Jan 13

Where are you from?

I was either five or six years old when I came up with a simple answer to a question our family often faced which always seemed to require long explanations. We were in Kampala, Uganda, where we lived until I was seven, walking to get ice creams when a woman we didn’t know stopped us to ask where we were from.

My parents knew she wasn’t asking which area of the city we lived in, so they launched into their usual complicated explanation, mentioning that my father was born in Tanzania but grew up in the United Kingdom; that my mother, who was born in the United States, was Irish by family background; that I was born in the Rakai district of Uganda, and my older sister in North Carolina.

It is tempting now to give myself a more interesting motive, but I am pretty sure I was just trying to get us to the ice cream stand faster when I cut the conversation short, jumping in and blurting out, “But actually, we’re from Hong Kong.”
Jun 03
The Soccer Bee 48's picture


            I am hungry for knowledge. I alway want to learn. The only downfall is I want knowledge on thing I want to learn about. So if you tell me to learn about some I don’t want to learn about I am going to Half ass it. But when I learn some thing about a thing I like to learn about. Then I will keep digging for more knowledge.
           For example in first through third grade I was obsessed with anacondas which are a kind of snake. I kept learning. I was a computer of knowledge on anacondas. Now I am thirsty for understanding of World War two. From memwoirs to historical fiction I am continuing to read and inform myself on this horrific topic.
             I can’t compare to my hunger for knowledge to anything else.

Oct 18
joseph.deffner's picture

A Quiet Winter Day

The snow crunches softly beneath my boots as I trudge up the hill. Small delicate snowflakes land on my fuzzy hat. I tilt my head back to catch them in my mouth. Out of the corner of my eye, a male cardinal dashes from tree to tree, his red feathers bright against the white snow. When I get to the top of the hill, I pause to look around at the snow covered trees, and listen to how peaceful it is. Dropping my sled on the wet snow, I climb on and slide down the hill, going down easily on top of the smooth and icy snow. The cool wind blowing in my face, smiling to myself. Winter makes me feel serene and content.
Jun 28

Lights Out

On June 27, after a heart-warming dinner with the Young Writers Project board (thank you Kathy), after hearing (thank you Susan) the startlingly kind words sent to me from many of you and your predecessors on how much this little project and community has meant, does mean, to you, I shut off the office lights for the last time after 12 years as YWP's executive director.

To you and the 110,000 kids we have touched in that time, thank you for opening your souls; thank you for sharing your ideas and observations, your flights of fancy and moments of bewilderment. Thank you for taking such creative risk.

You have enriched my life. You've opened my eyes to what you see and feel and experience and think and believe. And you have enriched the lives of thousands upon thousands of others -- your readers.
Jun 04

How can I write

What do I write about
people are dying
people are mistreated
people are misguided
people are screaming
people are crying
people are morning
people are shouting
people are angry

I say "people"
not the subdivisions that society has split us up into
because there is only one race
and thats us

Its true, some of us can be blind.
Blind to the slaughter of our brothers and sisters.
And I can't stand to watch.

I can't watch as our President hops around playing golf
amist a padamic 
while the people he is supposed to lead 
are rising up against him.
No, I refuse to think of him.
But alias,
America is led by a fool.

But even he is human.

How can I write about the sky and smiles
while people suffer
while more lives are claimed
while our world slowly heats up 
and will eventually burn us alive.
Jun 04


I just want to skip the directions of life.
Go right to the game,
No tutorial needed.
I know I'll regret it later,
But I just don't want to be told what to do,
And how to do it.
I dream,
And those dreams come back.
Sometimes those dreams are good,
And they make me just want to sleep,
So I can keep living those dreams.
Sometimes they slip away like a little piece of cobweb,
And I have to wait for them to come back,
To remember.
I am the hug,
Who listens and give you advice,
Trying my best to make you feel better.
And sometimes I just need a hug,
A forever hug.
I just want to cry like a lost kitten in someone's arms,
And feel weightless.
I want to write the best words the worls has ever seen,
Only to be dissapointed.
And sometimes,
I just want to write something away,
And I don't care about it.
Jun 04

Little She, Again

Here is a letter to you,
One you will never see.

Dear little she,
I'm so sorry about everything.
I wish I could have told you sooner,
But it wasn't mine to tell.
My sweet girl,
I don't think that I've ever thought of you as a cousin,
You've always been my little girl.
My treasure,
Something I wanted to wrap up and keep safe.
When you say you don't like it here,
I know you're just mad,
But I don't think you realise how much that hurts.
How I take everything to heart, every word you say,
Even if it's a dumb joke.
Someday baby,
I hope you'll be happy here,
And you won't feel so trapped.
But for now,
Just let me give you a hug,
Let me keep you safe.
I just want you to be happy and safe,
But those things are usually compleatly different.
My little she,
I love you so much,
Your big cousin
Jun 02

The piece I read the the Minneapolis Police Department.

If you are hearing this, and you are a police officer, hear me out. You and I both know very well how twisted the system is. Officers were originally used to hunt down slaves. I don’t think you need further proof than that. Yet still, proof continues to rise up as black lives are struck down. Black lives, like the lives of Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Breanna Taylor, Amhaud Arbery, Eric Garner, George Floyd and so many more. Those were only off the top of my head. As officers take the mercy of humans lives their own fists and choose to throw it away because of chocolate. And when they are faced with the truth about their racism, throw it back to us as tear gas and batons, beating us down as if that will also beat down the truth. But it doesn’t work. We all know the truth isn't leaving any time soon. The only way to fix this is peace. Lay down your weapons and join the fight.
Jun 01

Depressed Cow

There's not really one single word,
To explain how I'm feeling.
It's just a misty dampness,
Hovering on my shoulders,
A constant news channel,
Broadcasting everything I have to do.
A never ending question.
A look of worry.
Sad songs,
Rearanging themselves in my head to create a medley.
I told her,
That I'm feeling blah, poop, just a bad Monday.
But it's so much more than that.
I'm feeling like that one sweater,
That makes you really mad,
Everytime you put it on,
Because it's uncomfortable.
How you want to tare it from your body,
And claw at the skin it touched.
I feel like when you  check your phone,
On a Saturday afternoon when you've just woke up,
Bleary but ready to start the day,
Only to find that no one texted you yet. 
Or when you're really hungry,
And you don't know what you want.
I think I just want a hug,
A long,
Neverending hug.
Jun 01

Broken Warriors

This waistland of broken stuff.
Broken songs,
Made for a cracked voice.
Broken promises,
That they all forgot.
A broken glass,
Thrown in a hasty momment of rage.
Broken discs,
To an old fashioned radio.
Broken people.
Oh, the broken people.
And everyone's breaking,
A time bomb into our end.
And it's time,
For some people to break a little more.
And time,
For others to finish breaking.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
We're all breaking,
But we need to rebuild.
We are all warriors,
And once we're on the other side of all this,
We will see our loved ones,
And marvel at all the things that have changed.
We all will have battle scars,
And someday,
Some of us already do.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
There will be a time,
To let those scars heal.
And there will be a time,
To let those scars stay.
As a tribute,
Jun 01

She's Free ( A Tribute )

She's a free bird now.
Weightless in her climb,
Free of every burden she had to carry.
She safe,
And warm,
She's watching,
Making sure you're alright,
Because all she wanted to do was protect you.
She's listening,
To every note you put in her special garden,
And every question you ask.
She's here,
Watching you grow up and learn more and more each day,
She's in every sunny ray,
And every thunder cloud,
She is the waves that lap at your feet.
She misses you,
Just like you miss her,
She misses you,
And lots of other people too.
She wants more than anything to give you a great big hug.
And most importantly,
She loves you.
She will always love you.
No matter where she is.
She's free,
Free from anything that ever kept her from flying,
Loving you,
Loving herself.
She is free.
May 29

We Are Not Insignificant

    I was laying on my back, talking to my best friend. The towel beneath me had grown wet with the chlorine and sweaty water from our neighboorhood pool, so I was resting my hands on the warmth of the tennis courts. While the smooth concrete was hard, it was oddly soothing.

    We were talking about planets, and we ended up on the subject of the whole universe. My friend said, “If you think about it, the whole universe is huge. In the big scheme of things, we are insignificant.” I thought about this for a moment. I then propped my self up on my elbow, looked at her, and then lay down again. I watched the clouds.

    “Actually, no,” I said, watching the gentle breeze slowly push the clouds away. “We are not insignificant. Every move we make affects something. Just by pushing this leaf-” I flicked a little leaf from the surface of the court. It moved an inch. “-I have changed my whole future.”

    “How so?” she asked skeptically.
May 29

George Floyd

Warning: violent actions and death is described.

One upon a time, there was a man named George Floyd.
He moved to Minneapolis, parting from long time friends and family.
Not long ago, he was suspected of foregry, a non-violent crime,
and was arrested by two white officers.
But its more complicated then that.
When the white officers asked him about foregry and he risisted, 
they attacked him, and one officer held his knee onto his neck while the other confronted the growing crowd.
"Please, I can't breathe," George gasps.
The officer ignores his pleas.
The growing crowd shouts,
telling the white officers to give him mercy,
to check his pulse.
They do not comply.
After several minutes, 
George looses consciousness.
The officer does not take his knee off this innocent man's neck.

After 7 minutes of being pined to the ground,
May 29
Anna B's picture

Attempted Cheer

I have never had to talk to my grandparents six feet apart. It just did not happen. We are family. Until now. My grandparents came into the driveway one day. This was the first time they had come over since the Corona craziness started. I went out to greet them, and my mother stopped me at six feet from my grandfather. Both of my grandparents were wearing masks. This was strange for me, and it kind of made me feel as though I were the virus itself. I had no words. I tried to be cheerful and discussed a new development in my life. Now and again, I am allowed to have a little coffee since I have stopped growing. I had had some that morning and was excited to tell my grandparents. I still did. It is awkward and kind of hard to social distance from family, and I hope I will never have to do this again in my life. If I do, I really will lose it.
May 29

One Word Story Word Of The Week

The word that startedthis week is Magic!  If you want to continue this story, go to Tiny Wirtes.  

-If Anyone wants to start the story they can!  Or if you want to record the final story, let me know!
May 28
Ben Acker's picture


WEEK 31: Home-ish. Describe a place that feels like home, but isn’t what you would consider your actual home. In what ways does this safe/special setting bring you comfort?
May 28


A champion is one who get's up, when others can't.
May 27
Cate's picture

“only then”

only then.
a poem highlighting the life of an eating disordered teen. autobiographical.

i’m seven years old, sitting on ms.k’s alphabet rug on the dirty classroom floor.
my hands cup the skin on my thighs, as i sit and wonder why the other girl’s don’t look like mine.

i’m almost ten, delicate ballet music plays as point shoes from the devil leap across the floor.
i look in the mirror, and take a deep breath, sucking in my leotarded stomach that isn’t as flat as it “should be.”

i’m eleven, pulling my soccer jersey from my chest, and wishing it would stay.
ignoring the ache in my ribs from a sports bra three sizes too small, an attempt to hide what i don’t want.

i’m twelve, watching as my friends get ready for winter formal.
i sit quietly on the bathroom counter, praying to the heavens that my dress would be the same size as theirs.
May 26

To The Kids Who Get Bullied

Stay still.
Do it.
Dont think.
They will bite.
Don't show your weakness.
Show your strength.
Don't do what they say.
Take advantage.
Show them.
That you can be better.
You can stand up.
You can beat them at there own game.
Take it.
Drive it.
Do it.
Risk it.
Because risk is the only rule.
May 25

War for Democracy

In our country, on the day we thank those who have passed defending our country, another war is raging. A civil war for democracy in Hong Kong, one that we have to support and one that is important in their country's history. In the U.S, we could not have won without support from other countries. They can't win without us either.
We have to pick the right side.