Continuing the vision of the spring 2020 students, the Creative Writing students complete the formerly unfinished edition of Excursions, Academy’s creative writing magazine, after lockdowns prevented its initial publish in the 2019-2020 school year. (Photo Credit: Maddie Glaum/Adobe Photoshop/Achona Online)
Continuing the vision of the spring 2020 students, the Creative Writing students complete the formerly unfinished edition of Excursions, Academy’s creative writing magazine, after lockdowns prevented its initial publish in the 2019-2020 school year.

Photo Credit: Maddie Glaum/Adobe Photoshop/Achona Online

Creative Writing Publishes “Excursions Literary Magazine: Beyond the Stars” Amidst Pandemic Setbacks

February 10, 2021

The setbacks of a pandemic, virtual school, and the graduation of an entire class of students have not distracted Academy’s Creative Writing elective from its near-decade-long tradition: the annual publishing of Excursions Literary Magazine

The 2019-2020 edition of the student-led magazine, “Excursions: Beyond the Stars,” was recently published on Jan. 27 on iBooks. It features work from students who were in the Creative Writing elective during the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school year. The magazine features original one-act scripts, monologues, poems, essays, and short stories. 

In this edition of Excursions magazine, we, the Creative Writing students of the Academy of the Holy Names, call each of our readers to question what makes each of us, us. Just like the planets, we are all different. We can be passionate, romantic, and ambitious. Or, we can be vulnerable, mysterious, and forgotten.

— Excursions Literary Staff

Since 2013, Excursions has been entirely student-led and student-published; students in the Creative Writing II elective, a class available only to students who have completed their first year of Creative Writing, compose the team of editors. These editors work throughout the year inside and outside of class to design a theme for the annual magazine, including deciding which pieces to include. 

“I loved being an editor of ‘Beyond the Stars’ so much. I got to read everyone’s stories from throughout the year, each written based on different prompts we were assigned, and it’s so amazing to see everyone’s creativity come to life through their writing. It’s overall just a really cool experience,” said Excursions Editor Jayse Angel (’21).

The theme for the 2019-2020 edition of Excursions is “beyond the stars,” a concept inspired by the “out of this world” perspectives showcased in the magazine. As such, the magazine is categorized by nine sections, each titled as one of the nine planets, and each pertaining to a certain theme or emotion. For instance, the first section, Mercury, represents “a ferocious plethora of emotions” reflective of the planet’s tumultuous atmosphere. “Whether through themes of sadness, anger, or joy,” the magazine reads, “the reader will be engulfed by the immense ardor of Mercury.”

“While it was difficult to complete ‘Beyond the Stars,’ it was still so much fun, and I can’t wait to be an editor of Excursions again this semester,” said Excursions Editor Amelia Cuttle (’21).

The pieces for each edition of Excursions are selected from the work of students in Creative Writing I and II, as each creates pieces throughout the year in different styles of writing, such as a one-act script or a poem. About 20 pieces are chosen for each edition of the magazine. While “Beyond the Stars” does feature 20 pieces of writing, the magazine does not exclusively feature works from the 2019-2020 school year.

“We were tasked with filling in all the spaces the previous editors left behind, while still trying to keep their vision,” said Cuttle.

Due to Academy’s abrupt transition to online learning in Spring 2020, the magazine was not completed before the end of the 2019-2020 school year. With six of the nine previous editors among the graduating class of 2020, “Beyond The Stars” was finished by the current Creative Writing students by coupling pieces from last year’s students with this year’s. 

Left to right: Jayse Angel (’21), Julia Urban (’22), and Amelia Cuttle (’21) were the three editors of the “Beyond the Stars” magazine. (Photo Credit: Maddie Glaum/Achona Online)

“The editors have spent countless hours and uncountable meetings above and beyond what would otherwise be required of them to bring a vision to life that isn’t even theirs,” writes Excursions Faculty Advisor Dr. Lauren Oetinger in the magazine’s preface. “They have felt the weight of interpreting the vision of last year’s editors. I believe this issue [of Excursions] does justice to the vision held by the spring 2020 staff, and that the efforts of all contributing authors and editors are tangibly felt.”

The magazine, as well as all previous editions from as early as 2013, are available to download for free on iBooks. With original short stories, one-acts, and poetry about love, anger, and ambition, there is something for everyone to enjoy in “Beyond the Stars.” 

“We encourage you to look deeper than the surface level to help you interpret these writings and recognize their true beauty,” the preface reads. “Beauty that is eternal, undeniable, and shines brightly and true, amongst the planets and beyond the stars.”

Download “Excursions Literary Magazine 2019-2020: Beyond the Stars” here.

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  • Amelia CuttleFeb 11, 2021 at 11:38 am

    Thank you so much for writing this, Maddie! I am so proud of all the work we did this year, and I truly hope everyone loves the magazine! 🙂 <3