Category Archives: encouragement

As If She Cared

by juliar

I felt her eyes brush mine

As if she was judging me from behind

Looking at my hair

Not missing any detail,  as if she cared

From my morphed together toes

up to my ski slope nose

I could feel her stare

The sizing up glare

It’s almost as if… she honestly cared.

*****
I want to tell her that you grow out of feeling like that…

…But I don’t want to lie.

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A Request

Please consider the following…
I never knew Ravenne Browman. I never talked to her. I never saw her in person, although allegedly I’ve been in the same room as her. She was one of those Facebook friends you have because everyone you know is Facebook friends with them. That’s not the most poetical of truths, but it’s the truth.
When I first logged onto Facebook yesterday and saw a bunch of RIP posts, I thought it was a joke. Maybe it was a “fake-a-death-online” prank, or she was leaving her school or somesuch and her friends were exaggerating. The truth absolutely stunned me, meaning not so much that it surprised me but that it froze my insides and left me physically gasping.
Why grieve for someone I didn’t know? I think it’s bigger than that. At nine I lost my uncle Mike to suicide. At this point in my life I hear far more often than I should of friends, friends of friends like Ravenne, people I’m vaguely connected to and people I’ve never heard of attempting, planning, considering or committing suicide. Every time I hear about a friend’s cousin or an aunt’s old friend, the injustice of it all grows on me. Who deserves to feel so awful about the world that they have to give up on it? No one. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy if I had the worst worst enemy possible.
Tragically, this is growing less and less uncommon. Suicide has now risen to the 10th leading cause of death in this country, and the rate is significantly higher in Vermont than the national average. What’s worse, it’s the third leading cause of death among people aged 15-24. Third. Let that sink in. That’s how many young people succeed, not how many try or want to, and it’s still the third most common reason young people die in this country. If that isn’t heartbreaking, I don’t know what is.
People clam up about suicide. They do. No one wants to talk about it. Some people are suspicious or skeptical of psychology. Some people are afraid to be judged. Some people don’t want extra attention and some are afraid that it will look like they’re trying to get attention. Some people just can’t think of anyone to talk to. If suicide were a disease, they could ask for medicine. If it were an injury they could ask for treatment. If it were a malicious third party they could ask for protection. But it’s none of those things. While many wish for help, they have no idea what kind of help to ask for. Something as ambiguous and isolating as depression is difficult to talk about.
On the flipside, knowing someone with depression or suicidal thoughts doesn’t always prompt people to reach out. It might be too awkward, it might be a complete misunderstanding, it might be offensive, it might give them ideas, it might only make things worse— the list of excuses goes on and on. And often these people end up fine. They get over their hill or find a lifeline. But just take a minute, as hard as this minute might be, to imagine if they didn’t, and you could have maybe done something to help. Imagine that guilt. You see, it’s not everyone’s job to take action, but in a way it’s still everyone’s responsibility.
(I in no way am trying to blame Ravenne’s community for a lack of support. Support isn’t always enough. I also won’t presume to know more than I do, and I know next to nothing about what happened. I do know that the only way in which I knew her was on my news feed, and what I saw in my news feed was love. The posts I saw from her were always about her friends— how much she enjoyed spending time with them, how much she loved them. I think that says a great deal about the people in her life.)
I’m going to ask a favor from you all now. I want you to contact someone. Maybe it’s someone estranged, or someone you know to be depressed. Maybe it’s just someone you think you ought to know. But I want you to call them, message them, post on their wall, Skype them, text them, bump into them or visit them— whatever you do. Ask about their life. Relive some old times or admit you’d like to be better friends. You don’t need a cheesy flatter-fest or a theatrical speech. Just make sure to tell them before you hang up, log off or walk away that they mean something to you. Possibly that they mean quite a lot.
After that, you won’t feel like you just saved a life. Chances are, they weren’t holding a gun to their head waiting for someone to text them. Chances are they wouldn’t have hurt themselves without you. And it’s not because of the chance that they might that you should do this. But part of changing the direction of the graphs on the news is the small and everyday effort we make to take a risk and reach out. Just as a symptom of depression is a feeling of isolation and aloneness, part of the cure lies in connection and support. That’s why we should smile at or greet each other in the hallway. That’s why we should ask a downtrodden stranger if there’s anything wrong. That’s why we should never drive away the people who want to be there for us, because you never know when they might need someone to be there for them.
It’s a challenging time for us young people. The idiom goes “treated like children and expected to act like adults” and it’s not far wrong. Adolescence and young adulthood is confusing and often lonely. While there is usually a deeper issue, no one should want to die because of loneliness and that is where we all can lend a hand.
When I was in seventh grade, I wanted to kill myself. Even my parents don’t know this, but it seems like the right time to share it. Obviously I didn’t, and I really and genuinely got past it. You might see me at school being goofy with my friends, laughing too loudly, play fighting and teasing. It’s not that I’m obnoxious— it’s that I think so long as I’m young enough to giggle about the word “penis”, I’m too young to die. Hopefully I will giggle about the word “penis” for my entire life. It’s that I’m not afraid to enjoy every moment of my day that I can, and it is my deepest wish that everyone could do the same. It’s that I carry Ravenne Browman in my heart along with so many others in varying states of life and death, and I hope they can all find joy, wherever they may be.

I love these kids.

I love these kids.

Young writers, reaching out and helping each other. We’re all the same. It’s never easy for anyone.

Driving is Scary, so I do it with my eyes closed

I was never exceedingly good

At focusing

Or staying in one place for too long

So most of what I say Is my wishful thinking

Grabbing the wheel

And driving off into the sunset

As we drive past dead towns and cities I will wonder

About better ways to fade away

And better ways to die

Or worse days to let go

And lose control

And wonder how I still move forward

So, if life really is a highway

I’ve been drinking

And probably swerving in my lane

So I’ll drop the bottle

And maybe get a grip

And wrap myself

Around the next lamppost I see

And I’ll sit there and wait

Until someone might stop

And give me directions

To the next hospital

by Archibald the Prophet

Original Post

Fine is an Ugly Word

Something about this one just spoke to me. From YWP..

It’s sad when you don’t feel special no more.
Makes your thoughts all jumbled
And your smile all sore.
Makes that mask you’ve been wearing
Feel just like your skin
And I’m not sure I like
This fake skin that I’m in.

And I’m not sure I like all these cellophane people
With their looking-glass thoughts
And their dirtied up steeples
Where they pray to get by just for just one little day
Where they tidy up numbers, all wasting away

With their dreams and ambitions all kept in a drawer
All locked up and socked up till they don’t shine no more.

I don’t wanna get by, I don’t wanna be fine!
Like the cellophane people who don’t cross the line
From their gray little quarters to their dull little lives
With their prim little daughters and their prim little wives.

So I wanna be messy and make people frown!
Well, its better than having it all upside down
In a neat little smile, in its sad little way
And I’m gonna be someone who’s special
Someday.

by clarahendersonsta

Clocks

The best story to come out of YWP just recently.

by Hazelnut

The last screw in place, He shuts the door. A final twist to the knob on the back brings the gears to life.  Pride on every feature, He gently hands the tiny clock to waiting hands, eager to display it in their home.  Fragile and fresh, the little hands tick, telling the time on its shining face.  The clock strikes one, a sweet note. A little scratch adorns the back, but none can see the fault, hidden behind the golden face.  Life goes on as the clock strikes two, still the pride of its caretaker’s eye.  A smile creases every face while it boldly chimes out three, still young, still strong.  Four ticks by, followed by five. Now, as it sings out six, trembling hands remove it from the mantle, torn by the parting soon to come.  As seven echoes through the halls, it greets a new caretaker. Surviving the bumps and bruises of the transplant, it is soon found comfortable on a new mantle chiming eight.  Nine watches fresh faces join the room. Ten brings trials soon left behind. Eleven seems to run away, while noon drags on.  Now one comes again, an echo of younger days. Chipped paint reminds all that its youth is past. Two creeps by.  Three comes far too soon.  Four brings company to the growing room.  As the wind blows, five sneaks by, unnoticed. Careful eyes note gold now grayed when the hands skip six and rush to seven. Eight reflects memories in the polished face.  By nine, they begin to fade. Now the speeding hand slows. But the steady rhythm beats on, tempered by years. At ten, the merry voice croaks and sputters.  Eleven is shuddered away, purposefully ignored by the caretakers. With a tear in their eyes, they hand the little clock back to Him as the clock utters twelve. The gears cease to grind. The hands cease to move. The notes cease to chime. Care in His face, He gently dusts the dented clock and nestles it onto a broad shelf, amid many other such clocks, worn by time, with room for many more, before turning back to his bench and turning the knob on another little clock, fresh and new.

Read it on YWP

The Cat in the Tree

(One from a while back on YWP)

The businessman walked by the cat in the tree
It looked to be soft and cute
The poor thing meowed pitifully
But he didn’t want to ruin his suit.

The firemen passed the cat in the tree
The fire truck seemed to sail
Towards a fire, not the kitty
So it joined in the siren’s wail.

Then a mother of five saw the cat in the tree
The kids took their chance to run
So she had to take off quickly
To ruin their mischievous fun.

Next a teenager passed the cat in the tree
And earplugs were stuffed in her ear
With the volume turned up so loudly
The mewing she could not hear.

Old Harold shuffled past the cat in the tree
And although he was very kind
It was hard to hear and harder to see
So to the cat his eyes were blind.

A baby with dad saw the cat in the tree
But being unable to talk
He could only gaze wonderingly
And past the tree they did walk.

Sad and trembling was the cat in the tree
It had lost all of its hope
Until two kids skipped happily
Up the trail’s long slope.

The boy and the girl heard the cat in the tree
Before it was actually seen
They carried the cat out cautiously
And placed it on grass that was green.

Even though a person can seem quite small
Or is only the age of three
That person can really become quite tall
If they save the cat in the tree.

by Paige H.

Where Innocence Lies

There is a place deep in the hills
With twisted roots and icy chillsWhere 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 swirledThe 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

by Ella (grade 7)
http://youngwritersproject.org/node/76470

The Prince of Night and Woodland Air

The Prince of Night
and Woodland Air
with heart so heavy
yet face so fair,
once came to me
when I was young,
just after set
of twilight sun.
He sang to me
the sweetest songs
of birds and stars
and goings-ons
in the wood
so far below,
where only fools
dared e’er to go.
He bid me come,
his smile so bright
it shamed the moon,
it felt so right.
And from my window
I was led
where earth meets sky.
And on a bed
of silver grass
laid we there,
in the night
and woodland air.
“This is my home,”
He said to me.
“Can’t you feel
in every tree
the freedom of
this unknown place,
the majesty
of untouched grace?”
I smiled at him,
all rosy cheeked,
and watched a fawn,
so quiet and meek,
come bounding by.
It made me smile.
“This all will die
in little while.”
I turned to him,
confused and scared,
and to my listening
ears he bared
the secret worries
he had grown
as he watched
from celestial throne.
“The earth does cry,”
He said to me.
“It’s in the quakes,
the air we breathe.
From water rushing
in from sea,
to every stump
and fallen tree.
This world we have
is not our own.”
And with that,
he took me home.
He led me to
my own soft bed,
then kissed the top
of my bowed head
and wiped the tears
that stung my eyes.
“My dear, nothing
may have to die.
Tell your friends
the things you know.
Share with them
what you’ve been shown.
With all your help,
perhaps someday
I’ll come again.
To you, I say,
the future is
within your hands.
Take this news
to distant lands.
Only you
can save my home.
Remember,
you are not alone.”
He disappeared
and left me there
with tear-stained eyes
and heart of care.
So went the night
he met me there,
the Prince of Night
and Woodland Air.

by cmandagrace

http://youngwritersproject.org/node/75735