When You’re a YAC You Always Come Back

Editor's Note: Applications for the Young Authors Collective will open again in March, 2021.

YAC is a feeling. A sense of companionship through the formal notion of being trapped in the same room with eleven other people for two hours. As well as the more meaningful connection, which is writing. Words are stars we pluck from the sky, the flakes of snow that blanket the Earth, the dirt beneath our fingernails. Words are an escape, they are powerful, and they are a part of us when we write. Writing is of great value at YAC, especially when we share and receive, we are touching each other in a way that Covid-19 restrictions can’t impede. YAC is a home away from home. YAC is a new adventure every time. 

The first day of YAC’s fall semester of 2020 we met in the Grotto. Which is really not a grotto at all, just a wide empty basement with a bathroom, a kitchen and an armoire where a mysterious femur bone lurks. The Grotto is the most open place in the whole building where we can easily socially distance. The first day we each had a table to ourselves, though the rest of the meetings we would conduct we were simply in a circle of chairs because let’s face it, we all end up writing in our laps or on the floor anyways. 

When I first came into the space the room was silent, a much louder silence than I was used to. Before Covid, in YAC, we all sat in the parlor together, snuggling up on the couch or hitting our heads against the mantle in our awkwardly placed chairs. Back then, when it got quiet, it was the focused, thinking kind of silence that filled the room with a sense of peace. Here I felt the sting of anxious, sickening silence that thins the air and purses lips shut. It’s almost as if we were wearing masks over our mouths that prevented us from- oh, wait. We were. Mine was rainbow.

There were only four returning YACS this year and four graduated seniors whose absences were duly noted. While I immediately felt a longing to turn back time and stay in the past moment where all my friends were together, I was glad for the familiar faces I still had and for the opportunity to meet four new ones. 

I will admit the first meeting was stiffer than I was used to, but there were new people testing the waters, new minds to be tainted with chaotic writer energy. I was just glad to be there, to be out of my house and with people, to not be staring at a computer screen, a mocking hint of social interaction, and just acknowledge the fact that these people are real. They are my friends- or soon to be. They are writers and they are here to inspire and amaze me and work by my side to once again form a sense of community that has been broken for many people. I guess you could say coming back to YAC this fall was pretty amazing, but I do really miss the snacks.  

Kara Morrow is a senior in high school and has been at YAC for three years, as well as attending lighthouse summer camps for five years. They typically write an assortment of opinion essays, short stories and theater pieces, but enjoy almost any genre. Kara is usually found researching questionable things, baking exotic treats, and jamming to tunes.

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