By Raven Annson
Hi, It’s me Mandy. Today I’m just being lazy, naps and more naps. My mom is making pesto. Now they are making brunch. They're going fast. I hope I get some, and that no one gets hurt. Oh BACON, they're making bacon. I hope I get some. My mom promised I could have some. She did promise. Ok, now they’re almost done. It smells good, really good. Ooh, now I'm getting pets, and Theo got pets too. Ok, breakfast is ready. YUMMY
By Maddie Raymond
Part One: Dry Leaves
This is an exercise
In holding your head up high
Walk down a dirt road
Any will do
But they’re best up north
Ignore your white shoes
They don’t get dirty, darling
If they do, you won’t care
That’s the whole point of the exercise
You know you want to
You’re doing this in the middle of the day
Let the sun touch you
Sing along to your music
No one’s around
Smell the leaves
You’re a part of that
Let the crown of your head align with the sky
You’re a part of that too
You’re born from this earth
You live here
So, my darling
Use this exercise
Practice holding your head up high
You deserve to be here
Part Two: Lavender Soap
This is an exercise
In remembering who you are
Take a shower
Make sure the water is hot
Darling, you deserve comfort
Tip your head back
Close your eyes
Pretend you’re standing in the rain
While the water pounds on your scalp
Who were you
Before all of this
Watch the drops dribble off your fingertips
Until they start to prune
You’re a clean slate now, darling
Take that memory of the real you
Lather it on like lavender soap
It’ll hang around you for days, now
Step out the way you really want to
But be careful not to slip
You’ll probably need a bathmat for the first few tries
If it doesn’t work the first time
Darling, don’t despair
Sometimes it takes a few showers
To be born anew
Part Three: Scented Candles (preferably red)
This is an exercise
In being here
Stay up late
Everything is softer at night
And existence has so many jagged edges
Remind yourself you’re real
It’s nice and easy, darling
In the velvety dark
Light a candle
And smelling of something warm
You have nothing to prove here
Breathe in the scent
Let the warmth reach your palms
No matter what you’ve done, darling
You’re still allowed to have this
Wrap yourself in blankets
Hug your pillows tight enough to remember them
When the light of day makes you start to fade
Have faith, darling
That you are solid
Part Four: Two Glasses of Water
This is an exercise
In picking up the pieces
Don’t be ashamed, darling
We all fall apart sometimes
This is a partner exercise, darling
I know you’re ready
Pour two glasses of water
It’ll help, with the rawness of your throat
And your heart
Tell them something about yourself
Something they don’t know
Let the stillness of the room
And the water
Keep you focused
Like baby chicks lose their down
And the trees shed their leaves
We all have to expel parts of ourselves sometimes
Now, I know this part is scary, darling
But let that person take those parts
And put them somewhere safe
Sometimes it takes more than just us alone
To be made whole again
Part Five: Imperfect Camera (it just has to take pictures)
This is an exercise
In being the center of attention
Pick your head up, darling
I know what you’re capable of
Stand in front of a mirror
The bigger, the better
If there’s natural light, use it
You’re allowed to smile during the day, you know
Take out a camera
It doesn’t have to be a good one
It just has to take pictures
Snap a photo
Keep them all
Even when your leg looks off
Or your hair flies in your face
Notice the sparkle in your eyes
It’s working, darling
Pose in the way
You’ve always wanted to
But never let yourself
Even if in this moment
The only person who is aware of that
Maddie Raymond is 16 years old and lives in Goshen. Through writing, she has gotten to explore new perspectives, discovering things about herself along the way. What she loves most about writing is getting to experience something other than the day-to-day. Her favorite part about Woven Word has been the friends she’s made within the local writing community.
By Dash Merrill
I will remember the day this is all over
who cares if the Sun’s not shining
because it will be shining in my mind.
Who cares if it's wet and rainy
cause it will be the rain of freedom.
I will remember the day I will walk downtown again
I’ll get a big, sweet cookie at the café,
the kind that’s not too chewy but not too crunchy
the kind that will melt in my mouth
just the way I like it.
I will remember the day I can talk to the store clerk again
the day I get to hug my friends again
the day when I don’t have to stray from the strangers walking past
or wonder about the way the restaurants and benches are being cleaned
the day I can sit in the park and say hello to all the birds
who have been wondering where everyone has gone for so long.
But until that day comes, I will have to sit here and witness the destruction of time,
witness history that will one day be in the classes we are free from today.
Until that day comes, I will wave from a far
and give my wishes through pixels.
But I’ll let everyone know that
I will remember the day this is all over.
Dash Merrill is a 16 year old student at Amherst Regional High School who loves to write. Woven Word has been a part of Dash's life since 5th grade and he has enjoyed every second of it. He has met so many amazing people and had so many amazing experiences in Woven Word and wouldn't be the same without it. Woven Word has been a great artistic outlet for him to get out all the stories and thoughts crammed in his head which only sometimes make sense.
By Morgan Brown-McNeil
Trains on tracks,
Moving through dirt,
Rain making mud.
We once walked freely,
But now it's almost as if someone's put a damper on the Earth.
Oxygen seems scarce.
Shutters close over Windows,
Restaurants and other humanly objects criticized for trying to survive.
We line up six feet apart,
Afraid of a bug.
We wonder what cleaner the gas station uses a few miles down 91.
We search for the good in life on a screen,
Pixels guiding us through time.
Our dreams are filled with little Boxes,
All separately titled,
Covered in paper.
Smoke rising from lips scares us all more than sharks,
Seeing how far visible air from lips goes.
We run from our shadows,
Hoping they stay six feet away.
We gasp at the movies that have taken over our reality.
Wondering how so many people could be so stupid as to go without masks,
All an elbows length from one another.
Morgan Brown-McNeil has gone to Woven Word for three years. She's passionate about climate justice and loves spending time, barefoot, in nature. She loves to read and play music and she is very interested in outer space.
By Laszlo Hermann-Gwilliam
Delicious, salty, creamy, orange and white,
that's what I am.
Saltines and me.
Jam and bread under me.
Me melted into beans.
Me under slices of tomato on bread.
Those are my formats.
I'm... CABOT CHEDDAR CHEESE !!!!!!!!!
Laszlo Hermann-Gwilliam is 7 years old. He was born at 7 in the morning in the shadow of Mt. Rainier. When he was young, he enjoyed playing and having his parents read to him. Now, he enjoys pancakes, reading long books to himself, and imagining all sorts of worlds with his younger brother.
By Laszlo Hermann-Gwilliam
Slowly he walked forward, then he bowed a few feet away from me. I felt a burst of pride. I bowed, then he came close and I felt his warm palm as he patted my beak. Then he was hoisted up to my back, I began to flap my wings and galloping, soon we were in the air.
by Harper Ray Prudence Coady
The wind roaring like a tiger.
Rain falling making watery diamonds
on the green grass growing.
And the sun is a giant lemon
in the sky.
Snow melting, flowers coming
colors of yellow and purple
bursts of color!
Ode to Spring
Harper Coady is nine years old and lives in Florence MA with her mother, father and little brother. Harper goes to Leeds Elementary School and is in third grade. Harper loves getting a clear picture of stories she imagines when she writes them down.
By Bryan Perley
It is a Friday afternoon in the month of May and I pass through the doorway of the old farm house on the Food Bank Farm where my writers’ workshop meets. I am late, having just gotten out of a short cross country practice, but I am immediately received with a warm welcome from all those present in the kitchen. Danny, a complex and thoughtful poet, slaps his freckled hand on my shoulder and then proceeds to talk to me about the Eagle Scout process, as we are also both members of the same troop. I also manage to greet Joe, a long time member of the group and a talented debater for his school’s mock trial team. I sit down next to Lou, who often cannot make the workshop because of his sports practices, and joke about how short my cross country practices are compared to his. Margot plays with the household cat on the window seat, while Benny, the host of the workshop and son of our instructor, enters. I settle in for what is
always one of my favorite parts of the week.
We come from different places, schools and backgrounds. We are actors, mathematicians, runners, debaters, computer whizzes, hockey and frisbee players, Jews, Christians, atheists, vegetarians, nature lovers, boy scouts, fencers and duct tape enthusiasts. However, there is one constant across our diverse lives, and that is a love of writing. This shared passion for writing is at the core of what has kept our eclectic group of aspiring poets, essayists, novelists and authors together, somehow carving out time from our hectic schedules to keep coming to the farmhouse for regular meetings for almost ten years now. And while writing remains central, our workshop experience has evolved over time into something that has come to mean so much more.
We gather in a circle as the workshop begins. We are given an abundance of magazine cut outs from Ms. Bowmaster, the instructor of our group, and we write in whatever manner we wish in relation to the picture that we choose. Danny’s story is deep and moving; his older brother William executes a philosophical poem about his wilderness picture. Lou prepares a hilarious piece, while his classmate, Cory, concocts a science fiction short story. I, like others
in the group, find a way to intertwine the concepts and emotions of my photograph into the novel I am writing. One by one we share what we have written with the rest of the circle and the others offer constructive criticism and encouragement. Every time we share, we learn from one another and we often try different methods and styles to advance ourselves as writers. The group is supportive, encouraging each of us to take risks and “put ourselves out there” with no fear of falling flat, which of course we sometimes do. That we voluntarily spend Friday afternoons, at the end of a very demanding school week, coming to this old farm house to work on our writing is sometimes a bit puzzling even to us. However, we all agree that in the midst of all of the fun and the crazy exercises we have actually learned as much here -- not only about creative writing but also about public speaking, self-confidence, expression, listening and tolerance -- as we have in any class that any of us has ever taken.
The workshop is over for another week. The photographs are put away and our latest literary creations are stuffed into backpacks or pockets. Some have gone home, some of us linger and talk. As it often does these days, the conversation turns to college plans. Amid the mundane recitations of interview schedules, application deadlines and the relative merits of early decision, we share our hopes and fears and try to put into words the sense of excitement and anticipation, and the nervousness and anxiety, over what lies ahead. Benny speaks of wanting to find a college that will prepare him well for law school, while Lou emphasizes his desire keep up with his sports. Cory mentions his search for the right university where he can hone his computer science skills. I listen to all of this and reflect on my time with this group of friends and kindred spirits, and my larger experiences at the Food Bank Farm. I realize that this community which has come to be such an important part of who I am is really a microcosm of all that I hope to find in the “right college.” I imagine an environment full of interesting, bright and talented people, one that nurtures creative thought, encourages and values diversity of opinion, and fosters a true sense of charitable purpose and service to the larger community. While I am not so naïve as to fail to realize that this a fairly idealistic vision of what college life may be, and one that no school can realistically be expected to attain in full, my experience with the Food Bank Farm and writers’ workshop communities has shown me that such environments do exist and that I can thrive in them and contribute greatly to them. I can only hope I am fortunate enough to find a similar environment in which to spend the next chapter of my life.
by Quinn Allen-Brezsnyak
The mountain high, the ocean low
the peak above, the sea below
but nature keeps the balance though
from birds to worm, from fish to fox
from great tall oaks, to little rocks
the dull gray one, the gem so rare
that when you see, you always stare.
Life is all around us, though.
found in the fire, and in the snow.
Life is all around us, see?
We stand as one in harmony.
Quinn Allen-Brezsnyak is 10 years old, and lives in Northampton, Mass. He goes to Jackson Street School and loves writing. He especially loves poetry, because he loves how the lines fit smoothly together and the puzzle of finding different rhymes to match.
By Morgan Brown McNeil
we all reach for them in the dark and emptiness of blank space.
The orchestras of all our forgotten forgotten thoughts must resonate into oblivion on the dark side of the moon.
The false pretense into which insipid trouts must wander.
Memories of things you don’t remember,
Ideas strung together on a thin tight rope, 100 feet in the air, only to fall into the pit of unremembered memories,
scars of hope,
blood sucked from the open wound,
Pounding on the door to freedom till blood drips from sore knuckles when no one has a key.
We all reach for them,
Morgan Brown McNeil is 13 years old. She has been writing in Woven Word Writers Workshop for three years. She is a level seven gymnast, a homeschooler, and she loves climbing trees.