YAWP Summer Fellowship: 100 Word Stories
Students from Grub Street's YAWP Summer Fellowship were tasked with writing stories of exactly 100 words. We asked them if we could publish some of them on our blog. The students are a mix of ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth graders.
The Ones That Grew with Storms
There are three of them, in the backyard under the trees. They play during the summer, winter, fall, and spring. They rise with the sun every day and are forced inside by the cool hand of dusk come evening. They gather arsenals of tree branch guns and bury shared secrets in the dry dirt. Feet are bare, smiles wide, hands dirty. The three play and laugh until storms come. Storms come and they go home, go separate ways and grow and change. They meet again, don’t play in the yard. They sit and talk. They sound nothing like they should.
--Emma LeBlanc Perez
In Defense of Defective Clocks
The jazz room clock refuses to tick in seven four. It refuses to speed and slow with our tempo. Unfeeling, it stares, a clicking eye. I itch to play in circles till I’m too dizzy to stand but there are only eight minutes till next period and the jazz room clock won’t meet my eyes but instead whirls on, as uncooperative and inflexible as the worst bassist I’ve ever known. I turn to the kit– screw the clock. I drown in the shining hum of cymbals and fat smack of snare. No cogs, no gears. We tell our own time.
A Curse to Those Who Dressed Her
She didn’t move, and for some reason it surprised me. It was strange and disturbing to see the lipstick and rouge on her face. Pink. Pearls. Who dressed her? Where were her glasses? I touched her arm. She felt cold. The freezer wasn’t a place for a woman like her. Nor was the dirt. I thought I saw her chest rise. She was breathing? No. I imagined her popping up, opening her eyes exclaiming, “Just kidding!” I would hate her. She didn’t deserve to be remembered this way. She wasn’t this, this chest of what strangers thought she could be.
What did I really do? I know I was annoying, but does that give people a right to thrash your name around?! It takes guts to create a fake Facebook page about another person. Not only have that, to put in some nasty and vile things that I wouldn’t even show an adult. And how did I feel? I don’t really know. My mum kept me home the day she had the page shut down. I’m so thankful for her because she’s always there for me. But I was very confused after that. Did I really matter, did anyone care?
Why I Was Late For Work Today
I like outdated things. It’s a psychological defense against iPads; it’s revenge for the Anti-Facebook Club whose ranks thinned and disappeared, vanquished by the allure of an online world. Hence, the pocket-watch.
Forty dollars on Amazon- no treasured heirloom. But its inner organs comfort me, its ticking heart whispers, in Morse Code, that it, too, wants to slow down.
But it is the fate of clocks to persevere relentlessly, especially when meticulously wound every morning by a loving patron, especially when each proceeding Roman Numeral draws along the hour hand with such seductiveness that life barrels on with its characteristic adamancy.
Land of the Free, Home of the Lost
I hate freedom. Freedom isn’t terrible because I hate it. There’re plenty of people who match freedom wonderfully, like chocolate and peanut butter. I’m allergic to both though. I want to be conquered. I B.S. my way through life, waiting in my ivory tower for someone to appear. Someone born and bred ‘a leader’. Someone unbent and unbroken, who will tell me to do ‘it’, explain ‘it’, and how ‘it’ can help others. I know nothing of ‘it’. ‘It’ is terrifying, far beyond my comprehension. I seek a conqueror; for without one, I’m idle, pointless. Without a conqueror, I’m lost.
The Fire Bites You, and the Ocean Kisses Your Toes
The worst thing that’s happened to me:
The mosquito bite on my ankle that I scratched until it bled.
The sting that lingered on my cheek that night I snuck in late, my father’s face barely lit by the green digits that crawled through the silence—1:17.
That C+ for Señor Hernandez.
Sleepless nights and wet pillows, only to drift into your smile amidst the purple clouds of dawn.
The best thing that’s happened to me:
Red jello with salad, no dressing.
Momma’s warm hand-knit gloves.
My very own library card.
Laughing, talking, trusting with all my heart.
They sit across from each other at the kitchen table. Their heads lean back, but their feet are close. His feet spread wide; hers rest in the space between his. They do not touch. His tan skin is neon next to his greying hair, his dull blue button-down, his undershirt’s fraying hem. When he’s nervous or bored or both he bites on that hem.
37 years of marriage and a beautiful daughter named Maria. “We did good,” he says. He sips his chocolate milk.
Her legs twitch and she nods her head yes to 37 satisfying, not quite happy years.
Dunkin Donuts Never Smelled of Mistletoe
She’s been here before. On this exact pathway, by this exact tree. That exact squirrel. “He fed it candy,” she reminds herself—“Skittles.” The grass stands strong today, unhampered by snow or leaves or dog paws. She sits, back to tree bark, feels the roughness against cottoned skin. Worries she’ll get grass stains on her pants, though she didn’t the first time. This must be poetry. The air is too clear and whispering tree-tops too familiar for it not to be. She stands, ears numb despite lukewarm weather. Hot chocolate is still in season. She’s ready for her second cup.
Grub Street's YAWP Summer Fellowship immerses high school students in the writers' life of creative craft and publishing. During three weeks at Grub Street, the teens work with published authors on original prose and poetry, meet with literary agents and editors, take field trips to inspirational locales like the MFA, and much more. In the spirit of writers' residencies for adults, all teens receive a stipend for their commitment to the program and their time spent as working writers.
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