Young Writers Discuss Innocence and Memories of a Playhouse
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. This week, we publish responses to the prompts, General Writing; and Object: An inanimate object comes alive and tells you how it really feels. Read more at youngwritersproject.org.
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).
She smiled as she pushed through the willow trees
and laughed with the angry bees
as she hid behind the cattails
and hid in the thickets off the beaten trails.
She ran farther than the giant could throw
and plucked the feathers of the crow
as she ran in the empty field
from what her dark shadow revealed.
She ran races past the nimble deer
and refused to admit any fear
as she slowed under knitted branches of the wood
defending herself on the grounds of misunderstood.
She coughed up wiry grains of sand
polluted with the truths of the mystical lands
as she stole flowers from the wild florist
drinking poisonous mushrooms of the dark forest.
Climbing into the bark of her mind that was overactive,
she said it was never the way she thought she’d live;
problems were one thing she’d never admit.
She simply ran a few rings out of orbit.
She stretched out her arms, trusting she could fly;
she stepped off a cloud, believing she’d never die;
the winds carried her softly to a place she better belonged
if you listen closely, you can still hear her song.
There is a place deep in the hills
With twisted roots and icy chills
Where pine trees bow and their branches hang low
And a little girl’s boots trip in the snow
The little girl smiles and laughs away the world
One day she’ll outgrow where the wind once swirled
The trees will bend lower and the sky will grow dark
And the wrinkles on the girl will be just like the bark
The smiles grow weak and the laughs fall apart
And she’ll no longer have an innocent heart
Now instead of a laugh she only bears tears
And she’s being consumed by all of her fears
So she goes back to the woods and returns to the trees
And she still wanders here when she’s brought to her knees
Walking past my old playhouse this morning, I thought I heard someone whisper, “Stay.” I didn’t see anyone, but the sound came again, “Stay.” I wasn’t scared; the voice was warm and low. It seemed to be coming from the broken, crooked door of the little playhouse. I stared at the wooden house that I hadn’t really looked at in years.
It greeted me like an old friend and then said, “Don’t you want to know all the things I have seen?”
I said yes but wasn’t sure how my old playhouse could’ve seen anything that I hadn’t. It began, “I remember when I was first born; your father built me after you and your sister got so upset when he tore down the tent you made under this tree. I was built in the very same spot.”
“Didn’t it make you upset, being a replacement?” I asked.
“Oh no, I didn’t mind. Right away I could see you and your siblings would take good care of me.”
“Well, we didn’t exactly do that,” I replied, looking at the sagging roof lacking shingles and the paint-splattered windows.
“Maybe not in that way, but you spent many hours in here. I remember when you and your friends tried to paint me bright orange, but you only got as far as my windows and you never finished.”
“It was so ugly!” I said, laughing. “I forgot how we tracked paint all over the house and got in trouble. But it was worth it.”
“And the time you found the bird’s nest with robin eggs in it,” said the house. “The mother robin was there every year after that, and you always stayed out of the playhouse in the spring so you and your sister and brother wouldn’t scare her away.”
“I do remember,” I said, “And I remember the crab apple tree blooming every year over your roof. Now it only blooms every few years, but I guess it’s getting older.”
“And so am I,” said the house.
“I forgot how much I used to spend time out here,” I said.
“Well, do me a favor,” said my old playhouse, “and don’t forget.”
One Saturday morning I sat in an armchair;
I’d do homework after I napped.
And it was that moment I sat in the armchair
when the armchair suddenly snapped.
“Enough!” the chair bellowed. “I’ve had it with you!
I’m through with this terrible chore!
You’ll just never know what it’s like to be sat on
and I won’t take it anymore!”
I jumped from the chair with my eyes round as plates
and I let out a rather loud shriek.
“My pardons,” I said to the chair cautiously,
“but do tell me, since when did you speak?”
The armchair ignored me completely and
simply repeated, “I’ve had it with you!
You and your family always forget
that we armchairs, we are people too!”
“I’m sorry!” I wailed. “It won’t happen again!
And to that I can solemnly swear!”
But then it chose that moment to hush itself up
and start acting like any old chair.
I crept up the stairs to the hallway, my bedroom,
and flung myself down on the bed.
I thought to myself what a nice place to nap!
Why, I’ll take all my naps here instead!
“Enough!” the bed bellowed…
Vermont Writes Day
Feb. 7, 2013
Students, teachers, all writers!
Across Vermont, people are setting aside just seven minutes on Feb. 7 to write!
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. Surprising. Interview someone you know and ask the person to tell you a story you’d never heard before. Alternate: Photo 8. (See it on youngwritersproject.org.) Write a story or poem based on this photo. Due Feb. 8.