It’s all a Blur: Lake Erie Ink’s teen writers reflect on life today in new anthology

This year’s Lake Erie Ink Teen Editorial Board last Thursday, June 23 released its
 it’s sixth annual anthology of teen writers, “Blur”—a title perhaps fitting as the writers express themselves on topics like being a teenager today, to coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, to just living life.

Writer, Jordan Kilgo (Heights High)“What is ‘Blur,’” states the eight-member teen editorial board. “There is no definitive answer, but our anthology gathers the voices of authors across our region, each with their own definition.”

Editorial board member, 14-year-old Elk Kikel, has a similar take on the anthology and its meaning. “I think that’s an accurate [title] because life is all a blur and it passes by so fast,” she says. “I feel like a lot of people wrote stories about good times and bad times and it got mixed together. It would be joyful and intense, but never one thing.”

As blurry as the world was this past year, the teens working on the book were quite clear in their focus and commitment, meeting weekly since last August to complete this year’s anthology. More than 50 contributors from 10 different school districts and home schools worked on the project—working virtually together but also emphasizing their sense of community and opportunity for creativity throughout the past 10 months.

“There are slightly different perspectives, because we’re all from sort of the same place, but we have different experiences,” says Kikel.

Despite their different experiences, the editorial board members say composing entries for the anthology made them realize what a wonderful outlet for expression writing can be.

Teacher/Advisor: Aaron Babcock with editors, Jackie and Karley“’Blur’ shows where we are now in the world, and where are we in their world,” says Lake Erie Ink executive director Amy Rosenbluth. “If we need to get a pulse on where we are in the world, we need to listen to teens.”

This year’s anthology opens with a forward by Laura Maylene Walter, author of the novel “Body of Stars” and founding editor of Literary Cleveland’s Gordon Square Review.

The writers, Lake Erie Ink staff, and community members gathered last Thursday, June 23 at Lake Erie Ink in Cleveland Heights for readings by the authors and a chance to pick up a copy of “Blur,” which is now available at local bookstores around the city.

“Blur” is $12 and available at the following local bookstores: Mac's Backs Books, Loganberry Books, Visible Voice Bookstore, Appletree Books, Heights Arts Collaborative, and Made Cleveland.

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.