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.

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.
Apr 19
Sydney's picture



By Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II  

Sung by Gordon MacRae, playing the character of Billy Bigelow in the 1956 film of the musical “Carousel”.


an act of speaking one's thoughts aloud when by oneself or regardless of any hearers, especially by a character in a play.

This was Billy’s Soliloquy…
Here is mine.

I sit and wait
Waiting for what?
I don’t know

I sit and wait, contemplating myself and my future
I wonder where life will take me
Where will I be in 10 years, or even 5?

I sit on the couch and wait
Waiting for the day to be over so that I can rest myself
Waiting to eat my next meal
Waiting for the next thing to begin

I sit and wait for no particular reason
Daydreaming, some might call it
Apr 18


he was my guidance,

the flame that lit my soul.

His slightly tanned hands molded me from a

lump of cold clay.

He shaped me, a linguistic michael angelo,

he carved my mind with his mellifluous words;

each one twisting my spine, vertebrae by vertebrae until I cannot go back to the way I was.

He was my Zeus, mighty and sempiternal, He is the one who drew the map and led me

away from Lost. He is the one that made me lift

a pen and make shapes that freed my mind. He is the one that taught me how to teach.

He is the one that my soul will miss most. He awakened something

in me so real, so alive, that no matter what weapon the monster beneath my bed shoves

into my hands and whispers wickedly ‘do it. do it for real, this time’ I will refuse. I will embrace the
Apr 16

The Story Of My Harry Potter Life

Please read this. It is so important to me that this story be told. I know it's long, but it's the most important thing in my life. 

When I first took the book off the shelf, I didn't know what it would begin. I didn't know how attached to these characters I would become, and I didn't know what tears of agony I would cry when I knew that I would never know them. It all began with a book.
Apr 16
The Soccer Bee 48's picture

The Fight

Fern, Suzy and I race to the swings. I get there first and jump on the tallest one. Fern jogs up and gets on the middle one. Just like her the middle friend. Suzy trots up.
“I want the middle swing” she says already annoyed.
“I got here first” Fern says.
“You got it last time” Suzy says again.
“ Fern did get here first” I say
“You are always on Ferns side”
“Am not”
“Fine” says Suzy
“Let’s see how much air we can get” I says trying to loosen the tension.
As we swing I get the highest and I throw my head back and yell in glee. Fern stats singing Hello by Adele. All of a sudden I have an idea. I lean back as I go forward and almost flip over. It was so fun. So me and Fern start doing that flip thing and sing. Suzy just smiles and swings. Soon I got bored and decided to leave.
“Hey Fern you want to go.”
“Sure” she says absent mindedly.
“I don’t want to go” says Suzy.
“Okay then stay” I say.
“No you guys stay.”
Apr 15

Boxed in

(Written in response to the challenge "Activist" in the workshop, Poetry with Alexandra Contreras-Montesano)

I am underestimated.

People look at me and see an average white American teenager.
13 years old
With medium length brown hair
With a quick smile and and a quicker tongue.

But people never stick around enough to find out more.

I've heard all my life that I'd better marry a wealthy husband who loves me and I'll have a good life.

But maybe I don't want wealth.
Maybe I'm not looking for a Prince Charming to sweep me off my feet
I'm not some damsel in distress.
I can take care of myself thank you very much.

I want to go to college
I want to be a news anchor
And later a senator
Maybe president

Because why not?
Life is only so long

Why do I even need a husband?
Apr 15

unspoken horrors

The door shuts behind as Mom and Dad leave for their "special night out", leaving me with my naughty little sister. I turn to her, putting my hands on my hips. "Okay, this time you do not get up in the middle of the night and try to take Venisa on a walk, okay?" I ordered her, pointing to our sad blue beta fish who I had to put on top of the fridge, just in case. Julia nodded, smiling widely and a drip of drool hanging from her chin. I sighed, rubbing my eyes and pulling Julia by her puggy hand into our TV room. I put on Julia's favorite show, The Backyardagins, and let myself slowly drift off.
I awoke later to find that our power had seemed to have been shut off. All the lights in the house where off, and the only thing that was illuminating the room was the weak light of my phone. Which was buzzing, as if it was alive and panicking. I picked it up, squinting at the words that apeared on the screen:
Apr 12
tobin's picture


Every year around two or three weeks before the snow melts and spring kicks into gear the first pair of canadian geese show up. We first see them in the fields a little way down the road, and then in our back field. When they first touchdown, they get straight to complaining. Honk honk honk, they go. We always joke about what they are saying and make up the geeses dialog.

“Dammit, i told you we should have stayed down south another three weeks”  sais one goose.

“ you should have heard yourself right before you left, i can't stand it down here i'm telling you now we should have left three weeks ago” replays the other goose.

Until the snow melts we laugh and joke about their incessant honking. When the snow dose melt they stop for the most part, that is until they have babies. When the babies are old enough to get out of the nest, the parents walk up and down the field telling everyone that they have babies and that no one should touch them.  
Apr 12

Overcoming A Strange Fear

If there's one thing I remember of our 8th grade trip to Canobie Lake Park last May, it was the first time I ever rode on the swing ride. I remember that it took my friends twenty minutes to convince me to ride it (since, I'll admit; I hate the majority of amusement park rides... I can't seem to handle the motion of them, or I'll start feeling dizzy and nauseous. I know, I know: I'm a party pooper!), and, once properly strapped in, I can remember the feeling of nausea and panic settle in my stomach. I was regretting getting on.
Apr 10

Do You Like Zombies?

Dear Maria,
Have you ever been to the Dominican Republic? I went there when I was just a little kid not long after my friend was hospitalized and my family and I stayed in a hotel with a pool near the ocean. You should have seen the waves! For a little girl like I me, it felt like they were towering hands rising and then burying themselves into the beach. I wonder how I would imagine them today. Probably just as waves, but you know that I’m more creative than that, so maybe it wouldn’t be too far from those big towering hands. I saw a starfish for the first time there as well as a stingray. Have you ever pet a starfish? They’re not as soft as one might imagine, especially someone who has never touched one before, but I bet their underbellies are softer than their backs. I always imagine that they’re laying on their stomachs.
Apr 08

Why war sucks

I will never be in the army.
I could never die for my country.
I would step away from the bullets streaming toward our politicians.
I don't believe in war.
I know that it exists, but I refuse to support it.
Wars are nothing but a waste of time and energy and people
Valuable people dead
Awash in their own blood.
Imagine having to tell families that their sons and daughters won't ever come home.
Today, my generation doesn't believe in their country.
Sure, I love America but I'm growing up with hate speech ringing in my ears
And pessimistic newscasts of death.
We're learning a twisted definition of democracy
One with maybes and occasionallies
And a whole lot of spilled blood.
Let me be clear though
I am grateful for members of our armed forces for keeping us safe
But I only wish that we didn't need to be protected from anything.

Apr 08
lana.W's picture

My Home

My home has been different almost every year. Home started out in Brooklyn, NY. Small town, Vermont is quite different from that. And Hanover, NH is quite different from both. I've lived in the city, the suburbs, and out in the boonies, and each setting has their perks... And their downsides in Vermont, nothing is in walking distance. In Hanover, everyone's already friends. I finally made my way into a circle of friends and let me tell you, it was not easy. Fortuneately (and unfortunately), I was too young to remember any of the bad parts of life in the city. But i imagine they existed. Home is different for everyone, and i have yet to find out where my next home will be.
Apr 05
Da Quinstah's picture

Fishy Problem

 People were running all over the place in different directions, everyone in panic. There was screaming, trying to get a hold on 911. The beach was just so chaotic. Once the ambulances showed up the panic seemed to calm down a little bit. I could hear sirens stretching from one side of the street to the other. Towels and chairs were being thrown or kicked, umbrellas being shoved around, people tripping and falling over objects and each other. I would’ve panicked myself, but the reason everyone was freaking out just seemed to be unhelpful and over exaggerated. The wound wasn’t even that bad, sure they needed help, but still not an excuse for the whole beach to be in complete chaos. The shark was long gone by the time emergency was at the beach. People can be so melodramatic.
Apr 05
tobin's picture


Every time my family is trying to leave one of us always has one last thing they need to do. No matter how ready we are, there's always something, most of the time it makes us late. When I was little it was always my dad who had to do something, wich really pist me of me because at that time I was a time freak and would count the seconds until we had to leave. As I grew up and started to loosen up about time, I two started having last minute things to do. For example, there are ten minutes until we need to leave and I am cleaning my room even though it is completely unnecessary. Lots of times I have had many chances to clean my room leading up to leaving but for some reason or another it has to happen right then.
Apr 05
Sydney's picture

Finding Home

Where is home?
Is it one place?
Does it have to be one place?
Can anywhere be called home, or can nowhere be called home?
Home is mentioned in casual conversations often. It seems to be a much more complex subject than one might initially think, though. Are people assigned homes based on their language, skin color, worldview, or even types of clothing? If I were to be assigned a homeland, it might be someplace in Europe since that is where the majority of my ancestors came from. But to just say Europe doesn't quite work. For one thing, there are so many countries in Europe. For another thing, I have ancestors from many countries in Europe, so it cannot be that just one of them is my assigned home. 

I have never been to Europe. I cannot very well call a place I've never been, home.
Apr 05

I Hate Being Sick

I hate being sick.
It sucks.
My nose is runny,
My eyes hurt and water,
I'm constantly tired,
And I have body aches.
Before you say anything, yes, I know everyone hates being sick;
But I especially hate being sick.
I have better things that I could be doing,
But no!
I'm stuck on the couch with a terrible head cold
And body aches.
Self-care, at this point, is my main worry.
Over the past couple of days, I've
Taken eight Motrin;
Drank several cups of green tea;
Had countless glasses of Emergen-C (drinkable Vitamin C);
Had two chicken bouillon cubes (which tastes heavenly);
Taken one hot bath;
And the list goes on.
I absolutely,
I wish the virus in my body would go away,
Since I don't have time to be sick.
I sound really weird, due to my nasal congestion (which really sucks!).
Pray for me.

Apr 03

Ripped Sails

You trample over me and take my shoes,
My heart sore, yet somehow still beating.
You took me,
Wore my clothes,
Spoke my voice
And left me with a shell,
That you still tried to carry.
You took my moon,
Then stuffed out my sun into smoke,
Now I am cold and feeling worthless.
You pushed in between until I could see no shore
While ripping my sails in the wind,
Making me desperate to save myself.
I swam after you, to grab my sun and moon back,
But my heart to sore, weeped along with my tears.
Hoping that someday it will get better.

Apr 02


it had been an early morning that we left nobber--getting up in the dawn that felt like it should be blue but was instead already tinged gold by the premature sun, packing up our things and brushing teeth in a hurry only to undo all that work when we made our breakfast out of pastries and coffee from a roadside station. we crept out past the cows and got in our car, a vehicle much too small to hold the five of us and our luggage, and drove towards dublin as the world woke up. 
Apr 02
annachristinapiccione's picture

Defining the Blushing Star

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