Rocketfuel Ignites Imaginations, the Yukon News story on my class

 

Photo by Ian Stewart for the Yukon News

My most excellent class of writers is the subject of a Yukon News article below.  These writers are an awesome group of imaginateurs.  I’m impressed, especially, with how they conducted themselves in an interview–thoughtful, insightful, well-read, interesting and interested in each other.  Love to start a book club with them!  

Article is by James Munson for the Yukon News.

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Zeb Berryman has some demons he’d like to share.

The 18-year-old scribe is an aficionado of the “dark side” in his literary circle, a dozen Whitehorse high school students known as Rocket Fuel.

“The darkness and violence is what makes it beautiful,” says Zeb, referring to one of his current anime reads.

Zeb’s comment elicits a few nods from his fellow science fiction enthusiasts sitting around the table in the FH Collins library.

These young adults have an encyclopedic knowledge of the fantasy genre, and can discuss the intricacies of alchemists, monsters, gods and goblins at length.

“It’s like literature discussion about a whole bunch of books you never get to hear literature discussions about,” says Jerome Stueart, a science fiction writer who started Rocket Fuel two years ago.

But more impressively, it’s their own literary creations they’re the most familiar with.

Ask any one of these students about their works, and it won’t be long before another interjects.

Franz Krabel, 12, tends to kill off his characters a lot, says Santana Berryman, Zeb’s 14-year-old sister.

Santana, for her part, has an obsession with the afterlife, says Stueart.

These writers know each other inside out.

Read the rest of the article

Fantasy-Filled Young Readers Give the Season Imagination

Rocketfuel, the youngest group of science fiction and fantasy writers in the Yukon, showcased their own writing (and art and music) Dec 4th at the Frank Slim’s Building at Shipyard’s Park.  It’s a nice venue with a roaring fireplace.  Makes it cozy.  Snacks were had, parents were entertained.  Must have been about twenty people there.  

About the readings–wow.  Okay, I know, I’m biased, but even I was blown away that night.  My boss, Mia Lee, was also amazed.  And the parents were too.  The writing was great, and fun.  We had readings about a day in the life of one of the heads of Cerberus, an alien abduction, a psychiatrist who knows a bit too much about Hell, an amulet that everyone wants, and other writings of imagination. 

Even the parents got to play when we brought out Justin Whitney’s patented Story Seeds, guaranteed to jump start a story, and starting playing the game around the room.  

I’d like to thank all those students in our Rocketfuel afterschool writing program–Franz, Hal, Santana, Zeb, Kylie, Erica, Kalyna, Renyka, Aubrey–and our emeritus writers Ashley, Bailey and Victoria.  We really do believe that writing contributes to the well-being of a young adult, and that fantasy and science fiction are part of our culture–a vivid part–that contributes to our cultural identity.  It can also change the way we see our world.  

Every culture holds dear a story that has supernatural elements in it, and this story defines and contributes to that culture.  Someone had to write about the dragon, Grendel and his mother, chomping on knights in the King’s Hall, or a Monkey to bring back the wisdom from the West, or captured a Djinn in a lamp, or brought a people across a sea split by the hand of God, and someone defined vampires, werewolves, ghosts and the Devil for a culture that enjoyed hearing the dark stories as much as the light ones….  Fiction even changed the way we celebrate Christmas. When our young writers write fantasy they are contributing to a long line of fantastical stories–to explain their world, even as they live in ours.  

The Young Author’s Conference understands this, and every summer, when the writers gather with our high schoolers, those writers read the works of our kids and at least half of them are fantasy and science fiction.  It’s important to develop a vivid and detailed imagination.  This is how adults solve problems—by imagining the solutions AND how to get there.  

Watch for the Yukon News article on Rocketfuel on Dec 23rd!  Woo-hoo!  

In January, TWO Rocketfuels start back up after school.  One at Porter Creek on Tuesdays and one at FH on Wednesdays.  If you think someone in your family might enjoy this, sign up through the Parks and Recreation, City of Whitehorse Leisure Guide or by calling Mia Lee at 668-8327.  

Treats, Beverages, and a bit of Fantasy, Shipyards Park, Fri. Dec 4

Students who are a part of Rocketfuel, the science fiction and fantasy writing group afterschool program–sponsored by the City of Whitehorse–will have a reading Friday night–TOMORROW–at Shipyards Park.  They’ll be reading from some of their current work.  There might actually be a story of Santa Claus meeting the Reaper…you never know.  

THE DETAILS:

Shipyards Park

Friday Dec 4, 7-9 pm.  

Treats, goodies, beverages like tea and coffee, and a bit of Fantasy to go home with and share with your season….

If you’re free tomorrow night, come by.  We’d love to have you.

Rocketfuel: Sci-fi/Fantasy Writing for teens starting at FH Collins

Through the City of Whitehorse, with the cooperation of FH Collins Secondary School, we’re about to start a new afterschool program, RocketFuel Relaunched, for high school students who want to write Science Fiction and Fantasy stories. We’ll be meeting after school in FH Collins beginning September 17th, 3:30-5:00pm. The program is 13 weeks long, or about the length of the semester, from Sept 17 to Dec. 10th. Sign up through the City of Whitehorse’s Leisure Guide. Come with your imagination, pen, notebook, willingness to write a lot and encourage each other. Snacks will be provided. Participants are there to write and learn, and will be expected to work hard on their own writing. Be warned: Don’t come if you don’t enjoy the writing! But if you are already writing—come join everyone else who’s writing the same things! We have a great core group started, and we’re looking to add many more writers to our group.

Spread the word! If you know of teens who would be interested in this program, tell them to sign up with the City. We’ll have posters up in the schools soon. But we’d like to let everyone know it’s coming!

Contact Mia Lee through mia.lee@whitehorse.ca