Newsletter #6
Hello again from the ScratchThat team. We are delighted to present you with our latest newsletter.

You may have heard the rumour, and it's true – care for ScratchThat has passed into new hands. The friendly faces you'll see at the end of every newsletter belong to Grace, Isabel, and Ellie. We're excited to bring you bites of inspiration over the next two issues of ScratchThat.

ScratchThat provides a space for QUT creatives to showcase their talents. Our next issue will be launched April 23. In the meantime, enjoy our fortnightly array of musings, art, and creative prompts to keep you fulfilled.
What we've been consuming
Grace:
Young Adult is an oft-stereotyped genre. That’s why I’d like to offer some YA recommendations based on other books you might have read. 


Firstly, The Bell Jar finds common ground with We Are Okay by Nina LaCour. LaCour delves into the psychology of sadness with eloquence, examining themes reflected in Plath’s masterpiece. 

If you liked the controversial style of The Catcher in the Rye, you’ll like Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick. These books feature the same fatalistic, self-destructive characters and portrayals of mental illness. 

The Crucible may be the classic, but The Witch by Finbar Hawkins asks you: what if there really were witches to hunt? A hauntingly candid style with evocative dialogue that will transport you back to Salem. 

If you liked The Great Gatsby and The Story of King Arthur and His Knights, you’ll love The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. This book, with it’s complicated characters and it’s luminously versatile style, blends mythology with modern day green lights.

Lastly, Frankenstein and Brave New World are redefined in Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. This book reveals the monsters that a military can design from children. Card interrogates the creators’ manipulation and the morality of monsters.

 

Ellie:

Reading: The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. (It’s sapphic and it slaps!)

Listening: The Empty Bowl podcast by Justin McElroy and Dan Goubert. I’ve been playing this meditative podcast about cereal to send me off to sleep filled with sugary-sweet dreams.

Viewing: The Storytellers exhibition at the Museum of Brisbane (inside City Hall). A whole section of MoB has been transformed into an illustrated storybook version of a Queenslander, and as you walk through the house you can read or listen to stories by Brisbane authors and view historical objects, art, and other interesting things from Brisbane’s history.
 

Isabel:

My recommendation to you is Little Weirds by Jenny Slate. 
I would happily live out the rest of my years nestled between the soft pink walls of Jenny Slate's brain. From the first page, Slate's unique voice springs forth from the paper and plants its warm palms on either side of your face, holding you firmly in place for the entirety of the book. Her words are fresh, thoughtful, and lovely, working to create breathtaking, unforgettable images. Reading Little Weirds feels like floating through an art museum at midnight, drifting past dozens of detailed oil paintings and scintillating sculptures that Slate has conjured up with her words alone.
If you want to read something like nothing you've read before, this is the book for you. 
A platter of ponderings
Grace:
As a reader and writer of Young Adult, people often tell me why they avoid the genre. I respect their preference, but honestly, I don’t get it. Young Adult is possibly the most expansive and varied literary genre out there.

Genre is excellent because it allows readers to find the perfect fit for their interests. Do you like killer hippopotamuses and queer cowboys? There’s a book for you. Family holidays and dystopian blackouts? We’ve got you covered. Alien narrators discovering the joys of domestic life? Please. Give us something hard.

The wonderful thing about YA is that it only has one defining feature: the protagonist is a young adult. That is a phenomenally broad classification, allowing for any and all other genres to fit inside. Because of this, YA has every kind of niche you could dare to imagine. 

 
Some people tell me their problem is the age gap itself. They are too old to relate to immature perspectives and the stories no longer resonate. I’d suggest that these people aren’t reading the YA books most suited for them. Think of The Book Thief, Lord of the Flies, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Outsiders. If the author is worth their salt, the writing will not be unrelatable just because you don’t share the character’s age.
 
There is so much YA that accommodates older tastes. Though the books are crafted for our youth, they have an incredible amount of diversity and dreaming ingrained in their stories. The works of Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Neil Gaiman and Patrick Ness attest to this, along with Australian writers like Anna Morgan, Karen Foxlee and Jane Godwin. There is, undoubtedly, something for everyone in Young Adult literature.
 
(In case you were wondering, the cowboy, holiday and alien books are: River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey, Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam, and The Humans by Matt Haig.)
Writing and art prompts just for you
What if you could buy time? 
 
Imagine a university student desperate to cram for exams. A minimum wage worker with a rent cheque due. The mother of a cancer patient who doesn’t have long enough. 
 
Magic like this does not come for free. But what is the price, the currency? What is the equivalent of minutes and hours? And where does bought time fit within a human life? 
 
Time does strange things to a person’s body.
Imagine this solution to overpopulation: half the world must sleep at night, and the other half must sleep during the day.

Neighbours are fated to never meet. Grocery stores and restaurants never close. All 9 to 5 jobs are either in the am or pm. 
 
What systems ensure that you’re asleep? Can you apply to transfer waking hours?

What happens when you sleep through the day, and meet someone who sleeps through the night?
Create something inspired by one of the four elements - earth, fire, water and air. 

Perhaps your piece will reflect the symbolic meaning of an element, or be from the perspective of your chosen element. 

Consider how each is capable of both great destruction and powerful healing. 
Happy scratching!
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