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Library Zine! Voices from Across The New York Public Library

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Explore selections from the first issue of Library Zine!—a creative writing magazine containing original writing and visual art submitted by library patrons and staff of all ages.

“The Vendor” by Tyler Thier | “NYPL Mission Statement Song” by Deborah Andrews | “Storm” by Cydalia Acevedo | “In a Matter of Hours, In Matter of One Day” by Tabrizia Jones | “Journey on Kevin” by Kira Grace Jackson

“The Vendor” by Tyler Thier

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"Maiden Lane, New York. Jewelry centre of the world." Image ID 1659319

I have a quota to meet, an Ithaca
to reach, some memberships to acquire,
but I dare not harass this void-eyed
soothsayer pacing beneath his sheltered
awning, like Tiresias tilting skyward in a cave.

No approaching him with hornet strides today,
for as a clairvoyant tears through the fabric
of Fate, this man sees the past, present,
future, and in between. He deals in antiques,
after all. 

Give him a rusted Nazi emblem and he’ll cast
it off to the private collections of the world,
erase its violence like Time bleaches his sight.
Or that dead orphan in a sepia-tone photograph,
finally finds her a new family on the warmth of
a black-wood mantelpiece.

I see him hobble into a pastry shop a few times
to keep dry, buy a corn muffin once, watch the rain
again. His teeth are as crooked as his curbside table,
chattering into the afternoon. No, I dare not pry.
I leave him to his magic.

Tyler Thier is an MFA student from Long Island. He enjoys escaping suburbia every now and then to explore New York City and its various art-world events. In addition to losing himself (or rather finding himself) in the Big City, he also loves a good day at the beach near home.

“NYPL Mission Statement Song” by Deborah Andrews 

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"The New York Public Library Exterior." Image ID ps_ar_37

I lead the children;
We teach the teens
And we do everything in between.
I make the flyers
And we speak the Spanish
And I bring in programs, all I can manage.
I sing the songs
I teach the tech
And I champion this all for the whole biblioteque.
So read me a book, sing me a song
We’ll remember these things all our life long.
So teach me computers, tell me about college
We’ll thank NYPL for advancing our knowledge
So bring in new programs and create a sense of unity
And we’ll all feel strengthened in our High Bridge Community!

* These words have been set to music and performed at an NYPL regional meeting.

Deborah Andrews was an information assistant who offered children's programs filled with her original songs at the High Bridge Library. She gets immense joy out of entertaining the babies, toddlers, and their parents of the High Bridge Library with singing from her books based on her songs, doing countless activity songs, and at times accompanying the group on guitar. Dr. Andrews is also the mezzo soprano soloist at Our Lady of Victory Church in lower Manhattan as well as a private voice instructor.

“Storm” by Cydalia Acevedo

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"Real lightning." Image ID 407617

What is a storm? A storm can come in many forms. It can be a storm of snow, ice and frigid temperatures that freezes your fingers to the metal bar of the local bus stop sign, or the blinding snow that makes driving impossible. It can be a sand storm that makes your eyes gritty and your skin itchy with rashes. It can be the tornadoes that form on the plains of the Midwest. It can be feelings.

The feelings that run through our bodies come in many forms - anger, rage, happiness, sadness, surprise, shock, or fear. One alone is a feeling or an emotion. However, our emotions rarely come as single entities. Our emotions come in waves and in combinations which can be even more powerful and dangerous than the storms in the sky or on the horizon.

Injustices towards our person make us angry and, therefore, jolt us into taking an action that will rectify that misdeed resulting in happiness. Alternately, it can have the opposite result. You feel that you are doing the right thing; but in the end, your effort was futile and it leaves you bitter for the duration of your life. While they are not connected in the conventional way, a storm of emotions and weather storms have more in common than some people might imagine. Both are caused by disturbances that must be rectified in order to see the light.

This is the fictional moment when two sisters start to work out the problems in their own personal storms or risk remaining rigid on the precipice of greatness and watching life unfold before them.

“Still working on your novel?” a young woman happily calls outs.

“Yes, I am working on a section of my book.” the writer replies, not taking her eyes off the paper in front of her that contains her handwritten notes.

“However, I do not know if I have it right. I think I am going in the wrong direction. What if no one will be interested in the novice ideas of an unknown writer?” her voice betrays both her fear and doubts in her own talents.

“Stephen King was, at one time, an unknown writer. Stop being so hard on yourself and focus on your goals.” the eldest sister, Sabrina, replies as she carries two mugs of hot chocolate into the living room “Let me read what you have written so far.”

“Are you sure you want to read such trite?” Isabella looks at her older sister.

“First, never put down your own work before someone has a chance to read it, as it gives the reader an image that the writer is not proud of his work.” Sabrina hands her sister a cup of cocoa “Second, people that use a word such as trite often make the best writers.”

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Isabella smiles as she takes one of the cups of cocoa.

Grabbing the laptop and carrying it over to the black couch, Sabrina sits down and reads the first few lines of her sister’s book.

“This is really good.” Sabrina looks over at her sister “I love the way you described feelings as a storm of emotions.” She looks back at the screen, then over toward her sister “What about when people have an argument? Isn’t that synonymous with weather fronts; two opposing factions at odds with one another?”

“Or maybe even two people on the same side but just going about it differently?” Isabella takes a sip of the cocoa.

“That’s the idea.” Sabrina sips her cocoa “Make sure you work into the characters’ dialogues and backstories the storms they have faced in their lives.”

“Or maybe even two people on the same side but just going about it differently?” Isabella takes a sip of the cocoa.

“That’s the idea.” Sabrina sips her cocoa “Make sure you work into the characters’ dialogues and backstories the storms they have faced in their lives.”

“You should be a writer.” Isabella smiles at her sister “You have amazing ideas.”

“My ideas are just an extension your ideas.” Sabrina glances over to her camera and her photograph portfolio “Besides I am still trying to get my nerve up to send my pictures into that competition. I am not a professional photographer. What if I get laughed out of the business before I am truly a part of the business?”

“Now look who is being too hard on themselves.” Isabella looks at her sister, “You are a great photographer.”

“And you are a great writer!” Sabrina shouts. “You need top sitting on the sidelines. Get out onto the field and make your name known in this world!”

“True, but we both need to enter the arena. We need to face this storm together! What if you take pictures of what my book represents and I will go over them and decide on one for my cover.”

Isabella hands her sister her camera.

“I will think it over.” Sabrina glances at her camera. “I am not a professional photographer.” She notices the annoyed look Isabella is giving her. “I know. I know. Face my fears and weather-the-storm.”

Just how Isabella is always second guessing her own writing, Sabrina always doubts her skills as a photographer. It is humorous how these two sisters possess the same traits and clearly see them in each other but not within themselves. The rain inside storm clouds, much like recognition and acceptance of one’s own self-worth, is waiting to be released from their confines.

Over the course of the next few months, the winter would bring two major snowstorms. On these crisp, chilling days, Sabrina would venture out to take many pictures of falling snow, a winter sky, and icicles forming on the edges of the roofs. Slowly, winter made way for spring and the thaw. The warmer days beckoned her outside, so she walked the well-shoveled sidewalks to take pictures of the first vestiges of melting snow and falling rain as a few bolts of lightning flashed in the distance. With every new hint of the coming spring, the sisters’ pride in themselves and their work broke through their defenses and started to dance in the dawn of a new day.

Cydalia Acevedo was born and raised in The Bronx. She has enjoyed writing ever since she was old enough to hold a pen. Writing to her is not only a way to create the fictional worlds that she wants but also to escape the problems of the real world. She started attending her local library, Eastchester Branch, at the age of 9. Since then, she has been to several libraries in the Bronx and Manhattan areas.

“In a Matter of Hours, In Matter of One Day” by Tabrizia Jones

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"Two women and a child standing on step in front of a doorway of a house." Image ID 18SCCAB

In a matter of hours
In a matter of one day
Our hope burned out
The rights we hold dear to our hearts
Disappeared like a ghost in the night
The young’s eyes, filled with exuberance and innocence
Look up into our own, asking us “Why?”
“Why did we do this?”
Our silence speaks volumes
As the dark cloud hovers
In a matter of hours
In a matter of one day

The King’s dream
The stem of our fight for change
Our cause for hope
A laughingstock amongst arrogant men
The lady in green
A symbol of freedom and dreams
Now shivers in fear
Uncertain of what is to come
The flag, waving proudly in the heavens
Lost all meaning
In a matter of hours
In a matter of one day

The media says “Accept”
The media say “We must unite”
The media does not say “We’re sorry”
The idolized, used, benefitted
Not once seeing the truth
The trust has gone
The pain lingers
In a matter of hours
In a matter of a day

I feel lost
I am angry
I feel empty
My country is gone
My heart is shattered
This heavy cloud has told me
It’s not okay that I’m me
It’s not okay that my family are here
My friends are different when we are one in the same
Now, we must wait
Our uncertain future lurks around the corner
All the progress we made
All the hope we accomplished
Undone
In just one hour
In just one day

Tabrizia Jones is a native New Yorker and was born and raised in the Bronx. She is currently a Young Adult Librarian of the Sedgwick Branch and is one of the editors of Library Zine!.

“Journey on Kevin” by Kira Grace Jackson

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Inspiration: The death of a friend struggling to beat drug addiction and depression.

Kira Grace Jackson is a bi-racial artist, social advocate and college student who was born in the Bronx, New York. It was in the Bronx where she sharpened her passion for life before moving to continue her educational studies in New Jersey and Illinois. In the Bronx, and throughout New York City, she appeared on various stages and cable productions, alongside her mother Thaïs Sherell, bringing awareness to community concerns and social issues.

 

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See more original writing and visual art from Library patrons in Library Zine!

 

Comments

Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

I am so proud of my daughter

I am so proud of my daughter CYDALIA ACEVEDO on her latest publication through the NYPL ! She has worked very diligently on all of her creations from concept to pen to text to actual print and final publication ! CONGRATULATIONS

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