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dig deep (everyone is alive)

W R I T I N G F R O M T HE 2 0 1 3 Y O UT H W OR KS H OP S I N F ORT G R E E NE P AR K


NY WRITERS COALITION PRESS Copyright Š 2013 NY Writers Coalition, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Upon publication, copyright to individual works returns to the authors.

Editors: Rose Gorman & Serena Maszak Layout: Serena Maszak Title: Kaylee Vega Cover Image: Paula Vlodkowsky Interior Images: Paula Vlodkowsky & Jodi Doff About NY Writers Coalition NY Writers Coalition is a nonprofit organization that provides free, unique, and powerful creative writing workshops throughout New York City for people from groups that have been historically deprived of voice in society. These groups include at-risk and disconnected youth, the homeless and formerly homeless, the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated, war veterans, people with disabilities, cancer and major illness, immigrants, seniors and others.

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NY Writers Coalition Inc. 80 Hanson Place, Suite #603 Brooklyn, NY 11217 (718) 398-2883 www.nywriterscoalition.org

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Writing featured in this anthology was created at NY Writers Coalition’s summer youth writing workshops during the summer of 2013. The dynamic and innovative workshops provide young writers ages 6-18 a safe space to find their voices and explore all genres of creative writing. “Every year our young people show talent, sensitivity and attention to craft usually seen in work by much older writers,” said Aaron Zimmerman, Founder and Executive Director of NY Writers Coalition. More information about NY Writers Coalition can be found at nywriterscoalition.org

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elcome to the NY Writers Coalition’s Summer 2013 issue of Dig Deep. We have a fantastic issue packed with a collection of poetry and short stories from the Fort Greene Park Summer program. This summer, young writers ranging from 6 to 18 years old spent six Saturday mornings writing in Fort Greene Park. Each weekend, workshop leaders and volunteers spread out blankets, notebooks, pens and snacks under the magnificent cool shaded trees. Gathering together under the trees, with a slight breeze in the air is such a pleasant writing environment. The beauty, energy and critters of Fort Greene Park inspire creativity. This summer, a run in with a squirrel, caterpillar or a soaring hawk often became an impromptu writing prompt that both the kids and the workshop leaders had fun with. The program offers young writers a supportive way to stretch their creative wings and let their words soar. It offers an opportunity for young writers to express themselves and to become passionate about storytelling. This summer, I worked with the 9 to 11 year olds group and was so impressed by the creativity and talent of these youngsters. This is my third year volunteering with the program. The poems and stories the kids create continue to inspire me. I often find the kids to be amazing natural poets. In the course of 15 minutes, they have the ability to translate a writing prompt into a sophisticated stream of words and rhythms. 6


Throughout the summer, the group shared a lot of pieces with honesty and charm of what it is like to be a young person today. They are writers with a flare for using imagination, adventure and science fiction in their storytelling. And sometimes the writers added pictures to the words of their stories. For me, some of the best moments were when we shared our writing. It was a great feeling to ask who would like to share their piece, and instantly see 5 enthusiastic hands waving. Sharing work in a safe and positive creative space exuded confidence in these young writers. The writers received encouragement from not only the workshop leaders, but also their peers. A published writer is a motivated writer. This summer, the youth workshop writing was published on The Narrator and Dig Deep. With your continued support, the NY Writers Coalition is able to offer more writing programs like Fort Greene Park and publication opportunities for young writers. We hope you enjoy this issue of Dig Deep. -JEN WEITSEN Workshop Leader

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Untitled INNA FATIMA ALI, 12 Woman No.1: My, isn’t this a lovely shade of red? I have this lipstick in hot pink as well. Person No. 2: Yes, it is rather lovely. How about coming over to my house to watch the premier of I Love Lucy? Woman No.1: I would be delighted! Say, does this dress make me look fat? ~ The Bear and the Lipstick INNA, KAYLA, ANWEN & ZOE INNA

There was a bear in the woods sleeping on a log with a big jar of honey on its head.

KAYLA

Suddenly the bear heard a loud sound so she ran. As she was running and looking back she bumped into a hunter with a huge gun. The bear was terrified and she passed out. Waking up to find herself in a dress with lipstick, earrings, and different types of jewelry.

ANWEN

Well the bear didn’t like it one bit. She screamed and kicked and hollered. She’d shout, “I want to go home to my big jars of honey!” 8


ZOË

Then the bear realized, “Wait! I don’t have to scream. I have paws and sharp nails.” So she took her sharp nails and ripped the clothes off and wiped the lipstick off. “Ahhh. That’s much better.” ~

Lucky TOVI ALBORES, 7 When I was in the park I felt lucky because there was a tree to climb. ~ Through the Eyes of Fire AIDAN AMOG, 13 Uncommon names with uncommon spelling are my mom’s favorite kind of name. Aidan. My parents had not known the importance of that name. But I told them of the blaze not in words, but in actions. I am fire, and I will act as such until I am satisfied. My name can also be shortened to mean “sun god,” but those Gaelic and Irish history I will not indulge myself into. For what reason is there to make change perfection? I have sparked and so I must move forward, not looking back lest my life be snuffed out otherwise. Flames that reach for the sky, yearning to engulf everything and know all. But, alas, my form is human, and human I will have to live. 9


Sixteen and Trying ANJELIKA AMOG, 16 I'm a little deranged, I suppose. Just a sprinkle insane. Some people who know me well deny that, but I think we're both right. I'm an alien born from a faraway land. Well, it's halfway across the world; it's not like I came from some far flung corner of the universe or from another dimension, but I did check that the city of my birth is on exactly the opposite longitude line on the globe from the one that crosses through New York City. Sixteen and trying to be perfect, though it's not going well. I already said I'm a little deranged, and that's more due to the atrocities I've committed to my own mind and emotions than anything else. Stuyvesant High School can be a lot of things and I discovered it could be a crucible to shatter my sanity and melt away my sense of direction if I let it. So that's who I am right now, a girl recovering from her self-inflicted emotional trauma, with her knees remembering the bounce in her step and her fingers remembering how to shape and mold letters at will and her head remembering that her life is so much more than what she thought it was when she stepped outside of her English class to slide down the wall and cry. I may have forgotten, occasionally, but I never lose myself, which is good. I came through with the help of certain guiding lights and found my happiness in the darkness. There were days when the ache in my bones lightened and I could lift my arms again. I started learning how to get along with my body (I can dance now, you know. When I was eight, my relatives got such a kick out of watching me try and miserably fail to move my body to a beat or rhythm.) and I think I'm 10


starting to get along with my sometimes wayward emotions, too. And now I'm sitting beneath tree branches with friends I've written with for one, two, seven years, and remembering.

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The Painting MEAGHAN BONDI, 11 looks like 2 adults sitting down for coffee. I would be able to compare this to my mother and her friend Kerry always sitting down for coffee while her daughter and I (Being the BFFLS we are) make fun of our little sisters ~ Let’s Face It MEAGHAN BONDI, 11 I’m plastic People can see through me Why would people want to stick their hands in me Maybe I’ll bite them next time Doesn’t it seem gross that people like eating me Maybe someone should take a bite out of them

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Crying Dragon VERONICA BONDI, 10 Once a dragon went to the amusement park. “What a bad idea”, said the owner of the amusement park. So the owner decided to prevent the dragon from going on any rides. When he got out of his office he was ankle deep in water. In the middle of the park the owner saw the dragon crying. ~ In Response to Chop Suey ANWEN BURNS, 11 The lights shine brighter in the evening Waiting and eating. Just repeated over and over... You look up at the person across and think to yourself; What a beautiful night… 13


Hard Questions ANWEN BURNS, 11 What goes through the minds of children when they babble their talk? What are they saying? What do they mean? Why must the flowers come and go? Why can’t they stay when the seasons go? Must everything be explained? Isn’t it enough to know, or must we know more? Will everything be chosen for us, or will we make our own path? Our own future? Not what they want, what we want? Will there always be that unfulfilled answer to a question we all ask? Something that no one can answer? Something that religion nor science can touch? Maybe, we must answer ourselves.

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Questions KAYENNE CHARLES-PIERRE, 8 How do you hide from your predator? Do you live with a family? Are you free by yourself ? Do you get married? Do you have a lot of friends?

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Recipe CAMERON BURNS, 9 Fish eyes Mint leaves Sugar Annoying brother Poison Dead unicorn I think the food we should call it is Fish Mint Brother Poison Dead Unicorn Sundae. And also the ingredient should be 5 fish eyes, 3 mint leaves, 3 tsp. sugar, 1 annoying brother, 2 tsp. poison, 1 dead unicorn. All of the things we put together = one great and dangerous food. ~ Being a Giant SAMORI COVINGTON, 13 Everything around me seems to be small. I’m stepping on trees and other animals that live in those trees. No one seems to talk to me because I’m so tall. If I were to be small like insects all human beings would take advantage of me. They would step on me and chase me around until I was eventually killed.

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Banana Bread CHERYL COVINGTON Making and baking that banana bread. Everyone desires it. They have got to have it. I should market and sell it. If they only knew all of the attention required to make the delicious treat. If you sit in the living room, you can hear the slamming of the cabinets while we search for all of the ingredients. "No, you cannot taste the sugary topping until it is poured over the bread." Yank the pan out of the oven -- be careful! It's scorching hot. Pour the transparent, warm liquid on while the bread is hot. They won't even see it once it cools. ~ Two Foods I Would Combine SAMUEL LAWRENCE III, 10 Two foods I would combine is orange and lime because orange and lime always go together. Also you should add a little lemon in it so it could taste sour and so it’s a new flavor.

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The Magic Notebook SARAH DOBROWLSKI, 17 The nation was controlled by a pen and a notebook. The girl discovered she could choose the evening news by writing it in a green journal with ink-blotted pages. It started when her big brother was robbed and she wrote, “I wish the thief were caught”. In five minutes the police called and informed them that the man was captured. Was it mere coincidence? Soon she was locking up gangs, just with two lines in her notebook. Soon she ended obesity. She wrote three pages one night about drug addiction, and the next morning she heard every rehab center in the country was full. She reversed murders and eliminated the killers before they could strike. But, it started with subtle opposites. One day she cured a boy with cancer; the next day he was ill again. Soon each action she wrote was negated. Someone, somewhere else in the nation was writing a war with her—a war she could not erase. ~ Once TRISTAN LEONE, 10 Once I was on a hot air balloon and then I was with a guy and he popped the balloon so we jumped off the end.

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Nicknames PASCALE LEONE, 12 Different people give me different nicknames. Like the annoying boy who was in my class. When he wanted to talk to me he would call me “Squak”! I don’t understand that. My cousins call me “Pascie.” I guess because they’re older than me. I can’t even say what my brother calls me. He is insane. My parents also give me different names that they have called me since I was a baby. Even though I have many nicknames, most people know me as Pascale. ~ My Jar Adam DENNIS LIN, 14 My tightly closed, never opened little jar that seethes with burning heat, icy coldness, fiery green embers and a burning violet color that wants to crack the jar open into a thousand and one little pieces and fly free into the open world without judgment. The jar sizzled and hissed and screams for someone to hear the locked up voice inside. But the jar remains tightly shut by my brute force, that little screaming voice inside never making its way out. And so the burning heat burns on, the icy coldness continues to freeze away my world, the fiery green embers never stop blazing and the burning violet color keeps banging on the hard glass to break out. 20


In My Old Age FANNY MA, 16 I have never eaten an egg. So in my old age I will hire a worldclass chef to follow me around, prepared to whip up an omelet so in my final seconds I will DEVOUR IT. But I would end up dying with a bloated unrecognizable face. I believe that when humans come to a point in time when they understand how cells can be alive, the very cells in our bodies will become embarrassed and turn our bodies inside out. Because we learned their secret. ~ My Heart and My Mind DEBORAH OLAGUNJU, 15 See when my heart and my mind Try to compromise, it don’t work Falling in love and being heartbroken Tries to make a speedy recovery To satisfy me But to satisfy me, you can’t Cause my mind and heart want two things That it each can’t have Confused? Yeah I know 21


Clown Life GABRIEL OLUFADE, 14 One’s own clown life is like another one’s circus life. He laughs and dances. He kisses and prances. He seems like a nice guy but deep inside there you’ll find a not so sweet kind. He lives a life of despair. Mostly because his bronco isn’t there. This is how horror movies are born. This clown wants people to be torn, people to be scorned. People to die. People to cry. Just because bronco wasn’t here. Just because bronco wasn’t there. ~ Panacea GABRIEL OLUFADE, 14 Panacea—a cure for all ills. No need for a dictionary. It’s like a giant pill to help clean all the ills and chills. Throwing the dictionary down to the ground I smash I smash arbitrary mood. Randomness here I come I won’t stop till I’m done. Writing sloppy now for no reason. Arbitrary. Sounds like a rejected Pokémon. All its moves are random and more random. Welch’s sounds like...nothing, really. Sounds like Welch. What does sound sound like. It is sound. Writing about writing thing is sound of writing a thing for 10 minutes and writing sound. Why can’t the time end already. End. I’m waiting. Till. The. End. Words describing. Couple more minutes 5 to be exact. E-X-A-CT. Spelling words that’s a fact. 22


Wiffleball MATT MATROS Playing wiffleball in the front yard might’ve been my favorite part of growing up. The bush at the edge of the lawn, right along the curb of the street—that was first base. The tree in the yard was second. Third was the low, flat shrub in Mom’s garden. (It occurs to me now that maybe that shrub wasn’t supposed to be flat—that it only became that way because we stomped on it so much.) Home plate was never very well defined. Somewhere near the driveway, in front of the parked cars, in the general vicinity of where the other batsmen awaited their turns—that’s where home was. A good thing about a wiffleball is that you can hit a car and it’s fine. My cousin Bill was a year older than me. Always bigger. Always stronger. He had more friends and cooler clothes and hair sprayed just shiny enough so that he still looked solidly like a dude. But Bill couldn’t hit a wiffleball. I’ve never laughed harder than when my big strong cousin swung with all his considerable might, only to completely miss the slow-moving white object. Again and again. In my memory he swung and missed fifty, seventy, three hundred times. Forget Casey at the Bat, Bill at the Bat was way more helpless. I wasn’t much of a slugger—in fact I usually didn’t hit it past the second base tree. But at least I hit it. At least I didn’t stand up there with my muscles and my Yankee hat, and my bossy older sister, and my clothes that were definitely not from outlet malls, and miss. I hit the ball, and my awesome cousin didn’t. At least, that’s my story. You have no way to prove anything different.

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Tim NATAELLE PITTS, 13 In Fort Greene Park there is a man. His name is Tim. I have to pick the painting or the sweaty people jumping up and down. Wow, my brain is almost empty. The people in the park seem motivated. Almost everyone but the people on this blanket, I had more energy when I came here. I wonder if the people in the café want to be there. Really some people do things like that to stay on the social meter. I wonder if the old guy doing tai chi would like the lady in the picture or is he in the park to look at the exercise people all sweaty. ~ Me and Paul ASHLEY QUARLESS, 11 As I was reading someone’s piece I felt the book moving. The first thing I thought is I was going to die. But instead I was put on a box. It tasted like fruit snacks. But I still wanted to be on the safe side so I crawled in the box. “We’re almost there.” Today we were going up Mount Everest and we were about to reach the top. “Come on I want to be there on the day of my birthday.” Me and Paul were born on the same day but minutes apart.

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“Yeah I am here” yelled Paul. “You might be there but I am behind you.” ~ It Was Cool TAYON REGIST, 9 I am a monkey, a monkey that knows how to play a guitar. One day I played in my living room on my guitar. Then everyone on Earth heard me play my guitar. They loved it. Then sooner or later I end up on the radio. Then I used it to play over 62, 000 songs to sing for them. I was a famous monkey. People loved me. I got paid just for walking down the block I loved. I rich. I bought a big machine for my whole family and I had 3,000,000,000,000,000,000 cars so I did not care if my family members took one of the cars because I let each one of them have 1,000 cars and each one of them had 1,000 rooms with 1 , 0 0 0 b a t h r o o m s , 1 , 0 0 0 t v s , 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 books, and this is all for each person. Then all of my family members started to play with me. We all were famous. They made a game for the Wii. It was cool.

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Have You Forgotten Me? JACQUELINE REGIST As I zip through my day moving purposefully 99.9% of the time, or at least I think I am, I become absorbed in the work my career has afforded me. Highly charged, highly motivated, completing every task, every assignment with preciseness, fully engaged beyond the hours of 9:00 to 5:00 forging ahead making appointments, breaking appointments. Running here, running there, running everywhere. .1% of the time I rest, I rest, I breathe, I rest, I meditate, I rest. I take in the aesthetics that nature has to offer. Wow, each star so magnificently placed. Each tree my partner. I give it what it needs and it gives me what I need, an oxygen carbon dioxide exchange. How amazing it is that the birds will sing to me without any requirements! The squirrels will become tenants inside my roof without permission or without paying rent. And then I ponder further still as my thoughts take on their own direction. I drift into the state of nostalgia, transfixing my thoughts on my childhood friend, Christa, my best friend indeed. I had not spoken to her in at least three years. My feelings of guilt prompted me to pick up my cell phone and without consciousness my fingers started dialing her number. Between each ring, a smile overpowered my face as I began thinking about the unforgiving yet funny pranks we would play on each other. “Hello” said a voice. I was so entranced by my thoughts that this greeting startled me. As I regained composure I responded to the familiar voice. “Hello Christa, this is Theresa”. “Who, who” she said. “This is your best friend Resa”, as if I really needed to qualify my 26


name. After all we were best friends. Resa was the nickname given to me by Christa. “Who is this?” Christa again repeated with an impatient tone. “Stop playing games Christa, this is Resa”. “I don’t know anyone named Resa.” “Have you forgotten me?” I asked. “Who are you?” she bellowed. At this point I felt the seriousness in her tone of voice. I immediately, yet feeling foolish, tried to reacquaint her with me, but to no avail. After every thought I was met with the words “Who are you? I don’t know you.” Caught in a world wind of frustration, she finally said, “Speak to my mother”. Her mother remembering who I was proceeded to inform me that Christa has the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. She acquired the disease a year ago. My heart skipped several beats and my mouth took on its own consciousness. The muscles moved, allowing the vocal folds to eject the sounds composing words, the words, “Thank you for informing me of this. I will pay Christa a visit soon”. My ears were my witness for they heard the words uttered from my mouth. The repeated thoughts refusing to leave the occupancy of my mind, have you forgotten me? Have you forgotten me? Beyond her control, her disrupted memory has caused her to dismiss my existence. Christa had forgotten me, a reality I had to face. Yet I was confused. This disease was a contradiction of its victim. Christa was far too young to have acquired it. Precious times lost with her. Time, time, time I thought to myself. Time is everything! How well are we using it? I think I had better rethink the .1% of my time.

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Muted Bellows TEMA REGIST, 17 Dear Mommy, Quietly I lay here undetected and unknown Eager to meet my creator Within you I lay in fetal position growing rapidly as my love for you amplifies Your voice sounds like the sweet melody of humming birds singing on a Sunday morning 12 weeks approached Morbid feelings become capsulating Mommy what’s going on? Can you hear me? Sliver metal objects come in contact with my skin Polished as if they were awaiting my encounter My heart beat increases rapidly The metal objects approach me again Grabbing my body pulling me towards the bottom of your womb My nails penetrate your insides while I’m dragged ESCAPE! ….is the only word that continuously consumes my mind Flipping and turning instinctually until my feet are implanted against your uterine walls Once again the sparkling sliver that resembles stars tug violently on my arms Mommy help me! My resounding echoes that bounce off the walls of your womb 28


Mommy you will not ignore me for I am your child You will listen to my voiceless cries that I utter and swallow my persuasive words You will sway on my profound aura like a child who never wants to leave a swing A child who will never be me MOTHER Mother- bearing relation a women who has raised a child, given birth to a child, origin source or protector Protector! You were never my protector I always thought that mothers greeted their children with open arms Instead you greeted me with instruments Instruments that never played music Physicians say that they are pledged to saving lives Is my life different? Worthless Invaluable Mommy don’t let them take me away Please! Please! A huge round object moves towards me Crushed gruesomely My mouth opens wide but nothing comes out Muted Bellows Weapons used against me A war brought upon the innocent Mommy! All you’re left with is an empty womb filled with floating bone 29


fragments and tissue to remember me by 12 weeks ago I was never even dreamt of And now I’m your nightmare? The maternal bond that never was ~ Brilliant TIFFANI REN, 15 Tolstoy wrote that happy families are all happy in the same, but unhappy families are unhappy in their own way. My family is unhappy. I am timid, I don’t like saying things that aren’t brilliant. It is not a beautiful day I do not have any friends with me right now. I am not sweaty now. I don’t only write the worst shallow things because I can’t bear to go further. I don’t know what to do when he calls me to read. I was reading the other night, a really good book. What exactly was a good book? And I thought it is a novel that makes you feel something. It makes you cry at 1 AM in the morning. I would like to write a book like that. I think I will. When he asks me which truth was false, I’d say. It was the last. I overreact to everything, like I’m in love with my English teachers.

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Enclosed TRISTAN REGIST, 14 Enclosed A box, A small plastic 2 by 2 box. Surrounded by a similar box only just an inch wider and longer. This box is not plastic. This box is wood, a special kind of wood. The kind of wood that keeps any sound or anything from getting out. Another box surrounds that wooden box, but this box is glass, symbolizing the temptation of letting this thing out that these boxes restrict from escaping. This is the final box, fairly bigger the than the glass box. The last box is metal with chains dancing around it with a great giant lock attached. The thing these boxes enclose is my voice. And the lock is not any ordinary lock, it’s a lock with no keyhole. This lock only unlocks when it sees pen to paper It unlocks when it sees pen to paper letting my voice flow onto paper using pen. I have voice, a voice that will be heard.

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DULCET TRISTAN REGIST, 14 Dulcet Can you repeat the word? Dulcet Can you give me the definition? Pleasing to the ears I close my eyes, just me myself and I. Dulcet, pleasing to the ears. Waking up to the sound of nature on a sunny spring morning. Birds chirping, singing their song. Dulcet, pleasing to the ears Cicadas, cicadas making their fine beating patterns. The wind hitting the side of the tree in the precise spot making a deep low leveled sound. Dulcet, pleasing to the ears The rattling sounds of the leaves when they constantly collide with one another when the wind is just right. Dulcet, pleasing to the ears The heart beating sounds of bees as they get close to one’s ear. Please spell the word, Dulcet. Can you please repeat the word one more time. Dulcet. D-U-L-C-E-T Correct

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Can I Ball? NAJAYA ROYAL, 16 Can I ball? Can I achieve a dream with just one slam dunk But how can I fly when I can’t jump It’s like completing a Rubik’s cube The task tends to be impossible most times Can I ball? With no faith to back me up There’s no faith to back me up even in my sweetest dreams I can’t ball When the court don’t feel right And the street lights don’t shine bright Relax, Dribble, Jump “How can you make it to the big league with big dreams but you struggle to do big things” Echoes through my mind Relax, Dribble, Jump Fall Onto a shattered yet beautiful allusion of what I could be You know it’s hard to ball when the court don’t feel right When faith has been evicted And street lights dim with time Young deceived minds Want to be like mike Can I ball? Better yet, can I have a chance Can I make this possible with just one slam dunk I ignore the odds that occasionally bash my mind from the sidelines 34


And without hesitation I go Dismissing the cants from my mind I’ll be me own faith So I Relax, Dribble, Jump No I’ll fly ~ I Am… AMANDA SAHADI, 10 T: I am ten years old. F: I go to public school. T: I am going into middle school. T: I have a middle name. T: I have a mean older sister. F: I am older than Tristan T: I am German.

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New Ice Cream Days AMANDA SAHADI, 10 One day an ice cream store opened, and it was called disgusting ice cream. People were curious of what was inside. When they walked in, the name of the shop made sense. There was only one flavor of ice cream. It was called disgusting mint. When they saw the list of ingredients, they walked out before they could barf. In the ice cream, there were 3 cups of fish eyes, 2 tablespoons of mint leaves, ½ teaspoon of sugar, 1 annoying brother, 5 cups of poison, 1 tablespoon of night lock, and 1 juicy dead unicorn. The man that worked at the shop was wondering why no one ever bought his ice cream. He lay in bed, thinking how he could change it. He realized he could change the name to Scream For Ice Cream. He could change the flavors to vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. People could pick any toppings that they want (unpoison). ~ Mall Day VICTORIA SAHADI, 11 It’s mall day, everyone! Today forget about everything else. Fill your wallet, and head to the mall. Go in all of your favorite stores as spend how much you get! Buy everything you’ve ever wanted to celebrate this special holiday! Mall Day, celebrated March 3rd, is all about shopping, getting new things, and having fun! (Rules – only celebrated once a year! Each person gets $500 for spending. You must get tons of cool stuff. Younger siblings cannot participate in this event.)

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2063 NINA-PILAR SEDARES, 10 Pop! Whiz! BANG! KOOOONG! “We’re gonna be late! We’re gonna be late!” cried a chorus of voices as they rushed to a enormous flight of stairs. At the top of the stairs there was a big gap which you had to jump to the door. Not everyone made that jump. Everyone jumped into the building (or tried to jump into the building) to meet their Jailer, an evil person who people called Sin. But there were no children on the planet called Earth. There were only slaves and a master. But, people are starting to figure out that something fishy is going on. Is this really Earth? Are we really humans? And more importantly who is Sir? ~ Elephant Ride NINA-PILAR SEDARES, 10 Grace Kurtz woke up to a rough hand tickling her. Grace giggled and squirmed around. She opened her eyes and gasped. It was a dream come true! Grace loved elephants so much. That is why she whooped with joy, pinched herself, then whooped with joy again when she saw an elephant trunk sticking through the window and heard the voice of her best friend saying, “Wanna take a ride Gracie? Well? Well?”

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Excuses, Excuses ZOE SHEARES, 11 Uh… The dog ate my homework Somebody stole my alarm clock My hands were greasy There was mud on the ground I had to go to a wedding I didn’t see the hole I fell out of a tree I didn’t fall I was pushed ~ My Childhood MARIAH THOMAS, 15 When did I know my childhood was over. No-one had told me. No-one had warned me. So it was probably figured out by me. Was it when I had stopped sneaking into my parents room at night, When I had stopped smearing my mother's makeup on my face. claiming I was the "make-up monster" or when my parents had stopped kissing me goodnight and tucking me in. Or maybe, just maybe, it hasn't ended yet. I don't get kisses goodnight, or smear make-up on my face. 38


But that doesn't mean my childhood is over. Unless it ended in 4th grade, Then it was over a long time ago. ~ Love and Hate MARIAH THOMAS, 15 The opposite of love isn't hate. The opposite of hate isn't love. To not love is to control. To not hate is to let go. If there is love, there is no hate. But if there is hate, there is no love. If you take the time to hate, does that not mean you took the time to love? To love so much that you hate. To hate so much that you control. You control their actions, their thoughts, their very existence. Not because of love. But because you simply hate the love that comes with your hate To not love is to control. To not hate is to let go. But how can you let go of your hate that dwells so deeply within your love?

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The Nation Was Controlled INIKO THORNELL, 15 The nation was controlled by beliefs Little words as thin as air Unread fine print and big bold propaganda Figure heads and common enemies Pursued, caught, shot Cameras panning through dimly lit Bus stops Only the worst seemed to make the news But they told us, it was for safety But was it? Could it be? But big brother watched As we cooked our dinner and Laughed with friends As life seemed to pass Falling from our fingers As we gave way To what we were told As we believed what was Unbelievable only yesterday As we took it all for granted And watched our freedom fade Away Until we could no longer remember What it was that we really wanted

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Free Write GABRIEL TREITMEIER-MCCARTHY, 12 This is supposed to be a free write, so... Cats Dogs Flapjacks Whipped cream Willy Wonka Truck Drivers Stones Salt Cauliflower ~ My Name GABRIEL TREITMEIER-MCCARTHY, 12 My name is Gabriel. As in Gabriel the Angel. That is the origin of it. Now, it has caused me so much trouble that I wish it no longer existed. Gay-briel. Gabriella. These are some reasons why I swear I hate my name. I wish I did not have to put up with the torture from my peers. I would rather change my name to Andrew, or Jack, or something more sensible. Oh, well. At least I wasn’t named Joachim.

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Popular vs. Non-Existence KAYLEE VEGA, 15 They say being popular is all that. They say being non-existent is no fun. In all honesty both make no sense. No matter if someone was a person everyone wanted to hang out with or even someone who had a name that no one heard of or knew we are all human beings. No one should feel like they are much more powerful than another person. No one should feel like they aren’t even alive in the world because no one acknowledges them. There is no such thing as being non-existent or being popular. Everyone is the same somehow. Everyone has a story. No one is perfect and everyone is alive.

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Dig Deep Issue XIV