Oct 20

Braiding Sweetgrass Review

Review excerpted from charvermont's Summer 2021 Book List

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer (Nonfiction)
Read Braiding Sweetgrass and let your world be turned upside down. Kimmerer, who is both a scientist and a poet, combines her Native American heritage with modern-day science to write mesmerizing prose about the wonders and joys of the natural world. Though her book is fitting to read during any season, much of it praises the plants that surround us during the hottest months of the year. ... 

Also ... read charvermont's Autumn Reads reviews here

Oct 16

My Eyes

For so long,
I have listened to others,
others' opinions,
others' words.
I have heard them 
I have heard them debate,
and I have only 
wished a single thing,
to be able to know
what I agree with.
In this world,
I am realizing that 
there are many,
many struggles,
that there are  
things that so many 
people feel strongly about,
and I am finding that 
I truly don't know
how I feel about these topics.
What is my opinion?
For a while now,
I would listen to those I 
know closely,
and I would nod
as they talked about 
their thoughts on something.
I would immediately think,
"This must be the right decision
if it's coming from them."
if there is anything I've learned
from experiencing this pandemic,
it is that not everyone agrees.
Not everyone agrees,
even if they are friends,
Oct 07
opinion challenge: Taste
frankoceanwhereisthealbum's picture

Tide Pods

If there was one thing inedible I could taste, it would probably be Tide Pods. You know, the little plastic packages containing laundry detergent. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking, “Aren’t those toxic chemicals that you shouldn’t put in your body?” and yes. Yes they are.

Remember that trend around 2016, the Tide Pod challenge? If you don’t, teenagers all over the country were videoing themselves eating the inedibly delicious morsels, and posting them on the internet. I remember having to agree with people saying that it was dumb, or irresponsible, but now, I’m speaking my truth. I understand the craze around the little things. Even though I never participated in the trend, and I’ve never once eaten a Tide Pod, I think, no, I know that it would taste fruity, and the texture would be almost like jelly. Anyways, that’s my take on things that I shouldn’t eat, things that I shouldn’t want to eat, and things that I really want to eat.
Oct 07
opinion challenge: Taste


Bittersweet is the feeling of something sweet but with a hint of sadness and pain mixed in. And if you asked how does bittersweet taste like I would say...

If I could taste the feeling of bittersweet, it would be the flavor of a passion fruit. It would be the feeling of tasting the passion fruit seeds in your mouth where at first it tastes sweet, but as you start chewing, the sour flavor comes out and you swallow it right after. 

But then it could also be like lime ice cream. When you first bite into the soft gooey consistency and swirl the ice cream in your mouth a bit. Lime ice cream is like bittersweet, where it tastes sour and your tongue gets all tingly. And then the ice cream melts in your mouth and that hint of sweetness shows itself. 

Oct 05
opinion challenge: Social media

Tools For Change

Unlike the people who swear social media is satan's spawn, a endless spiral of doom and self hatred that can only result in feeling awful about yourself, I don't believe that social media has had a more negative influence on my life than it has a positive. The biggest problems with social media are similar to problems seen outside screens, just altered. Photoshop versus plastic surgery, cyber bullying versus bullying, e-waste versus pollution. And though all of those things are awful, I have found more light on tiktok and instagram than I have found darkness. I have made friends from all over the world, America to Wales to Australia, and as a person with severe mental health issues, they have literally kept me alive at some points in time. I've been able to promote causes that I care about strategically, as well as just posting for fun, and that has had an impact in the world around me.
Sep 29
fiction, audio, opinion challenge: Heavens
Peter Gustafson's picture


YWP Contest Week 4 Heavens

Liam Brown

Age 11

Essex Junction
There I was, Fighting Goliath, the biggest monster in here. I was pinned in midair fighting for my life. My Father once said “The end of something always sparks something new.” Yeah right, when something or someone ends it ENDS. 

     Hold on, I should probably start from the beginning. When I was born the priest said I was destined to do something great. Every year as I grew, so did the pit in my stomach, nothing great was happening. When you live in the infinite black abyss it's quite hard to achieve greatness when there is nothing around.
Sep 27

The Eternal Mysticism of Dungeons and Dragons

There's sometihng speical aobut sititng down together and creating something where there was nothing. WIth a pencill, paper,a nd a few dice, my friends and I write a story in the air. The room around us seems to fade and then disappear, replaced by a gloomy forest with towering trees or else a bustling port city rich with markets and the smell of spice. We are no longer just a group of nerds, but an adventuring party! Tall, mysterious elves with rune-etched words, the decendants of demons armed with knives and stuffed bunnies, or spell slinging humans in shimmering robes. We are no longer highschoool students with classes in the morning, but heroes and villains, reshaping the world as we see fit. We have control over only ourselves as the world dissolves around us ,but we stand strong against the tide. Slicing through monsters, taking the treasure, and falling in love.
Aug 24
Kittykatruff's picture

today I want to write about Periwinkle

My favorite color is periwinkle. It’s like lavender, but more blue, more dreamy, with more cumulus mixed in, that is to say it’s not at all like lavender. It’s the blue-gray of a midday cloudy sky before it thunders, but deeper, more vibrant, with some unearthly, faery beauty you can’t quite pinpoint with your pupils but it swirls the stratosphere into a thoughtful question, but not between melancholy and joy, more like figuring out how far you are from the sun, or if you’d rather melt softly into fog or grandly float down from among the stars every twilight. You have to be careful not to add too much red, or domineering purple gives up its intent, but without red it’s the pallid gloom of a day where everything goes wrong and you know you’ve forgotten the one thing that’s important in all the things bothering your mind. "Periwinkle" is such a funny patter of sounds, but when you see the color, it’s really quite poetic.
Jul 26
Yellow Sweater's picture

New Pollen, Old Soil

Growing up, I didn’t realize there was such a thing as a conservative intellectual tradition, or, to be honest, even a moderate one. I assumed (in a similar vein to people on the far right) that all real thinking was being done outside the mainstream. In the bubble I was raised in, people read Noam Chomsky and Charles Eisenstein like the bible, attended conferences on Ecoterrorism and how to build your own permaculture communities, embraced the idea of defunding the police before it was an Instagram slogan. The New York Times was a fine place to get basic news, but if you wanted a real perspective you had to go to The New Republic or Mother Jones. Anarcho-Communism was not a radical ideology, rather a natural and necessary next step for human civilization. 
Jul 24
opinion challenge: Olympics

The 32 Olympic Games Begin

The Olympics come around every four years to remind us of things like patriotism and the perseverance of the human spirit. But in the time of Covid, do sports still have uniting power they once held? As athletes play to empty stadiums and quarantine in the Olympic village, I wonder...

I gather around the TV with my family and watch the opening ceremonies. Dancers, all dressed in white, interweave themselves with red threads. 
A narrator reminds a bored American audience that this thread represents the circulatory system. Drums pound and acrobats weave and flip and bounce. At the top of an abstract model of Mt. Fuji,  a cauldron waits to be filled with flame. 
Jul 22
Yellow Sweater's picture

To Lorca's Missing Grave, To Franco, To Those Who've Left the American Flag a Bloodless/Bloody Blue and Black

Okay, so I am a bit embarrassed because this is like the fifth ode to Lorca I have posted on here. But sometimes you need obsessions. They are something through which you can channel your passion. 

True patriots always die because it is dangerous to love something so easily set on fire.

(Love is something easily set on fire.)  

Oh, Lorca, you loved your country, but your country gored you on the horns of its bulls, 
of its sacred beasts of cruel geometry, who knew nothing of the ritual that created them.    

Can’t you love yourself and love your country and love the country that exists inside yourself? 
Can’t you love the dirt and love the water and love the wind that leaves new pollen in the streets? 
Can’t you love a man and love the church and love the candles that turn into burning pillars? 

Passion is more than its fiery culmination. Lorca’s Spain was more than its murder.
Jun 24

Fashion rules? There are none!

The pandemic has been going on for about two years now and we’ve been on lockdown for about a year and a half. But now as we emerge from lockdown, we find ourselves wondering things such as “What kind of clothing is trending?” and “What should I wear?” The answer? Wear anything you want. 

Before the pandemic hit us, the clothing and shoes you wore defined you, especially at school. I remember in 6th grade (before the pandemic) girls would compare who had better shoes. Some had Nike, some wore Gucci or Luvuiton, and others had Adidas. Personally, I think clothing and fashion isn’t something that defines us, and we shouldn’t feel limited. Instead, it should be something that allows us to express ourselves. 
Jun 02
opinion challenge: Opposites
mm2005's picture

Friendship of wind and sand

A friendship of opposites. At first thought, it seems unusual, yet possible. We have all heard the age-old saying, “opposites attract,” but does that apply to friendships?

Opposite friends are the best kind of friendship; an opposite friend is there to balance you, keep you honest. One is outgoing and loud, while the other is relaxed and calm.

The balance is needed, someone to tell you “no” or “that’s not the best idea,” your person to give you the advice you never even thought of.

Your weaknesses are your best friend’s strengths; if you need help with anything, you have the perfect partner to fix it.

A friendship of opposites is less like fire and water and more like wind and sand. Water and fire are mutually destructive; water will extinguish a flame, just as fire will boil water away to nothing. Wind and sand go together, yet are very different. They have things to each their own, the wind has air, while sand has earth.
May 24
molly.sargent's picture


People change quite a bit. Sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. Many people wonder what changes people. I think the people are the main reason people change. Judgement, opinions, words, thoughts, self-hatred, life changes, big events, and probably even more. I don't think that some people realize they change, but everyone else can see it. The change in their moods, their looks, and their attitudes. One little thing can change all of these on a person. I think change is good. Mainly. Something can happen in ones life and they can change in a positive way. They improve their self. Cut their hair, change their clothes, become more confident. These are positive changes. I don't think its good at all when people change in a negative way. Become anti-social, dislike people, and even hate the things they used to love. I think there is always room for improvement and people should lead their self towards filling that room. Don't make more room. Change happens all the time.
May 20
fiction, opinion challenge: Clicker
mm2005's picture

Life Remote?

The concept of a life remote is interesting; it is one that holds great power. With the ability to pause, fast-forward, or rewind, life would be drastically different. The weight actions would hold would be much less. I think the life remote could be used for great things, but could also hold many negative possibilities. A life remote would make “living in the moment” almost useless, if one could rewind and replay the same moment again, there is almost no reason to stay present when it is occurring. That being said it could make hard times better; like the first day at a new job or a big presentation would be less nervewracking. If the outcome was not as you wanted, you could simply do it again. Similarly, special days like weddings, graduations, and birthdays could lose their significance if one could repeat, relive, or rewind the day countless times. With the ability to rewind, meaningful moments could lose their meaning, yet tough times could become easier.
May 12
seriously.sharp's picture

Why Test-Optional is the Best Option

After four months filled with six cancellations, I sat in a silent, stuffy gym and finally achieved the quintessential high school experience of sitting down for 180 minutes to take the SAT. It was October, a month before my first round of college applications were due, and a few months after I had given up on studying. Around the country, many students experienced the same struggles: despite lockdowns and quarantines, the College Board reported that 2.2 million students still managed to take the SAT at least once in 2020. In a world where a global pandemic brought all events to a standstill, ceaseless police brutality caused racial tensions to boil over, and natural disasters ravaged the South and Southwest, standardized testing should have been the least of students’ worries.
May 12
opinion challenge: Maskless?


Everyone is SO excited about getting the vaccince...but does anyone else realize it has not been tested enough to know the side affects? You could literally get the vaccince then die in a year because of UNKNOWN side affects. 
Or has anyone thought about this: If you get the vaccince, you have a chance of getting the virus but not having to go to the hostipal but you can still give the virus to your friends and family so everyone should still wear masks.
Just remember if you get the vaccince there are unknow side affects and you can still get and give the virus to people.
Stay Strong Social Distance Wear Masks
Do your part in keeping the world safe and the people on it.
May 05

USA Commercial: Wealthy White Man

Are you a wealthy white man looking to spread your already infinite horizons? 

Well look no further! 

Join America today, where things are always changing but you'll always be on top. 

Need a job? No worries, put in 1/2 the work for x2 the result! 

Get in trouble with the law? No problem, they'll cut you some slack. 

In America we don't care if you're an immigrant like the rest of us. You have a European accent so it's fiiiine. 

If you want more Power to Your Privelege join America today. 

Call 1 -800 - 525 - AMERICA today. 
That's 1 -800- 525 - AMERICA today.  

Sideffects may include, but are not limited to: ignorance, pride, intolerance, and racism. 

Join America today!

Apr 21

The full story

Today, I was kidsitting for a girl who lives in my neighborhood. As we finished up our lunch, I noticed that she hadn't finished all her mac-'n'-cheese. When I asked her why, she responded, "because it has calories!" 
Two parts of this made me hurt internally. The first being that a six year old is concerned about calories. The culture of dieting and becoming thin is impacting the growth of children who need food to thrive. 
The second idea is much more complicated. 
This girl was misinformed about calories and the misunderstanding led her to believe that calories were "bad." 

She heard an incomplete idea that is now influencing her consumption of nutrients. 

Apr 21
opinion challenge: BLM-Verdict


For a few moments last evening, I sat back with relief. 
Finally, the man who murdered George Floyd was behind bars. 

Then, just as I thought we might enter an era of reform and accountability, a 16-year-old girl was shot by police in Ohio.
A girl who had called the police because she was being abused within the walls of her foster home. 

Tell me why, when I reach my eighteenth birthday, I should pay taxes to support the police. 
When all this pain, all this distrust, is because of law enforcement systems. 

Tell me why a young woman was murdered for protecting herself. 
Tell me why a uniformed officer shot her for being brave enough to say, "I need help." 

Tell me why girls in similar situations aren't going to feel silenced, rather than supported now that they've seen what happens to girls who speak out.