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Young Writers Project: Truth, Beauty, and Superpowers

Each week, Young Writers Project receives several hundred submissions from students in Vermont and New Hampshire in response to writing prompts and selects the best for publication here and in 21 other newspapers and on vpr.net.

About the Project

Young Writers Project is an independent nonprofit that engages students to write, helps them improve and connects them with audiences through the Newspaper Series (and youngwritersproject.org) and the Schools Project (ywpschools.net).

Prompt: General writing

I promise to find the beauty in everything,

even myself.

I promise to smile at strangers.

I promise to stop living life through numbers,

no matter how much control I may crave.

I promise to read more, and understand beyond the surface,

especially people.

I promise to drink more tea,

and smile at the little things.

I promise to let go of phantoms;

only reflecting, no regretting.

I promise to take nothing for granted,

for life is the mere breath on a windowpane,

escaping its invisible pathways,

from outside in.

Prompt: Photo 5

I don’t understand.

I always get dirty looks from people.

I always see people whispering to each other as soon as I walk past them.

Why can’t I be like them?

All I ever want is to fit in with them,

But they will never see that.

I only want to be able to talk to the “popular” kids ...

And not just to myself ...

I want to be able to laugh with them at all of the jokes,

Except ... those jokes are all about me.

All I have to show them that I don’t care is my smile.

My “smile.”

All it is, is an act.

I can never be me around them.

The only place I can be me is when I am in my bedroom.

I climb up my ladder into the loft and stick my head through a hole I cut.

It enables me to see the world from a different point of view,

But never the same view as those from school.

I can never see that point of view.

Sticking my head through that hole

Makes me feel like I am an entirely different person.

One who never gets laughed at.

Or pointed at.

Or made fun of.

I am always happier when I do that.

Why, it’s just me.

Who would have thought the world could be

Anything but ordinary?

Well, certainly not ... me!

But here I find myself falling up,

Gravity gone and I’m like “Wassup?

Dude, I’m falling up!”

I’ll explain: this morning, I tripped and fell

I took a tumble and gave a yell.

But then I was like, “This is swell!

Dude, I’m falling up!”

Off the ground and in the sky,

I guess that now I can fly

And all the people passing by

Are like “Dude, she’s falling up.”

I see my dog below on the ground,

Frantically barking and running around.

I’m sure I did him astound

Because he’s like “Dude, she’s falling up.”

My head punched a hole in the ceiling,

it was not a good feeling;

and the pain left me squealing,

but then I was like,

“Hey, this is okay,

because, dude, I just fell up!”

Prompt: Superpower

I landed perfectly on the roof and proceeded to walk quietly down the fire escape.

Quickly and swiftly I tried to blend in with the crowd of people walking down the street, but it was hard to blend in, especially if you were silver and glowed.

I had the power to fly through time and the sky, saving various objects from the past.

A red light flashed before the crowd and a booming noise came from the sky, the red light, a warning sign for the meteorite headed through the sky.

I hesitated to do something at first, thinking that it could be a part of history and not to change it. I don’t know what happened next, but something inside of me jumped and I flew up into the sky.

All alone I began to see the planets up close, turning very slowly, and soon enough Earth just was a faint blue and green dot in the sky.

I jumped onto the moon and pulled a stopwatch-like thing out of my pocket. I pressed “go” and felt a blast of air streaming out of the place where the big rock had come from. It came hurtling towards me and landed perfectly in its original spot.

Every day I hear everyone’s wishes and it pains me to think that most of those wishes will never come true. These people, most of them total strangers, wish for outrageous things that will have no benefit to anyone but themselves. I guess it’s not really their fault, I mean I would be happy to have millions of dollars, to live in a big home, and to have a bright red sports car. Unfortunately, this is not the case and the only difference between me and those around me is that I’m in reality, while everyone else is stuck in their own little worlds where everything they wish for comes true. I guess I can’t be so judgmental of them because I too had a wish. I wished that I had the power to grant wishes, but not just any wishes. I not only wanted to be able to grant the wishes of those that I felt would be for the greater good, but most of all, I desired to help those in life who strived to be successful and tried their hardest to make something of themselves.

It was a Friday morning and I was awakened by the unpleasant sound of my alarm clock. There was something weird about the morning, it was abnormally quiet and there was a stinging coldness to the air. I felt like someone or something was waiting for me, but I didn’t know what it was. Once I arrived at school and sat down in the cafeteria, I looked at the students around me, all engaged in senseless conversation. There were many students in the cafeteria, but only three of them really stood out to me. The first was a younger student in the eighth grade who sat alone in the corner. He had no real facial expression and wore very dirty clothes. The second was another boy who I had never seen before. He held his running shoes in his hands while standing next to his much taller friends. The third was an older girl about the same age as me. She wore very nice clothes and held an extremely well detailed painting of what I’m guessing was her home, but yet, she did not smile. I watched all three of them closely for the next few weeks and learned more about them than I even knew about myself.

I learned that the kid with the unclean clothes who sat by himself every day was very poor and lived in the bad part of town. He lived in a small apartment with his mother who had a very low paying job. He walked over a mile to school every single day and tried his hardest in everything he did. No matter how hard he tried, he found himself alone. This boy had something unique about him, which was that he never asked for much. He didn’t ask for anything from anyone, he just strived to do better. Even though he was not a greedy kid, he had a wish, and I knew exactly what it was, so I moved onto the next one. The boy with the track shoes lived a normal life, he had loving parents as well as an older sister who looked out for him. He had good grades and cared a lot about school. As I watched him run track I knew what he longed for, a win. He was a good runner, but he had never won a single race. He worked hard every day after school, running, training and pushing himself harder and harder than the day before. I knew what his wish was, and so did everyone else. The girl with the amazing artistic skills seemed to have a great life. Her family was rich, she had the top grades in the class, and everyone loved her. However, her family life was miserable. Her parents didn’t recognize just how much potential she had and how much art really meant to her. Like the other two kids, I knew her wish as well.

It was now a Sunday night, a few weeks after I first noticed those three students. I had already learned everything about them that I possibly could and had become fully aware of their wishes. I came home from work and found my parents asleep and my house completely filled with a sparkling mist. For some reason, I didn’t question what the mist was, I just went up to my room and climbed into my cozy bed. As I lay in bed, I thought of what I was to do next. I found myself in a similar situation as the three people that I had learned so much about the previous weeks. I wished that the boy with the dirty clothes would get a new life, that the determination of the boy who played track would pay off, and that the artist’s parents would recognize her potential. I woke up the next morning and like weeks before, there was a coldness to the air and everything was quiet. I walked out of my room until it hit me in the face, literally. My dad, who I didn’t even know was home, suddenly chucked the newspaper at me and it slapped me right across the face. I picked up the newspaper and walked downstairs to my cup of coffee already on the table. I sat down and started to read the newspaper while drinking my coffee at the same time. I looked at the front page of the newspaper and with pure amazement, saw three satisfying pictures. The unprivileged boy was pictured in brand new clothes next to his mother, while holding up his mother’s winning lottery ticket. The track boy was holding up his first place trophy high, feeling triumphant in his first victory, trying to contain his happiness, which was impossible. The girl was pictured standing next to her proud parents, who both had their arms around her, holding up her new art scholarship. It was then that I realized that my wish came true and more importantly, so did all of theirs. They all held up their wishes, their wishes that came true. These were only the first three people whose wishes I helped come true. This newly found superpower would turn out to be one of the best things that could have possibly happened to me. Sure, I can wish for anything I want, but I don’t. I only wish for those who desperately need it and for those who are on the edge of giving up. That wish I made long ago was not only life changing for me, but also life-changing for all of those who desperately need their wishes to come true.

Next Prompts

I like — Create a list of things you like. They can be random and unrelated or they can have a progression and tell a story within a story. Alternate: Relief. Describe the moment when you felt the greatest sensation of relief from thirst, hunger, sadness, pain or fear. Due Jan. 25.

Three letters. Choose three letters. You can write a poem or a short story, but all words must either start or end with these letters. Alternate: Bottle. You’re walking along the beach and a bottle with a message inside washes up on the shore. What is the message? What do you do? Due Feb. 1.

YWP News

Vermont Writes Day

Feb. 7, 2013

Students, teachers, writers!

Across Vermont and New Hampshire, people are setting aside just seven minutes on Feb. 7 to write!

Find out more at vermontwritesday.org.