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Letter from the Editor (Spring 2022)

This letter, like the spring itself, gavottes swiftly by; we’re almost at the end of the year, and this calls for crisp words. This second anniversary issue of Folyosó has two special features: a section of pieces on puzzles (pieces about puzzles, pieces involving puzzles, pieces that are puzzles). There’s even a piece by someone who doesn’t like puzzles! So give these puzzles and anti-puzzles a whirl.

Then comes a section that will seem peculiar at first until (a) you get used to them, (b) you read Richard Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America, or (c) the disbelief evaporates on its own. Each of the pieces uses the phrase “trout fishing in America” in whatever way it pleases. The phrase can function as a noun, a verb, an adjective, or anything else.

The “trout fishing” pieces are a little bit strange. But that is part of the point. When you allow yourself to do unusual things with language, you hear it in new ways. Stories emerge that never would have existed otherwise.

We also include two utopia projects by students from Class 12.C, interesting in both their content and their presentation. We hope that they will stimulate discussion of the ideas!

In honor of this year’s Shakespeare Festival, which took place on April 22 and kicked off a wonderful new tradition, we are republishing a Shakespeare-inspired section from Issue 1:3 (Winter 2020–2021). Here are just a few pictures of the festival itself.

Lilla Kassai painted two portraits for the Hamlet scene in this festival; they appear here on the Folyosó cover and on their own page, along with two more of her pieces. We are honored to feature her art again.

The next issue, featuring our next international contest, will come out in October. Contest details will be posted by the end of June. We wish you a fruitful, restful, pliable, not-too-short summer!


Diana Senechal
Founder and Editor of Folyosó

Issue 3:1 (Spring 2022—Second Anniversary Issue)

Welcome to the Spring 2022 issue of Folyosó! This second anniversary issue features pieces having to do with puzzles, pieces inspired by Richard Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America, and two utopia/dystopia projects. We welcome your readership and comments!

Letter from the Editor

Puzzle Pieces

Puzzles come in myriad shapes, sizes, and forms. Some are created intentionally; others arise out of ordinary and extraordinary situations. The following pieces grapple with puzzles in some way.

A Tribute to Trout Fishing in America

Richard Brautigan’s novel (or collection of connected vignettes) Trout Fishing in America has a semantic peculiarity: the phrase “trout fishing in America” can function as an adjective, a character, an act, and more. Similarly, or not so similarly, the following pieces, written by students in Class 9.B, use the phrase in whatever way they please.

Utopias and Dystopias

What perfect or nightmarish world, based on an idea, can you imagine and describe? Here are two projects by five students in Class 12.C.

From the Archive: Scenes Based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream

In honor of this year’s Shakespeare Festival, which took place on April 22, we are republishing a Shakespeare-inspired section from Issue 1:3 (Winter 2020–2021).


Submit to the Autumn 2022 issue!

Cover art by Lilla Kassai.

Italian Cathedral

Lilla Kassai

Wooden Cottage

Lilla Kassai

Old London

Lilla Kassai

Behind Blue Eyes

Lilla Kassai

The first impression you make on your new classmates can determine your place in the school hierarchy for the whole time you spend there. You might get to hang out with the popular kids and know a lot of your fellow (popular) students and be best friends with everybody. You go shopping and partying together, and you even hang out with the (popular) seniors in a big group of (popular) friends. As for me, the first impression didn’t work well.

It might be because I am not afraid to voice my opinion, which is often in the unpopular category. An argument that goes against the mainstream, presented a bit aggressively, can determine your fate in school. Now you look like you hate everyone. Congratulations, here’s your place at the bottom of the school hierarchy.

But am I really an aggressive student? Am I really threatening the other students that I’ll roundhouse-kick their heads off? I am not, and I have never wanted to do that or done that. One of the basic teachings of martial arts is not to act violent unless it’s necessary. I, as a karate-student for fifteen years, follow this principle. I don’t use this hobby of mine to show off and bully, but for my own self-development, fulfillment and endurance.

One of the other bases of karate and every martial art style is respect. However, the that respect is earned and not automatically given, which I also agree with. Still, when having to listen to others, I always remain silent to give them respect, which they many times refuse to do when I’m the one talking. I believe in general respect: if you are being respectful and honest with me and take me seriously when needed, I’ll give it back to you, and vice-versa.

I try to stick to my principle of “silent greatness.” I do what I have to, I fight for achieving goals in terms of having good grades, being helpful, doing everything with the best attitude and maximum effort without bothering others, even if sometimes I fail in that. However, if I didn’t make mistakes or ask questions, I wouldn’t be able to bring out the best in me.

“In a warrior’s code there’s no surrender” (Survival – Burning Heart). This is the mindset I want to follow, whenever I face a challenge. I would rather be called an overachiever or a nerd and take pride in that, than be seen as someone who doesn’t do anything for his/her goals, and then blame others for not being successful. No matter how long it takes to succeed, I will never give anything or anyone up. I will persevere: as a karate-student who wants to become a master one day, as a girl who loves to draw who wants to become an architect, but most importantly as a good person, who can always walk with her head held high, smiling to the world and living the fullest life possible. For that, I am willing to try, fail, and retry. I want to become successful, learn new things, such as languages (I already speak three languages besides Hungarian: I am advanced in German and English, and at the beginner level in French), other martial arts, and playing instruments.

Another thing about me is that I don’t want to be put in a box and be “that given type” of girl in the university, and I dislike the whole concept of putting people in boxes while having a complex personality. I am the type of person who can easily have small conversations with athletes, the band kids and the members of the book club as well, because there is hardly anything that I am not interested in.

I hope this essay has offered a perfect depiction of my personality and qualifications that will give my application a higher chance of being accepted.

The Oral Examination Game

Lilla Kassai

“Welcome, students, to the Oral Examination Game,” said a female voice in the loudspeaker. “You will need to get out of this labyrinth. At the end of every segment you go through, you will have to answer a question shortly. If a student doesn’t know the answer, the student gets disqualified.”

After the announcement, the loudspeaker started to play the Blue Danube Waltz as the 33 students stood in a circle, each facing a door, an entrance towards the labyrinth. After a gunshot, every door opened, and each student stepped into the labyrinth.

As the students walked into the endless corridor, the lights grew dim. As they approached the first corner, the lighting instantly became so bright that they had to hold their hands before their eyes. When they reached the end of the corridor, each of them found themselves face to face with a tall, hooded figure.

“When did the Battle of Mohács take place?” asked the man calmly.

“Ts … I have no clue.”  Student Number 6 started laughing nervously.

“Wrong answer,” the hooded man said, then pulled out a gun.

“Man, are you kidding me? ” Number 6 started to shiver. He knew that this wasn’t a joke anymore. He turned and started to run towards the entrance, when suddenly he heard a gunshot and began to feel an immense pain in his back throughout his chest. Then he fell on the floor and never got up again.

“How do you define (a+b)²? ” another hooded man asked Number 32. She was about to anwer, when she heard a gunshot, and not much later, another one.

“Student Number 6 and Student Number 8 couldn’t answer the question. They are now disqualified. According to the rules, if a student can’t answer a question, this student gets disqualified,” the toneless wobbly voice professed.

Then chaos broke out:

“Wait, what is happening here?” Number 9 and Number 11 started to panic, but tried to remain as tranquil as possible.

“Why did we hear gunshots?” Number 1, Number 3 and Number 4 cross-questioned the hooded man in front of them.

“I am the only one asking questions here,” snapped the disturbing figure in a throaty voice “So how do you define (a+b)²?

“Someone’s been shot?”

“What is happening with the others?”

“Is everyone okay?”

Interrogations started to multiply exponentially. Slowly, everyone started to yell and demand answers. The chaos grew like dark clouds in the sky before a summer rain. And then, as sudden roaring thunder, guns were fired,and bodies collapsed.

“Student Number 12, Number 1, Number 2 , Number 4 , Number 5, Number 9 , Number 11 and Number 16 couldn’t answer the question and got disqualified. If a student can’t answer a question, they get disqualified,” announced the female speaker, whose voice seemed just like a regular announcer’s in an aeroport, but now it rang like a toneless demonic chant.

“Who was the musician who composed the Ode to Joy?” creaked the hooded man.

Many eyes almost toppled out of their sockets. A lot of students knew that they were going to get shot. The only thing they could find in their minds was a blank sheet of paper.

“Uhmm…Mozart?” asked Number 18. And the hooded man took his shot among eight similar looking disturbing figures at the expense of Number 18 and many more students.

“It was Beethoven,” answered Number 13 in a cold voice, with which she tried to hide how scared she was.

“Correct answer,” mumbled the hooded man, letting Number 13 continue her way towards the exit. There were only two questions left. Whoever answered those correctly, passed the test and survived.

“By which quantity should we divide the voltage to get the current?” the next question echoed.

“By the Resistance,” replied the students like a choir.

“Correct,” nodded the scary man, and let them go.

As the last question and the chance of getting out of this hell grew bigger and bigger, big rocks fell off of everyone’s heart.

“I will get out of here.”

“I’m not gonna die!”

The last question was announced to all.

“What does Deus ex machina mean in an epoch?”

Silence. Gunshots. Five collapsed bodies. The last ones standing were forcing themselves to stay calm and cool-headed.

 “It means: Godly intercession,” said a student in a toneless voice, one step away from breaking down crying.

“Correct,” said the hooded man. “You passed the Exam. You are free to leave.”

The remaining students sprinted out as fast as they could. At the end of this straight labyrinth they met in a circle-shaped room again. Before they could actually realise who had survived or not, the demonic female voice started to speak again.

“Fifteen students have been disqualified. Congratulations to the winners”.

As her announcement ended, the only thing that could be heard was the hysterical crying breakdown, almost as loud as the Blue Danube Waltz coming from the radio.

Issue 2:3 (Winter 2021–2022)

Welcome to the Winter 2021–2022 issue of Folyosó! This issue features dream-stories, imaginary college application essays, pieces inspired by the phrase “straight labyrinth” (from János Pilinszky’s poem “Egyenes labirintus“), and more. We welcome your readership and comments!

Letter from the Editor

Special Feature

This piece was one of the finalists in the 2021 International Contest. We saved it for this issue.

Straight Labyrinth

These pieces are all inspired by the phrase “straight labyrinth.” They may or may not have to do with Pilinszky’s poem “Egyenes labirintus.”

Imaginary College Application Essays

These essays were all written as if for admission to a college or university in the United States. They are not real college application essays.




Submit to the Spring 2022 issue!

Cover art by Lilla Kassai.

Letter from the Editor

Winter is in full swing, the year is proceeding sometimes in slow motion, sometimes in a flurry, and somehow, almost out of nowhere, this winter issue came into being. We usually have plenty of pieces set aside from previous semesters or years; that wasn’t the case this time. But with a few requests, invitations, assignments, and encouragements, a plethora of pieces took form. This may be my favorite issue yet, at least in certain ways.

One piece from last fall’s international contest, by Nerses Boztaş (a student at the Lycée Sainte-Pulchérie in Istanbul), had intrigued me with its style and subject matter; I had promised to publish it in the winter issue, after some more editing and correspondence with the author. The final version has the liveliness and intensity of the initial version, along with clearer meaning for a general reader. We are delighted to feature it here.

For one English assignment, I asked students to write a piece inspired by the phrase “straight labyrinth”; if they wished, they could draw on János Pilinszky’s poem “Egyenes labirintus” for inspiration, but this was not required. This resulted in an exceptional variety of interesting pieces—funny, philosophical, melancholic, startling, agonized, matter-of-fact. Eighteen of them are published here in a special section.

Speaking of Pilinszky, you are cordially invited to a free online event hosted by the ALSCW (Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers) on March 20. While not directly related to Folyosó, it is of possible interest to Folyoso writers and readers. I will be interviewing the poet Csenger Kertai and the musicians/songwriters Sebestyén Czakó-Kuraly (Cz.K. Sebő, Platon Karataev) and Gergely Balla (Platon Karataev) about Pilinszky’s influence on their work and thought. The discussion will be combined with recitations of Pilinszky and performances of the guests’ own work. For more information, see the event website and Facebook page.

Another section of this Folyosó issue features imaginary college application essays, an assignment for American Civilization class. Students were asked to pretend that they were applying to an American college or university and to write an essay in that vein. The purpose was to explore some differences between the educational systems Hungary and the U.S. The results were intriguing and lively.

The issue is rounded out by two dream-stories, two essays (one on walking and one on reading), and three beautiful works of art by Lilla Kassai, the cover artist for this issue.

The next issue will come out in mid-May. In the meantime, stay warm and healthy, come to the Pilinszky event if you wish, and—if you are a Varga student—send us your writing! (Our next international contest will be in the fall.)


Diana Senechal
Founder and Editor of Folyosó

Double Discomfort

Lilla Kassai

I hate being a contradiction myself. I always have this duality between being nice, kind and caring, and being rude, sarcastic and hostile.

As a matter of fact, I really dislike this duality, but I also find it useful sometimes. Being rude, sarcastic and hostile keeps unwanted company away, but at the same time, it scares away those who could have become good friends.

Being kind and caring also has its drawbacks. To be honest, it makes people more vulnerable. Even if this mindset and characteristics can attract lots of people who may become loyal and excellent friends, others can use the kind and caring people for their own benefit, without good intentions.

What is more,  people seem to admire the sarcastic and brutally honest individuals, but meanwhile, they can’t handle them face to face.  Speaking from personal experience, I see that my classmates admire the loud, sarcastic and uninterested complainers, but meanwhile, if I act like them, they become uncomfortable and shut me out of conversations that I would gladly be a part of.

The same thing happens when I try to bring out the real me, the kind and caring one. It must be a surprise for them, but I can be very kind and gentle. I just don’t show this face of mine so often, and when I do, it also makes them and me uncomfortable. For them, I look like someone who contradicts herself: someone who is usually sarcastic and brutally honest trying to act like the complete opposite.