Young Writers Project: Esra Anzali & Siena Stanley

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.


Too many thoughts


Running in circles

as confused tears stream

down my face in

a beautiful dance.

Strawberries and cream

mixing on your tongue, heavy

breath on her face.

I like laughing while I

throw my patterned blue china

at the wall, giggling

as I jump around the shards.

Rain falling on her face

as you kiss her, down

by the river where you used

to take me to.

Dancing at 2 a.m. as

violins swell in the soundtrack

in my mind, my heart racing

as I sing softly to the

framed picture of the Eiffel Tower.

Late night calls when you

Can’t stop thinking about her

smile, or her laugh.

Screaming at the sky as

I pick at the strings on

my ukulele, long nails scraping

against the shingles on the roof.

Watching her favorite movies,

having a great time with your

normal girl at her normal house.

Sliding down the roof onto

the swing, throwing a dandelion

crown onto the stray dog who

wanders around the property.

Too many thoughts, too many

thoughts about you, so I pour the sleepy

tea over my head, hoping the

thoughts will get tired in 20 minutes.

They don’t.

— Esra Anzali, 13, Middlebury



You are enough


We all have a disguise on.

We are all forced to hide ourselves behind a mask,

making ourselves “socially acceptable.”

We all try to morph ourselves into something

that won’t be ridiculed and shamed.

But why?

Why are we as a society so evil?

Why do we make fun of those who are content,

just because they don’t fit our idea of “perfect?”

Why does there have to be one ideal,

when it is physically impossible for us all to be the same?

In fact, if we were all the same,

life would be boring,

and we would still all feel as if we weren’t enough.

So why do we only get acknowledged for our “flaws”

and never complimented on our own unique beauty?

Why are we corrupting the human race

into a population of people who feel like

they will never be enough?

Well, I would like to tell all of you reading this

a message that nobody hears enough:

Even if you don’t get straight A’s,

you are smart in your own way.

Even if someone tells you

that you are ugly,

there are countless

reasons why you are truly beautiful.

Whatever you are interested in,

pursue it!

There is no shame in any passion you may have.

And you make the world a better place

just by being in it.

And yes, this applies to you.

Don’t listen to anybody who tries to tell you otherwise.

We all have our struggles – 

you aren’t alone.

— Siena Stanley, 15, Bristol

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