Story Corner Comes to RACC

by Joshua Templin

Fans of NPR’s “Story Corps” should come to “Story Corner Series.”

With a cup of coffee and a chocolate chip cookie in my hands, I talked to Princess Peach while eyeing up Biggie Smalls and Michael Jackson in the corner of the room.

Those were some of the interesting costumes students wore to the October 30 Story Corner Series reading, held in the Ravens Lounge. The Story Corner Series is presented by the Creative Writing Program and features a collection of stories each month, submitted by students and selected by judges.

Three writers were featured in October, a group of about fifteen students and faculty members attended the event.

The focus of October’s stories was “Tales of Horror,” and the featured writers – Tana Acosta, Austin Graczyk – each brought their own unique takes on the theme.

The stage was appropriately spooky, littered with raven statues and plastic bones. A giant spider with spindly legs menaced the audience from directly in front of the podium. 

Tana Acosta, the first reader to present, took to the stage in a pink bow covered with cats and dogs. Her costume, including umbrella, was a riff on “raining cats and dogs,” and took the category of funniest costume for RACC’S costume contest.

Her story, “The Fault,” was a harrowing tale about a woman who could not confront her own guilt about a fatal car accident that she had caused. The story’s protagonist is confronted by the ghost of the man she killed.

However, its focus was more about grief and remorse than it was about the supernatural. Indeed, like in much good horror, the paranormal was merely a metaphor to confront some of the darkest parts of being human.

Acosta said that she wrote her story on a whim, but explained its themes: “Accepting the fact that you actually have done something wrong and making peace with that is something that people should really strive to do.”

Austin Graczyk, the second reader, presented a story called “Moonrise.” In it, two parents struggle to do right by their son (who readers learn is a werewolf.)

Although the story didn’t focus on traditional notes of terror, it touched on the parental dread of having harm come to one’s child. In this case, the parents themselves had to kill their son in order to free him from lycanthropy. 

Graczyk said the story was inspired, in part, by the “Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven.

The final story was presented by Hy Lam, and it was interesting in that it incorporated RACC as its setting. The story, “RACC Terrors: A Night to Remember at RACC,” was inspired by Lam’s own experiences in the Yocum Library.

Lam was working in the library at night when he thought to use it as a setting.

“I was just seeing how the trees were moving back and forth. RACC’s not creepy, but I kind of want to make it [have that] creepy factor.” Lam said.

The Story Corner Series is presented by the Creative Writing Program at RACC. Professors Joey Flamm Costello and Stephanie Andersen, who coordinate the Creative Writing Program, expressed how unique the program is: it offers classes to students interested in creative writing with a real focus on learning different genres.

Flamm Costello and Andersen said they hoped that the Story Corner Series would be a unique way for writers at RACC to be recognized and a fun way for students to communicate with each other.

The next Story Corner Series reading will be held on February 12. Its thematic anchor will be stories of love and romance. Interested students should contact Joey Flamm Costello in the Communications, Arts and Humanities Division. 

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