The old adage is true—writing is rewriting. But it takes a kind of courage to confront your own awfulness (and you will be awful) and realize that, if you sleep on it, you can come back and bang at the thing some more, and it will be less awful. And then you sleep again, and bang even more, and you have something middling. Then you sleep some more, and bang, and you get something that is actually coherent. Hopefully when you are done you have a piece that reasonably approximates the music in your head. And some day, having done that for years, perhaps you will get something that is even better than the music in your head. Becoming a better writer means becoming a re-writer. But that first phase is so awful that most people don’t want any part.

120 Seconds With…Cali Chesterman

Cali is the author of "Two-Millionths Sneeze".

  • Day job: High school senior.
  • 3 favorite authors: Cassandra Clare, Charles Bukowski, Augusten Burroughs.
  • 3 artists you most admire: Artemesia Gentileschi, Henry Asencio, Henri Matisse.
  • How do you get going with your work?: Either to pass time on the bus or procrastinating an assignment.
  • If we googled your name, what would we find?: An organization I volunteered for once, the online copy of my school’s cultural newsletter that I write articles for and profusely advertise, my name listed under “Honorable Mention” for pieces I had submitted to the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition.
  • What’s your favorite way to waste time at work without getting caught? Daydreaming or conversing with friends… I don’t really waste a lot of time. I take my work very seriously. 
  • Name two words you always misspell: Definitely and conundrum.
  • What’s the last song to get stuck in your head? "You Know I’m No Good" Amy Winehouse Ft. Ghostface Killah.
  • What’s a movie you can rewatch or a book you can reread over and over again? Forrest Gump.
  • Describe your dream workspace/studio: Near Center City, where there is a lot of hustle and bustle, cultural crossovers, varying age groups, and history, all in one convenient location. I need culture and chaos in order to flourish in art and writing. Ideally, my inner studio/ workspace will have three rooms, all with wooden floors. One room will be my living space, complete with a cabinet full of candy. One room, the largest, will be my workspace, with my desk and computer set up on one side of the room and artworks in progress on the other side. A huge stereo system will be in the middle of the rooms. There will be a few windows for ventilation and lighting, but that’s it. The third room will be a storage space.

Vol. 13 MOMENTUM: Louis McGill - “Hypnic Jerk”

“‘Hypnic Jerk’ is a story about the momentum of life, and how it can
run off without you if you let it.”—Louis


It felt like a splash-down from a jump off the Golden Gate Bridge.

I woke up with a start after that half-asleep feeling like I was hurtling downward. At two in the morning, I still couldn’t get to sleep. My mind reeled after the past few days. Life felt like it was gaining speed, slipping away and I couldn’t hold on. Soon it may run off without me.

I sat up and picked a glass of water up off the bedside table.

Didn’t I just graduate yesterday? I thought.

No, that was at least two years ago, said that know-it-all little voice in the back of my head.

Quiet, I said.  I graduated, moved, moved again, left everything behind, and here I am. How long have I been here?

Nearly a year, now.

When did that happen?

Well, I guess it sort of crept up on us.

Smartass. I took a sip, set the glass back down, and tried to go back to sleep. I knew sleep wouldn’t come easy. It hadn’t for days, ever since this thought latched on to my psyche like a tick.

Well it’s not like you didn’t see this coming, the voice said.

She’s getting married, I said. Everyone’s getting married. Everyone’s having kids. Everyone’s moving on, and I’m halfway across the country from anyone I give a damn about.

Wah, wah, wah. You knew this would happen when you left.

I didn’t have much of a choice, now did I?

Sure you did. You had two choices: go or stay.

Like the Clash song.

Now who’s the smartass?

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