then and spend some time at the computer writing more,” Aizuss said.
Her first novel for NaNoWriMo was about “an antisocial girl who recedes into a fantasy world and the consequences of this action,” Aizuss said.
Her second told the story of a girl writing a novel for NaNoWriMo and the adventures that accompany the writing process. Her third was about a teenager’s nostalgia for her childhood.
Aizuss spent the past two summers in the creative writing program at Interlochen Arts Camp.
“Those two summers were the best two summers of my life,” Aizuss said. “The best stories and the best poetry I’ve ever written, I did there.”
Aizuss found that the lack of distractions at Interlochen helped her dedicate herself completely to her creative writing and poetry. Without internet, school work or her cell phone, Aizuss was able to focus and create her best work yet.
Though Aizuss is an avid creative writer, she is cautious to declare a future career as an author.
“The best writing comes from experience,” Aizuss said. “If you decide you want to be a writer as a teenager and spend the rest of your life trying to pursue that instead of living, how will you ever be able to write well? It’s a little bit of a conundrum.”
Regardless, Aizuss continues to write short stories and foster her love of creative writing.
“[Writing is] the best way of dealing with your emotions, even when you’re not writing a journal entry,” she said. “There’s something therapeutic about it. Something cathartic.”