Griffin Larson-Erf, Sophomore

What activities are you involved in outside of school? I am a member of Poetry Club and Book Club at Niles North. I also acted in That’s My Story  2022 and I’m on the Boys’ Bowling team. I’ve been a member of Poetry Club and Book Club since last year, but I’ve been reading and writing poetry for much longer than that. Bowling team and acting were [activities] I only started this year.

What most significantly kindled your passion for creative writing? The funny and short answer is pencils. In first grade, I realized that I liked writing my name, and drawing little dots after it. I would just make large dots after my name whenever I had to write it down on something because I liked the feel of it. So when I say I liked writing when I was in first grade, that meant I literally liked using a pencil and writing stuff down. But then it eventually turned into me actually telling stories.

Is there a particular genre of writing that most intrigue you? I don’t limit myself much to genres. I tend to prefer stuff that’s non-realistic, especially supernatural. In terms of forms, I mostly write short stories and some poetry but other than that, I don’t have many genre constraints. 

What motivated you to start playing the saxophone? Basically, the big, fat noise. When I started [playing the saxophone], like most people in fourth grade, I remember any time we got to pick up instruments, I would put the sax to my lips and the first time I played it, it made this big, massive honk that scared all of the other people in the room. I did that a few more times because I liked it and I decided yeah, I’m doing this.

What is your favorite song/artist to listen to? Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Nirvana but hands down, my favorite song is Hallelujah by Rufus Wainwright. [The song] is not by him originally, but his version is far and away the best one. In my opinion, he’s the best. It’s one of those slow, emotional piano songs but between the way he sings and the lyrics, which are by Leonard Cohen originally and are very poetic and kind of bizarre, it brings chills to your spine and tears to your eyes. 

What motivated you to join the bowling team? I had a friend who was already on [the bowling team] as of freshman year and had been bowling for years. He had mentioned to a mutual friend of ours about getting him to join the bowling team and then that friend asked if I wanted to do it too. I was resistant at first, to be honest, but I eventually decided to give it a shot as a new thing.

What has been your favorite memory on the bowling team? My favorite memory of all the time I spent with those guys [the members of the bowling team] was the one practice before our first varsity tournament of the year. I started out a little rough, but then I ended up getting strike after strike and completely blowing my previous score out of the water and it was incredible. A lot of bowling practices were a calming thing for me. Everyone there took it seriously, no one was just slacking off. It was a very relaxed atmosphere to be able to get together with a bunch of people and then go to a bowling alley, slowly working on technique and ability.

What is a quote that inspires you and why? There is a quote by one of my favorite authors, Ray Bradbury, who once said, “We are cups constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” I like this quote because it distills everything that Ray Bradbury was. He treated life with an attitude that it was beautiful, especially that art was a craft, was a joy, was integral, having been a writer. His attitude of wonder toward life and toward his art fills me with the same kind of wonder and joy. He’s been very influential to me.

What is your greatest accomplishment? The [accomplishment] that sticks out foremost in my brain is Poetry Music Night 2022. I had been working on a poem for a long time and when I went up and recited it, it came out rockstar good. I have very rarely felt that good about an event in my life, and that was definitely a standout moment for me, a moment of exhilaration.

If you could give any piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be? To any age of myself, first I’d say, “Don’t be scared, time travel is real. I really am an older version of you, don’t think too much about it.” Followed by which I’d say, “You’re gonna eventually run into hard times, whether that’s struggling with homework or other work you have to do, or whether that’s your own mental health. When that happens, don’t let it scare you to the bone, because you’re going to find out that it doesn’t kill you. It doesn’t actually hurt as much as you think it’s going to and even when it does, you always get through it. You are much better at adapting and persisting than you realize you are.”