Carmichael Crespo, 10th - Newbury Park, CA
“What is rippling?”
“Well- it’s how everything is here, you see how we move slightly
even when we’re still? How the trees waver back and forth?”
“In the wind?”
“In the stillness. I suppose you might not be able to tell, but look at my hand. See the circles?”
“Yes... they move around you, just like everything. What are you talking about?”
“There is a place that looks like the stillness of our pools.”
“Their waters ripple, and their world is still.”
“I don’t understand. Is it like a space between ripples, or where waters are constantly moving? Are they in the pools?”
“Well... I don’t know. I’ve seen their waters move like the ocean, but theirs have texture.”
“Did you ever go to this world? Have you ever seen it?”
“I see it in every pool, and visit it in the spaces between the wavering of nature.”
“But did you ever go?”
“Never, truly, but I have seen pictures and read of it.”
“Fake. When I swim in the water I do not go to this place, how can it exist?”
“If you haven’t been, and I haven’t been, how do we know someone could go?”
“Because you can.”
“Sure. Should I find a way? Should I buy a train ticket and say, ‘I’d like to go to the unrippling world, please.’ And they say, ‘Ah, righty-o then, enjoy.’”
“I don’t know. I would love it if you tried. But keep that unrippling place in your mind for me.”
“Thank you, Revaw. I hope you go someday.”
Revaw put the paper down. Shortly after that conversation, the man he had spoken to died. He had never seen this place. Something remained to be done.
Revaw and the man he spoke to lived their entire lives with the rippling trees, but now Revaw stood at the end of a row of tracks that stretched over the sea. He bent down and watched the wiggling of the sharp lines come together in a point far in the distance. Still blue water and flowing white clouds separated by an ever-thinning line.
The ancient ticket booth stood near on the beach. His feet imprinted the smooth sand with waves.
“Excuse me, is there a way...” The man at the booth gazed at him, recognizing a familiar look in Revaw’s eyes. He paused. The booth did not waver. The ticket in the man’s solid hands were comfortably unmoving.
“Here you go. Enjoy.”
It was a gift.
The train pulled in. An older train, one could tell by the slowness of the waves upon it. It was quiet and no whistle blew. The stairs did not creak when he boarded. And there he went.
He imagined how this train would look from the outside while it crossed the water. A shining, slowly rippling vehicle perfectly reflected in a polished blue mirror.
The warm sun and shadows moved across the wooden floor of the all-but-empty car. Revaw drifted into sleep.
He woke up slowly in the stopped car and looked at his hand.
Max M. 8th - Washington D.C.
In the false beauty of solitude, you may be fooled, to see it shimmer,
Adding kindle to the fire of the alone, you may feel happiness in this forsaken void,
But over time you will grow eager,
Wandering through the ragged dark,
Eager for a sense of comfort from others
In the deceiving warmth of summer, you may think that you do not need,
the warmth of loved ones, that it can be replaced, with the summer warmth,
which has dragged you into this ragged sense of false security,
You sulk remembering that the blade of society had plunged too deep into your soul,
While the online hive mind has convinced you that society has failed us, leaving you to fall deeper, into the void of solitude
Eliot M, 8th - Bethesda, MD
I am a joke (to laugh at)
I am a meme (to share)
I am a faker (to claim)
I have Tourette’s
No, I am not possessed
And no I’m not doing it on purpose
It’s not anxiety
It’s just how my brain works
It builds up
Like mentos and coke
It wants to be let out
I am not popcorn because I Pop
I am not dangerous because I Hit
I am not sick because I Sniff
I am not confused because I Shrug
I am not afraid because I Flinch
I am not a bird because I Whistle
I am a human because I feel
I am not diseased because I’m different
I am loved because I am me.
KiD, 10th- Berkeley, CA
Once upon a time, there was a boy who woke up every day wondering who he was. He
wondered what he should do with his life, life, he wondered what his purpose was. He wondered what it was like to do something so nefarious that even God can’t even forgive. He wondered who would care, who would reach out and stop him from doing it. He starts to think to himself that he’s living on his own groundhog life, heyday. In some sense he is. Every day he greets people with a great big smile and with a happy smile, but it’s hidden behind a mask. Is the mask real or rhetorical? The boy wonders why it is so hard to tell people how you really feel and why they feel like this. Why is it so easy to close yourself off and shut the door to others and conceal your true feelings behind a door with three different locks? He hopes he can find someone that can break down these doors. He sees the people that he loves so much and can’t go a day without but it almost seems like they don’t need him. It’s like they see him as a shadow that just follows them. It’s ok though cause it’s all in his head right? Those people feel the same way about him as he feels about them right. This can't be true because how can someone not care for him as much as he cares for them. The boy gives his heart out to everybody and that’s his only weakness. Once upon a time, there was a boy that secretly had a crush on such a beautiful girl, she was so pretty that she made him stop and stare. It was like she cast a spell on him. Every day he walked past her and said nothing. He wanted to say something but it was like he could. Every time he tried to utter a word he
couldn’t. It was almost like he had a lump inside of his throat. Maybe he thought he couldn’t say anything because he thought he was better off alone. Why would he think like that? Maybe it’s because he felt like no one really cared and liked him as much as he thought. Once upon a time, there was a boy who had asked the all-powerful being what was his purpose in life. Was he just some side character waiting to be cast into someone else's story or was he the main character waiting for his antagonist. Maybe he was the Antagonist of his own story. He waited hoping the being would show some type of vision or sign, but for all, he knows it never came. Maybe the being did show him but he was too blinded by his losses to see what he had right in his hands. Once upon a time, there was a boy who thought that he needed to change his lifestyle. He thought the best way to do that would be to change his perspective on life itself, maybe he should try to be more optimistic, and see more of the good than the bad. He thought this would be good for him. He would put himself inside other people's shoes to better understand them and build compassion toward them because understanding where someone is coming from can be the difference between life and death. Now the boy is rethinking his life choices. The people that he cares for keep asking him the same questions again. Are you ok? When that phrase comes across him he stumbles to think of the right words to say. That phrase makes him question his own identity because not even the boy knows if he is ok. Once upon a time, there was a boy that gradually started distancing himself from the ones he cares for. For the boy, it’s like everyone that he cares for just got off the Titanic, while he stays with the ship and slowly sinks to the bottom of the ocean. Every day that same boat sinks lower and lower and his bonds dwindle ever so slowly. The boy is thinking to himself that he has a problem because it’s
almost like he chose to be by himself inside of reaching out, but he is reaching out but the more he struggles faster he sinks to the bottom. Once upon a time there was a boy who wished that all of the noise would stop. Sometimes the noise is welcoming and fun but lately the noise has been angry and distant. He finds the best way to calm the noise or at least minimize the sound is to put his headphones on and go. This boy started to think that his life is becoming less and less his. For the boy it’s like he’s involved physically but mental his mind wanders astray to a far away land that he calls home. The boy doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life, is it because there’s too many options to pick from or is it because there is none that calls out to him. Once upon a time there was a boy that started to realize that he was changing; he just didn’t know if it was for better or for worse. The boy is trying to figure out if his problem is with himself or is his problem with the world. He also started thinking if he really has a problem or is he being dramatic and blowing things out of proportion. What if he got his problem from a family member that had issues in the past, nah that can’t be it though. Once upon a time there was a boy who had got used to spectating others and their lives. For him it was like watching his own T.V series in real time. He tried his best to interact with the cast but when he tried it didn’t seem right, so he sat back and just watched. By watching the cast he started to notice certain things that the cast would do. The boy was able to predict the show's outcome and every time he didn’t want something to happen in the show it happened anyway, no matter what he said or did it still happened the way he didn’t want it too. The boy questioned if he should continue with watching this show. Is this show really good for him and his health? So he turns off the T.V. and sits in the
darkness. Once upon a time there was a boy that thought that this day was going to be different, the boy thought this was going to be his day of rebirth.
Students 6th-12th Grades