Advanced Creative Writing with Columbia University

In Anna Schwartzman’s writing learning lab — one of our ongoing collaborations with the University of Columbia — students explored the intersection of music in literature.

Students analyzed literature from a variety of writers — like Virginia Woolf and Audre Lorde — who have used music in both their subject matter as well as the word choice in their work.

After exploring the concepts of voice, performance, and silence in storytelling, TUMOians created their own collection of poems and short stories.

Angelina Kelekian, 17

Ink And Deception
Chapter One: The Mysterious Murder

The office was cloaked in an unsettling stillness, with delicate rays of sunlight filtering through the half-open blinds, casting elongated shadows that stretched across the room. Every step I took seemed to disturb the air, as if the room held its breath, guarding its secrets with an unwavering silence. The scent of aged books mingled with the faint hint of ink, creating a distinct aroma that filled my senses and hinted at the stories that had unfolded within these walls…

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George Gasparyan, 21

Life After War

From one side burst bombs, another side tanks coming in on him. He will remember that scene all his life. Before, he could do anything he wanted, but now he could only sit home and dream about the time when everything was awesome. “Hey, Hey does anybody live here?” asked the teenager behind the veteran’s door. “Yes, yes you can come in,” answered the veteran. When the young boy came in and saw him, he asked: “What happened to you?” “Who are you? Why are you coming here?”…

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Luse Hakobyan, 15

All Natural Feelings of a Morning

I wake up suddenly, as if cold water has been poured on me. I am covered in sweat. I can’t remember what dream I was having. I look at the clock. It’s five. I definitely can’t sleep. Not because my sleep was disturbed. I’ve been having a strange feeling, which I can’t control, but at least I will try to explain. I am apathetic. I am trying to remember what happened last night. Hmm…

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Anna Danielyan, 20

Everyday Thing

The flood came unexpectedly.
It completely submerged everything. Slithered inside the houses, taking up residence and forcing everyone else out to the rooftops. That’s where we were, that’s where we’ve been for three days. In those days the fish started sprouting everywhere; they lived in the mailboxes, in the deepest underearth fractures of the sidewalk…

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Tatev Petrosyan, 13

Lost in Love

Pain. I feel it and my whole body is covered in cold sweat of pain. Pain comes from past, rules your present and determines your future. And what’s “funny?” You can’t get rid of it. It’s like a hazy room with four walls from which there is no way out. And you ask yourself “How to get out of this room?” And get the answer “No way”. You walk in that room searching for the end, to get out, to see the light, but haze…

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Riana Simonyan, 16

Excerpt from “Fatality”

She was right. With her, things were different. I never enjoyed talking. But when it was her— who was listening —I didn’t want to shut up. I wanted to talk, tell, complain and scream it all out. And I enjoyed it when she was screaming. I never wanted to stop exploring her, I couldn’t take my eyes off her. The moon became the eternal witness to our smiles…

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Riana Simonyan, 16


speed and air, a lot of it
the wind plays with my curls, it lifts the floral velvet on her thighs we lose the space, the time, we lose everything existing in space and time as we keep going crashing the thick blocks of air in front of us…

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