an open space for youth writing & mental health discussion
an open space for youth writing & mental health discussion
I stood in that black box
Watching as the girl’s fingers
Flew like birds in a flock
On her violin.
Like they didn’t want to linger.
The man stumbled into the newly renovated university library, contemplating the unfamiliar, abandoned campus that had greeted him cheerfully just hours ago. He looked for the newest edition of The Exo-Times, the school’s daily newspaper, hoping to gain insight into the school’s sudden emptiness. Around him he heard the whirring of industrial printers, and the clacking noise of typing. Eerily, he saw no movement, only students sitting at their desks. He went up to one of the students and shook them – “where can I find a copy of the paper?” But where there should have been eyes there were only glossy reflections of himself. “I’m sorry, there are no more copies available. I have to get back to work.” And with that, the student turned back and the sound of typing recommenced.
Long ago children grew up in greens
Now the eyes open to media, recordings, trendings, likes, comments, and phone screens
Instagram and Facebook makes you seen
Satiates the unquenched thirst of fame and name
Can it replace the touch and love of human sentiment?
Why so deep in the pit of shallow likes, comments, and subscribes?
Friends will hate, stranger's toll; some have popularity through bribes
Why are you oxytocin addicted?
Can a human-made app ever be greater than God-given enigmatic life?
It’s an ironic situation,
For us humans in quarantine.
In the past we stayed at home and gamed all night;
We spent our money effortlessly until our bank accounts raged;
Most importantly, we ate until we couldn’t see the TV anymore.
But now, things have changed.
The girl in the mirror is not your friend.
She’s a liar.
A silent assassin.
She is you.
Waiting for her prey.
The unlucky target?
Imagine, dark space engulfs the path like oxygen smothering flames. Adrenaline crushes my chest as we wander further into the night. Roots knot and entwine themselves with one another. It is blackened and burning in my memory, never to disappear again. Deep in the archives of human history; untouched in centuries. Aphotic and abandoned for many generations. Imagine, arms reach out, tantalising me, daring me touch one. Wishing they would whisk me away to another land on the tips of their wooden fingers. Figures form and deform in shadows of the walkway.
It’s unfortunate that blessings and curses are often indistinguishable at face value. We find ourselves chasing ideas or hopes that only seek to make our lives harder and often ignore that which could easily make us happy. That’s really what it means to be a human, I guess. We’re idealists living in an imperfect world and while we strive for perfection, while we pine after symmetry, the universe continues to overpower us with confusion and meaninglessness. We constantly look for the black and white in the world. Our binary perceptions are so deeply ingrained into the societies we have built. Good and evil, right and wrong, moral and immoral, X and Y. We attempt to weave the fabric of reality with only 2 strings of opposing colors.
Anxiety. What does it mean? What even is it?
The definition of it is “an overcoming feeling of worry or nervousness." In some circumstances I can relate to that; it is worry. It is nervousness. However, it is so much more that that feeling.
Caves that once were rivers do not forget.
The creatures that made homes out of them still roam, swimming through the musty air in place of water, continuing their lives in the same unearthly shade of white. You might call them ghosts; they look you in the eye and challenge everything you’ve ever known. Without warning, you’re struck with an awful realization: how are you to prove that you’re the thing in this cave, much further than six feet down, that’s alive?
She fractures her soul and mixes it into pâte à choux. This is the only way she knows how to survive; baking away intrusive thoughts and feelings that take up residence in her flour-dusted mind.
70 grams super-fine almond flour.
90 grams confectioner's sugar.
The soul awoke. It began to come into awareness of itself. The groggy cloud of oblivion faded. It sensed the presence of others.
A dizzying assortment of animated spirits filled the void-like chamber. Shining and resplendent orbs of silver, they hung, suspended. The enormity of the crowd of peers was comforting, yet the soul realized with a jolt how small--and alone--it was. The soul watched in fascination as another drifted over.
“Hello,” said the second soul.
“Who are you?” asked the first.
a summer storm.
Gone before I realized
I loved you.
You are strong, kind, and loving. I trust your ability to make things right and your feelings are sincere. I know you have good intentions, and I know you care about her, but please, we want to help you. You are our friend, and we should share our pains. I wrote a story that is related to a game that we both love to play. I hope that we can all trust each other...
For the longest time, fifteen years to be exact, I dreamed of growing up to be a ballerina. I took my first ballet class at the age of three after begging my parents to sign me up. My initial years of ballet were exactly as I had imagined before starting; I wore a pink leotard with pink tights and pink ballet slippers, as I leapt around freely and marveled in the magic of the yearly production of The Nutcracker.
Once upon a time – for that was how stories were once told – there was an author walking on the perpetually damp sidewalks of Bay Point, California. She could not remember anything, except for how she built her dream house near Treat Boulevard, or how she sat on the railing before her old apartment was encompassed by a timeless flood. There were no calendars to organize anything because everything had been drenched – which made her brows furrow and navigate this place again. On a whim, she realized this was her home. Skies caved in by the way she thought it was like. She thought that if she could do anything amongst the debris, she could manipulate it back into an ageless form. The author hurried back into her old apartment, room to room, in search for an object she suddenly thought about. She failed to reclaim the image of it, abandoning her frail mind to wander back into her constructed metropolis.
Dance with me as I keep you tethered under the sycamore tree
Your coffee-soaked lips open wordlessly as you keep me tethered in your bubble of gravity
Behind closed doors and under the sheets, the stars that flicker beneath your eyelids keep you tethered to me
Time crawls and curtains fall as your late-night drawl keeps me tethered in feelings of awe
In the valley of lilies and the field of thorns, grasp me tightly as these tethered ties cushion our fall
You sway passionately for me even in droughts of mystery
Beloved, come dance with me as you keep me tethered forever to your sycamore tree
His brain is in his body,
Just like anyone else.
His mind, however, is elsewhere.
It is somewhere unreachable,
As if living an alternate life
With struggles of its own.
Hey, it’s me again.
I know we haven’t spoken in a while.
I know we flirted back in high school.
That was a long time ago.
Seems like I haven’t talked to you in forever.
There once lived a girl named Mimi. Nothing in her life had ever been out of the ordinary.
It was late in the afternoon and Mimi was exhausted, so she decided to take a quick nap. but then right when Mimi was about to collapse onto her bed, there was a huge boom. The next thing she knew, she was transferred to a different universe.
My family and I have done quite fascinating things together, but our first time snorkeling was a milestone I would never forget.
Swarms of fish swam under me as I listened to my heavy breathing.
Earlier that day…
I have always considered waves to be one of the most beautiful aspects of nature to exist.
Their constant motion and ability to start over again and again in spite of whoever looks on exemplifies resilience to me, and I have loved this idea because it was a needed reminder that people always have the ability to move forward, as long as they let themselves do so.
Now accepting submissions on a rolling basis! We are open to the following from anyone ages 12-22:
Please limit submissions to 3000 words or less. We publish any and all pieces deemed appropriate - no cover letters, fees, or prior experience needed! Send your writing, as well as a short author's bio, through the button below! See our Submission Guidelines for detailed instructions and FAQ's.
We are also looking for editors to join our masthead - check the form in the About page if interested.
* = Editors' Choice work
Unless otherwise noted, all pictures used are open-source images in the public domain.