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Young Writers Project is grateful to VTDigger.org, a nonprofit news operation in Vermont, for publishing selected YWP writing, art and photos each week. Please support the young writers and artists by going to VTDigger.org and leaving a comment. These pieces are selected for publication by YWP staff, mentors and this site's Community Leaders. If you wish to participate in the selection, contact YWP Executive Director Susan Reid.
 

 
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.”
Sep 13
Michael Fernandez's picture

Bucket List

     When I was younger, I didn’t really have a bucket list. My dreams were things that were all easily accessible like doing well on a test or beating a certain video game. Now, as a 15-year-old, my bucket list has started expanding to include experiences and achievements that will take more preparation and effort. The older I get, the more I realize that there’s a huge world out there, and I’d like to see it. That’s why, last year, I decided to apply for a program called Where There Be Dragons. Where There Be Dragons is an organization that leads trips for young people who spend the summer in third-world countries on all parts of the globe. I did a lot of thinking to decide between all the offerings. I thought about what places sounded the most interesting, but also what kinds of things I would get to learn about and experience in each place. Finally, after much thought and research, I decided my top choice was Indonesia.
Sep 01

Ghost image

Sep 01

Explaination

The thoughts in my head race by,
I only write at night.
Faeire Queens and butterflies,
I only write at night.
Wars and pollution,
I only write at night.

As the bright stars race above me,
And the moon shines so brightly,
I only write at night.
As the safelights whiz by,
And UFOs' drift by,
I only write at night.
​I see such beauty in the world,
It almost makes me cry.
I only write at night.
Do you wonder why I write,
At such an 'ungodly hour'?!
I only write at night,

Because a deaf bird can still sing.
Aug 23

A Moment To Reflect

Aug 23
poem 5 comments challenge: Manual

And then she grew up

Mama, why do I feel so alone?
Sometimes, you are too big for the world. You are full, too full, full to the eyes.
Then why do I feel so empty?
Sometimes, you are too big for yourself, too.
I don’t know what to do.
Pick up your tears and your knees and make a mosaic out of your pieces.
Try again.
Again?
Again and again and again.

Keep one hand in a fist, but leave the other open
to the birds,
to the sky,
to someone you haven’t met.
Give and give and give,
but don’t be afraid to take.
You are the first, the only, the priority.
You are yours.

And always carry a needle and thread,
so when you break hearts, you can stitch them up as best you can.

I don’t want to break hearts, Mama.
I know. 
Believe me, my darling, I know.

But don’t give up.
Sing with the car windows down and
Aug 22

Through Glass Eyes

A young girl sits alone at a window,
admiring the night sky.
She dreams of flying with 
the stars,
but stares blankly,
looking through glass eyes.

An unknown thief watches thoughtlessly 
as happy families scurry by.
He hopes to someday 
be a part of one,
but sits still,
looking through glass eyes.

All of these people,
who have countless dreams,
are searching for a way
to escape,
to break out,
from behind their 
cold,
glass eyes.
But something
is stopping them.
Something that protects that
shield. 
Fear,
worry,
anxiety. 
Some have no trouble breaking 
through glass eyes,
letting go of their questions
to immediately get answers.
But some don't trust that there 
are good answers,
so they sit back and continue to hope,
looking through glass eyes.

A successful businessman sits at his desk,
Aug 16

If the Sky Meets the Sea

Aug 14
madeleinec0's picture

Little changes save lives

To help our planet all you truly need is a fresh mindset. In the past few months I've grown from someone who simply enjoys nature, to someone who deeply appreciates its value. I then wanted to find ways to give back to this lovely earth whom we've broken so much. However, focusing on the negative is part of the problem. Yes our ecosystems are dying, but you know that, what needs to become more known is hope. The hope that you and others can change your ways and open your mind. You can save the planet. The sooner you realize it, the more empowering it is. 

I started small, by shopping at thrift stores more often. Not only is thrifting the most eco friendly way to shop, but it is a lot more fun. So after I started thrift shopping I stopped buying from big retail stores. I even brought out my old sewing machine and patterns and made myself a few shirts.
Aug 12

Greed

Once there was a little boy,
a king's son but no less of a brat,
squawking for every treat and every toy –
a carriage, a pudding, a cat!
The king and the queen thought their son was swell
and his greed was simply ambitious,
ignoring the gossip the peasants would tell
saying such judgement was purely fictitious.
One day an old hag journeyed to the gilded gate,
saying she had something to take to the court.
The watchman asked what she carried in her crate
and the woman said it was of the magical sort.
But no sooner than the silly watchman had lowered the bridge,
the hag reached to the heavens and said,
"Biggety friggety liggety lidge,"
and every soul in the castle dropped dead.
Now, I say every soul, but it was every soul but one
because the hag had spared the king's boy.
She found him eating cake in the balcony sun,
yelling to the maids for another toy.
Aug 05

Smore

Jul 30

It's really human of you:

16 candles 

close your eyes 
make a wish 
bury it under the driveway for no one to find 

breathe in the sky 
and out
a naive hope 
that birthday candles will secure 
a happily ever after 

or new shoes 

whichever comes first 

and hope it's the shoes 
so when neither arrive 
on your front stoop 

the disappointment 
shoved up your nose 
doesn't drip down your throat and 
drown you 

but again you will wish 
with your hands 
on every stone that gets
lodged in your shoe

on pen caps 
and planets 

saving the scraps of paper 
from fortune cookies 

lucky numbers: 12, 5, 67, 23, 2, 9

close your eyes 
make a wish
bury it under the driveway for no one to find 
Jul 29

Letter to Myself (song lyrics i wrote)

this is a letter to myself
when the dark and the cold and the loney 
threaten to overtake your mind
when the hurt and the pain and the longing 
magange to creep their way inside
i dont want you to give in 
i dont want you to bite your tongue and close you eyes
dont let these feelings inside
cause i love you
i care 
even if im in the past
and your not yet here
i love you
and i see 
in you, all the best parts of me 
this is a letter to myself
no matter where you are
no matter where youve been 
no matter what youve done
i still love you more then them
no matter what youve seen 
no matter what youve heard 
ill still listen to your every single word
casue i love you 
and i care
even if im in the past
and your not yet here
this is a letter to myself. 
 
Jul 26

yellow

Jul 22

Photography Adventure

My latest photography adventure!
 
Jul 20

Our cups are ready to be full

The crayons melt, 
And there is no controlling where they spread. 
The colors you thought would fill the spaces
Are muddled together. 
New colors are created. Some are ugly. Some are beautiful. 
Some are splattered. Some are steady. 

A man stands under the colors. 
And although it is assumed he would be sad, 
Getting dumped on by wax,
He smiles widely and holds up his cup. 
He does not try to protect himself from the ambush of color.
Instead, he embraces it with all he is. 
His cup is ready to be full 
Of all those ugly, and beautiful, colors. 


Life melts. 
And there is no controlling it. 
The people and events you thought would fill your spaces
Are muddled together. 
New relationships are created, and new things happen. Some are ugly. Some are beautiful. 
Some are splattered. Some are steady. 

We stand there under the chaos life throws at us. 
Jul 15
poem 6 comments challenge: CJP-2020

It is a good, good body

You are not all perfect.
There are parts of you that you don't want to explain,
there are pieces of you that contrast with everything else.

Yet
people will call you beautiful
and you will like it.

But
chaos is beautiful too
and messy is beautiful
and flames are beautiful too.

Impulse lies uneasy in your joints
but feels welcome in the heart.

Water falters at the desert
yet pours from the spout.

You do not have to burn to be shining,
you do not have to throw yourself in the flames
to become beautiful.

A deep heart is twisted around your ribs,
blood cannot paint 
so imagine your ribs to be pearly white.

If your heart became an ocean,
your lungs would freeze to become glass caskets
already prepared for a dying breath.

As if the body was a metaphor for mistakes.

My hair is tangled in fishing hooks,
Jul 14

Leave the light on

Jul 08
poem 2 comments challenge: Open
PDubuque's picture

Open Your Eyes....

Open your eyes and see what is good, 
what people have done just because they could.
In a time of chaos and sickness and fear, 
there are some that remind us they are always here.
Think of the nurses that are working so hard,
they help and they heal the folks that are scarred.
There are businesses donating the supplies that they can,
compassionate people lending a hand.
The media focuses on all that is bad,
but what if they talked about what made people glad.
The flowers are blooming the sunshine is bright,
and I think this world will be alright.
Good deeds are everywhere, and they aren't in disguise,
all you must do is open your eyes.