Young Writers Project: Rebecca Orten, Vivian Ross

Young Writers Project is an independent nonprofit that engages students to write, helps them improve, and connects them with authentic audiences in newspapers, before live audiences, and online. YWP also publishes an annual anthology and The Voice, a digital magazine with YWP’s best writing, images, and features. More info: or contact YWP at [email protected] or 802-324-9538.
This month, we present General Writing responses.
I. Sure, it’s gorgeous here —
I have plenty of nature’s glory
in these winding mountain roads,
but they make me citysick,
and I need proof of human decay.
II. Let’s go somewhere
where there are a million lonely people,
broken smiles, and cigarette fingers.
We’re sane because everyone’s alone.
III. Why is it that emptiness is heavy,
but skyscrapers make me light?
Open meadows are exquisite,
but they don’t fill me the way
symphonies of taxi horns
and masterpieces on subway walls do.
V. I’m sorry to betray the stars
by choosing neon lights over constellations,
but there are some things
that are seen much clearer
from a hotel fire escape.
 – Rebecca Orten, 14, Middlebury
The beginning of a story
She lived on the edges of a small idyllic town in the country. It was quiet and safe, a place where nothing of consequence really happened. Occasionally, one promising student would win some spelling bee or other, or some rare wildlife would be spotted in someone’s back yard. The town was so small that it was impossible to go anywhere without recognizing some acquaintance. Everyone knew who everyone else was. Winters were cold, summers were hot, and everything in between was wet.
There was an ice cream stand, horribly understaffed, that acted as a hideaway for all the local teenagers. Friends would often congregate there, or in the park across the street. The ice cream wasn’t particularly remarkable — but it was cold and sweet, so that’s the place everyone wanted to be on hot August afternoons. Boys and girls and people in between would find themselves there without meaning to, having felt the indisputable pull of the mediocre ice cream stand…
– Vivian Ross, 14, Middlebury

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