Photo by James Moore ’16/ Illustration by Alec Vick ’15 – Graham Armknect ’18 said he writes urban fiction short stories using past decisions to find inspiration. He hopes to continue to sharpen his story ideas.
By AK Alilonu ’16
Graham Armknecht ’18 has a unique relationship with short story writing.
His genre is urban fiction, which he describes as having “a modern-day setting with fantastical elements.”
For instance, he has a story set in New York and London that features gargoyles and slaying demons.
But Armknecht’s writing style is a little more complex than ordinary fantasy.
“Writers are driven by a lack,” he said, paraphrasing Ray Bradbury.
His own lack?
“Past decisions,” he said.
“I think about what would’ve happened if I had gone one way instead of another one,” he said.
According to Armknecht, that void colors his writing.
“I might think a happy thought, but I paint it with a bit of a darker overtone so that it’s a bit more accessible to audiences,” he said.
He described that strategy in his favorite piece, “A Single Lamppost.”
“It seems really, really dark at first,” he said.
“This guy found out he was being cheated on and broke up with his girlfriend—but, after a short walk, he realizes it’s not really a downside because there’s so much light around him.”
Armknecht is a very active member of The Write Life, and regularly submits pieces like “A Single Lamppost” to the club.
Edward Nolan ’15, who heads The Write Life, reads and critiques his work.
While he thinks that the freshman has some “first-time writer issues,” Nolan likes “A Single Lamppost” more than anything else Armknecht has put together.
“The writing itself is profound and has good messages,” Nolan said.
Armknecht agrees that he could use some improvement.
“I have so many great ideas in my head,” he said. “It’s just they’re so blunt.”
He said he hopes to sharpen those ideas by the time he is a senior.
For now, he continues to write as “a way to process what (he’s) going through at that point in time.”
However, Armknecht said he doesn’t just write for himself.
“I’m hoping to change a lot of people’s conceptions about freshmen,” he said.
The ninth-grader says that there is a negative connotation with being a first year Brophy student that he is trying to remove by working hard at his urban fiction.
“I want the bar to be set high for everyone who comes after me,” Armknecht said. “Because then people will always strive for more greatness. It will be a continually developing snowball and eventually we’ll just have a giant snowball of awesome freshmen.”