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Chloe and Hannah Stewart write mag­azine stories for Hillsdale res­i­dents | Courtesy Hannah and Chloe Stewart

Since they were young, Hannah and Chloe Stewart had a knack for writing.

“We’ve always written some kind of news­paper or other,” Chloe said.

They hand wrote their first news­paper, which con­sisted solely of news at their house, when Hannah was 7 and Chloe was 4. They titled the family news­paper The Stewart Gazette.

“We would just write out by hand whatever was going on at our house,” said Hannah.

Now, 11 years later, Hannah and Chloe publish a semi­monthly mag­azine, Bram­ble­creek, that they fill with poems, drawings, short stories, and local adver­tise­ments.

The Stewarts mail out seven issues to sub­scribers that prepay for the mag­azine. In total, they print 45 – 50 copies, the majority of which they dis­tribute at local busi­nesses like Jilly Beans Coffee House and Hillsdale Craft Supply.

Readers can pur­chase Bram­ble­creek for a quarter in local stores or mail a check to receive a six-month or year sub­scription and can also view the latest issue at bramblecreekmag.weebly.com.

The Stewarts moved to Hillsdale just two years ago, after moving around a lot as kids, but said they hope they can settle down here.

Han­dling Bramblecreek’s dis­tri­b­ution all by them­selves, the Stewarts have befriended many of Hillsdale’s small business owners.

“She just came in with this box one day and asked if she could leave her mag­azine here,” Julie Crowley, the manager at Jilly Beans, said. “I check the box once in a while, and sure enough, people are buying Bram­ble­creek.”

Since then, Crowley has come to know the Stewarts and said she is impressed by their entre­pre­neurship and maturity. “Hannah really impressed me. She had an idea and just ran with it.”

As home­schooled girls, Hannah said they learned to read when they were very young.

“From there, we just started writing our own stories,” she said. “We wrote poems, short stories, and news, and started to send it to our grandma.”

From the time they were young, Hannah and Chloe’s edu­cation revolved around their ability to read and write. In Chloe’s words, it was “very, very informal home­schooling. [Our parents] gave us the books and said, ‘learn this.’”

Bramblecreek’s origins can be traced back three years to the All-Week, a mag­azine which Hannah and Chloe first pro­duced on a type­writer. Since then, the two sisters used com­puter pro­grams to design Bram­ble­creek, and pub­lished their 135th issue last month.

Neither of the Stewarts seemed inter­ested in college.

“I’ve already got a full time job, at Glei’s Orchards and Green­houses,” Hannah said. “I really like my job there.”

At first, the Stewarts were Bramblecreek’s only con­trib­utors, with occa­sional columns from their grandma. Now, they get tens of sub­mis­sions for each issue, con­sisting of short stories, poetry, and artwork. In July, they announced the winners of Bramblecreek’s second annual poetry contest.

Chloe also writes a satirical advice column called “Ask Cho.” In Bramblecreek’s Aug. 1 issue, an anonymous reader wrote to Cho under the pseu­donym “Unsure,” asking about the best way to tell her friend that she hates her.

In response, Chloe wrote, “There is no need to be nice about it! If you hate her, then just tell her that. If she takes offence then that is her problem, not yours.”

Hannah often writes articles about local events like the Hillsdale Open Air Market or other things that intrigue her. “I wrote an article that’ll be coming up in the next issue or two about some inter­esting lore I found out about Baw Beese Lake. It’s super secret,” she smiled.

Bram­ble­creek grew so large that, last year, they began receiving sub­mis­sions from people they had never even met.

“We also annoy our friends until they send us things,” Chloe added.

Both Hannah and Chloe said that a large part of their fas­ci­nation with writing comes from reading fantasy books. They had a long list of favorites, too. “Tolkien, for sure,” Chloe said. “I guess Nancy Drew — does that count? The Hardy Boys are hilarious. They’re just so stupid.”

Chloe likes reading Robert Frost and J.R.R. Tolkien’s poetry as well. Hannah finds it boring. “I’m not a big poetry fan. I only like Chloe’s poetry,” she said. Chloe thanked her.

The mag­azine also fea­tures Chloe’s drawings.

“I’ve always loved drawing,” she said. “My dad draws… I don’t know how I got into it. It just hap­pened really.”

“And I don’t draw,” Hannah laughed.

Chloe hopes that her expe­rience with artistic pub­lishing via Bram­ble­creek can expand into an art career. She paints murals, mostly on walls at her house, but believes she can paint for the sur­rounding com­munity.

“I’m hoping that even­tually I won’t have any walls left. If there are no walls left, I’ll have to paint on the floor,” she grinned.

Hannah felt that Bram­ble­creek should serve as an outlet for younger writers, like the Stewarts, who have ideas and aspi­ra­tions, but might feel uncom­fortable starting out on their own. “We’re not just looking for anyone to write. We’re looking for kids to write. Anybody who’s inter­ested.”

Hannah and Chloe want to con­tinue pub­lishing Bram­ble­creek as long as they can. “I think just bit by bit we’d like to add more pages to it,” Hannah said.

“Maybe even­tually we’ll be some­thing bigger,” Chloe added.