The People’s Paper

Brooklyn TexasComment

One night a few weeks ago, Olivia and I (Emily) were at dinner with a friend post-happy hour. The subject of how we all knew each other came up, and Olivia explained that even though we did go to the same high school (the arts high school that Beyoncé went to, too), we didn’t really know each other and we became much closer our junior year of college. Our friend, of course, then asked what we thought of each other at the time. We never had a class together and really only knew of each other through mutual friends — but then I burst out laughing when I remembered the one single time Olivia and I ever saw each other outside of the hallways at school.

One Saturday in 11th grade, Olivia invited three friends over from her French class, one of whom was my closest friend in theater class who then invited me. I was extremely excited, because the whole purpose of the hangout was to talk about creating a school newspaper  — we didn’t have one, and as an overachieving creative writer, I was VERY on board with this. Amanda, my friend from theater, had sketched out some trippy OZ Magazine-inspired layouts; it had already been decided that the paper would be called The People’s Paper, and even though I don’t think we even began talking about what kind of content would be in the paper, it was definitely supposed to have a communist bent.

Most of us fawned over the sketches, but Olivia was languid. She was totally exhausted, because the night before she had thrown a little party, and a boy had stayed the whole night (scandalous!) without her parents noticing. I felt like I was thrown into a foreign country where no one spoke English. It wasn't even that what Olivia had done was so outrageous, it was that I was such a good kid that I could not comprehend how you’d even start thinking about getting away with any of that stuff. I didn’t know how to procure alcohol or throw a party or anything like that, and she was so casual about it like she did it all the time. It seemed too cool, and maybe would have felt a little like the movie “Thirteen” had Olivia not been so nice and chill in her rainbow tie dye shirt and ripped jeans. She had a little Goldshläger left, and let us all try some, no big deal. I remember thinking that I was a little bit of a badass for drinking booze in the middle of the day, even though I tried less than a tablespoon of the cinnamon schnapps.

It’s probably needless to say that The People’s Paper never got off the ground, even though I’m pretty sure I still have those original sketches at my parents’ house somewhere. But, when we were telling this whole story recently, we realized that even though we hadn’t really known each other back then our only connection in high school had been our 17-year-old dream to start a publication together. Almost ten years later, after actually becoming friends in a foreign country, we did make our own little People’s Paper with BKTX! Only with a little bit less scandal and a LOT less Goldshläger.