Excavating Stories from Our Minds

In Ms. Barrett’s fourth-grade class, we spent our time together digging for details that excavate stories from the images in our minds. Students explored their own expertise and backgrounds while learning the tools to research the unfamiliar and reach the endless possibilities of their imaginations. Folk music icon Woody Guthrie’s song “This Land Is Your Land” inspired us to tell our truest stories—those of the people we know and what they do. The work of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda roused stirring odes about people and pets we love, Twinkies, and even pasta. These young writers experimented with rhyme, similes, stanzas, and detailed descriptions to make their points. You will get a good laugh from Connor’s hilarious tale of “Gail the Snail.” You will find out what it’s like when future drivers are instructed to design their own dream cars. Most of all, I think you will truly enjoy reading and seeing these images written, and the magical pictures they cast in your mind’s eye.

Jena Kirkpatrick
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

The Car I Want

In my dream car, I want it to have the color red.
I want it to have all the food in the world.
I want it to have all the video game systems in the world.
I want it to have all the drinks in the world.
It has AutoDrive.
I want it to have protection all over it, so it doesn’t break.
I would travel all over the world.
If I don’t go all around the world,
I want to go with my friend, Austin, to half of the world.
We will play games and ride.

Cade Alderete

My Rainbow Colored Car

My dream car would be longer than a limo! My limo would be pink with gold sparkles because pink is my favorite color and because I love sparkles. Gold is another favorite color of mine, so the running boards on my limo would be gold with pink sparkles. And did you know my limo could turn into a truck? The color of my rims would be purple. Now let’s go inside the limo/truck. When you walk into my limo/truck there is a big, cute, fluffy, black rug covering up all of the floor. My limo would also be like a camper van, so you could live in it. The color of the seats would be rainbow, and one of the buttons in the front seat would make the limo/truck change colors to rainbow. My sister, Brynn, would live with me. Brynn and I would have bunk beds laid out across from each other. The bunk beds would be blue because that is Brynn’s favorite color. The bedspreads on the beds would have pink and purple zigzag lines on it. On the wall, next to both of the bunk beds, would be a TV. I love watching Full House, so I would have to have a TV. The thing that would be amazing is free Internet. On the walls, there would be black and white polka dots with sparkles. Did you know the bunk beds could turn in together to make a table, so you would have a place to eat? The table would be clear and it would have gold and silver sparkles on it.

Addison Bolen

My Mom

My mom is kind.
She looks like a woman with blonde and brown hair.
Her job is hair stylist.
She works at a hair salon.
Her favorite food is brisket tacos.
Her favorite colors are fuchsia, pink, and purple.
She likes to go to IHOP, Pizza Hut, and Golden Corral.
Her favorite clothes are dresses, pants, shorts, and shirts.
Her favorite shoes are Converse, sandals, and Tom’s.
Her favorite animals are puppies, cats, and wolves.
I think she is pretty.
She loves me and I love her.
I love my mom!

Evelyn C.

My Dream Car

My dream car would have some really comfy seats.
They would feel like a cloud.
The car would have a bed in it.
The color would be purple.
The inside would have a lot of space.
If you ask the car, it will give you ice cream.
You can make up your own flavors,
add your own decorations
and any kind of sweets.
The lights would be the color of a rainbow.
The color of the car would change every minute.
The car would also have a dance party.

Esther Garcia

The Black Sheep

My mother is very loyal to me. She tries her hardest to do what’s best for me. She usually always wears an old Alabama Crimson Tide hat. Back in our old state, Oregon, she worked at this bar called The Black Sheep. She worked almost every day, so she barely ever got sleep. Other than that, she is very funny. She often makes a play on words. She is very entertaining; she’s like the house clown. At her work, she makes a lot of friends and I usually get along with them. The person I got along with the most was named Taylor. Sometimes, Taylor would pick me up from school. One day, The Black Sheep wanted to make a change. They got rid of two of the oldest people and one of them was my mom.

Zach Halliday

Carty Party

My dream car would be mainly black with a blue streak coming across the middle. It would also have a pole to catch electricity. It would be powered by electricity with white parts that look like stars and glow in the dark. It’d be small, but big enough for six people. It’d have two black motorcycles with white, glow-in-the-dark stripes on the sides that people can ride. They can also split off the car with the push of a button, but they can’t go that far away because they are magnetically connected. It would also be able to have part of the front turn into a set of turntables. They are mainly black with a rainbow streak that continually changes color. They have cool speakers and a computer that has headphones. Also, it would have a microphone that’s connected to said features. It would have cool party lights that I could use any time I want. I would rarely let anyone in, and if I did, they’d usually be there to help me with the party settings that I forgot to mention. I’d use it 99 percent of the time for party-like/party/cool events that I am invited to (if you couldn’t tell already). Said parties would mainly be at night. Because. Reasons. Now I want to play Mario Cart for some odd reason… huh?

Abigail Hughes

The Mega Car

Vroom, vroom!
My car—pow!
It’s bad and black
And can go ten times faster than a Ferrari
It has a built-in robot to drive it
It has twenty-four seats and a hot tub on the roof
My car has a 3D printer that can print one thing
With the snap of my finger, it will activate disco lights
It has 5×5 foot TVs and one ten-foot one
It has tires that are thicker than a dog that spent one year in a hotdog factory
With the press of a box, the Mega Car will start to bounce
It can go anywhere, from the Earth’s core to another galaxy
It even has a toilet in the back
The seats are fluffy as a cloud and softer than velvet
The seats are also as bouncy as a trampoline
The fuel is nuclear waste
It’s waterproof and if you say fish
It will turn into a submarine

Alex J.

The Energy Car

My car is fifty feet tall and a street wide. It is jet black with fire red seats and everything important is water blue. The cool thing is that it comes with portable gas in a flameproof closet (actually, the whole car is flameproof and bulletproof). The inside has two really important buttons and a lot of other random buttons. The two important buttons are self-drive and auto-drive. See, the important thing is that… let’s say you tell your friend you will go this specific route for any reason with self-drive. You go that route, but auto-drive will take the main route, and that’s boring. The cool parts are: the rockets that can take you up to exactly 132,586,794 light years into space, a bedroom, a kitchen, a living room, a fully operating weapons system (for anything strange), a fully operating “camp-mode,” a fully operating transforming system, an elevator that can take you to Mars somehow. And the exhaust is cheese and (I saved the best for last)… a cup holder… with a voice lock… No!… ”Aw, man. K.” You can fit thirty-six people in the car and take them almost everywhere in the world. I was driving down a road with dead trees around it and suddenly… a Stegosaurus appeared! It destroyed everything around it, saying, “I am a Stegosaurus!” Then, I suddenly felt dizzy and saw a flash of light. I felt heat and I saw the car vaporizing.

Christian Lopez

Hotel

My dad’s name is Jerry.
His height is five-foot-three.
His name is my middle name.
He is a builder.
He made a hotel by IH-35.
He is also a bike builder.
He also has a lot of tattoos.
He has three kinds of tattoos on his head.
He has one in the middle of his head.
It is a Virgin Mary with roses on the sides.

Texas L.

New York Car

My dream car has spikey wheels.
My car is bright pink.
My rims are silver with glitter.
The seats are made out of fluffy, rainbow fabric.
In my car, there will be a caramel Frappuccino maker.
With the push of a button, it will make me the best drink ever!
I will go shopping with Esther and Daniela.
We will go to New York City.
It will give us more than one thousand phones.

Christiana M.

Mysteries

I woke up in an abandoned hospital.
I looked both ways.
The date was 2082.
Since the hospital was blown up, I climbed a wall.
I saw the future, but there was a portal.
I forgot Stacey came with me.
I saw her and I ran to her and said,
“Stacey! You saw the portal, right?”
“You’re strange,” Stacey said.
“So, let’s go into it,” I said.
“Okay,” Stacey said.
We looked and saw the date 1825.
It was a back-in-time portal.
We had to go back.

Drake M.

Llama Bus

My dream car is a double-decker bus without a roof on the top part and no seats on the roof, just grass. The color of the bus is yellow. The inside is bright orange. The bus is called the Llama Bus. On the Llama Bus there are stripes. The stripes are brown, but the llama is white. It does not use gas for fuel. It uses cheese. There is a button that changes the cheese kind. It can disguise itself as a giant llama. When it goes into disguise, corn comes out of the llama’s mouth. The coolest thing about it is that no one drives it. It also goes up to five light years a second. I would bring Connor and Christian and go into a black hole and see what’s inside. Inside the black hole are alpacas, mostly brown alpacas and the rest are white. There is no gravity and it also makes you feel weird because you are getting stretched out. When we come back, we will have a Stegosaurus, which will say, “I am Stegosaurus.”

Nevan Montgomery

My Ode to My Dog Harley

My dog, Harley, is funny.
When he plays with his bone, he grows very funny.
Harley is softer than a bunny.
Harley loves to sleep.
He never makes a peep.
Harley likes to go to the park slide.
We also like to play seek and hide.
He is tan and black.
He likes to run the track.
His favorite people are my uncle and me.

Camilla M.

Ode to Pasta

Oh, pasta! How can you be so delicious?
With those spices and sauces, you are a god of food, you know?
You are ancient. You came from China and transferred to Italy.
“Where Lambos are,” and transformed into paradise.
You fill me with joy and tranquility.
My tongue always wonders where you are and never stops thinking about you.

Sebastian Stevanon

My Sweet Dobie

Oh, how I love my dog Dobie!
How he stares in your eyes
The way he licks your face
I love Dobie like cotton candy
He is the light of my day like the sun in the sky
How he curls with you when he can give no more
Sweet brown of his fur
He gives you a kiss when you’re down
Like a puppy saving a duck in town

My dog is small and lazy
He sits on the couch like a tomato
He’s only six years old
But to me he’s a baby
Sometimes he goes too far
It’s like a piece of paper hitting you
But he is mostly nice and cute like a lion
My dog is my world
He is my sun in my day
He’s cute and could act like a good dog
But he won’t even listen sometimes
Dobie loves wearing a shirt
I make him hot when he’s cold
He is like a body lying in bed
I love Dobie like a god
He has fur like a bear
I can go home and give him a kiss

Essie Taylor

Ode to Twinkies

The sweet, pillowy cream
The spongy, light outside
To me, it is more valuable
Than gold

All the different flavors
Your golden color
Your plastic wrapper is so crinkly
For you I would give anything
I would give shoes for you
In my heart there is a place for you
I could swim in an ocean of Twinkies
You come in all those shapes and sizes
Deep fried, ice cream, packaged fresh
I could binge eat you for a lifetime

Jake Texeira

Gail the Snail

Once there was a snail
His name was Gail
He was male
He swallowed a nail
And he gave Dale the mail
He wanted to sail
But he was a fail
That’s why he was a giver of the mail
He lost his tail
When it started to hail
He went to his house and hid in a pail
But forgot to eat his kale
So he went to jail
And when he got home he found his tail

Connor Tipps

My Unicorn Car

I would love my car to be a unicorn car. It will be white with painted rainbow hairs on it and it will have a golden unicorn horn. My dream car will have lots of buttons. One will be for a chocolate fountain with a bowl of strawberries next to it. It will also have a cake-maker button where you can pick a flavor, frosting, and topping. My Unicorn Car will also have a unicorn Frappuccino button. There will also be a small stand of hot Cheetos. The hot Cheetos will be flaming hot Cheetos puffs, Takis, and flaming hot rings. My dream car’s light will be rainbow. My car will also have wings and be able to fly. My dream car’s seats will have unicorns. It will have a unicorn horn on the top of the seat. My dream car will be powered by my hand. My dream car will have a microwave and a touch screen. My dream car will also have rainbow wheels; it will have a freezer with ice cream, caramel apples, Hot Pockets, pizza rolls, and popsicles. I will take my family to a beautiful beach.

Daniela Villegas Garcia

Car

My dream car would be light, bright blue with windows the color of the ocean on the left, bright red on the right and bright purple in the middle. The inside seats would be red. The headlights would change color in rainbow order. On the inside there would be a large rainbow button with a capital “C” on it. It would spill out candy. Mostly Twix, Hershey’s and gum. There would be a blue button with a “P” that releases a pool with a diving board, water slide, and pads that you can swim on included. As well as an orange button with a “W” that releases a climbing wall and a cave. There would be a board touch screen that has all the other water controls. This car could fly, swim, climb, slide, drive. and go to outer space (as far as six million light years). There would be an autopilot and another touch screen that would change the shape of the car. The background of the touch screens would be blue and the words and pictures would be white. The touch screens would be floating, half hologram and half transparent. The last touch screen would paint murals on the car, depending on what I tell it to paint. It can even show moving pictures, films, and movies!

Alice Weber

Homework, Skateboards, Turtles and Elephants

The young writers in Ms. Williamson’s morning class always greeted the day with a smile. They were unfailingly generous of spirit, both when it came to sharing snacks and sharing stories. Over the course of our month together, we worked as a group to create wild fictional universes (full of animals doing surprising things), wacky people going on silly adventures, and even a few talking objects! These writers used their empathy to explore the world through their creative writing, and their stories reveal their kind-heartedness!

Emily Beyda
Badgerdog Teaching Artist 

The Story of Homework

I am homework,
I’m not second-grade homework
I’m not third-grade homework
We’re talking fourth-grade homework, people!

I’m supposed to be on your desk with a big, red A+
Stamped on my face like a big, beautiful bow!
But now I feel ignored and neglected because
Emma forgot me in her dirty backpack! Do you
Know what’s in there?!

A moldy sandwich from last week!
Stale crackers from a month ago!
A water bottle that’s been in there since
Who knows when!

And now, thanks to Emma, my best friends Pencil
And Eraser are avoiding me because they think
Emma thought I was so lame, she didn’t even have
A thought about looking at me!

That is why I am not on your desk with a
Bright, red A+

Yours truly,
Emma’s Homework

Emma Read

Zombie Takeover

Once a fish wanted to go underground to find a hidden shower, so he traveled in a robot dinosaur with water in it. When the fish got out, he dug. The robot dinosaur went with the fish. But when they found the hidden shower, the robot dinosaur ate the fish! Then the robot dinosaur turned on the shower, and his power went down forever.

Ten years later, the fish came back to life as a zombie and started a zombie war. So we turned the robot back on, but the fish bit the robot so he could turn into a zombie robot. Together, they ruled the world. Then the SWAT team came and hit them with sledgehammers and all their other weapons. The SWAT team won the war against the zombie robot, the fish, and all the other zombies.

John

The Most Dangerous Game

Once there was a girl who skated. One day, she wanted to take a break from skating and play a video game about a fish eating people. She went to GameStop to buy the game, but it was closed. She was so depressed. She did not know what to do, but then she had an idea. She would break in!

She got all the supplies and broke in. She looked for the game, but it was out of stock. She heard sirens and saw a cop car. The cop came in and arrested her. But… this cop was nice, and he let the girl play the game in jail.

Gavin

Basketball Man Meets the Special Elephant

Once there was a man whose dad had a special elephant. He was a strong man and a basketball player. But sadly his dad died that Friday, and someone took the elephant away from him. The basketball player went to get the elephant, but there was a shark guarding it. So he jumped in the tank and killed the shark with his bare hands and rescued his dad’s elephant.

Joseph

The Burn Bird

Once there was a little birdy who wanted an iPhone he could use to call the cool birds and ask them out for dates. But the Joker wanted the iPhone too, so he could use it to call his girlfriend Harley Quinn and ask her to rob a bank with him. The bird tried to get the phone, but he failed. Then the Joker roasted the birdy, and the birdy said, “No, you’re ugly!” and the Joker cried and ran away. The bird grabbed the iPhone and asked the cool birds out on a date. They said yes. The Joker never messed with birds ever again, and he is scared of birds for life now.

Diesel

The Ghost Mission

Once there was a weird person who wanted to see a ghost. So he set off on his journey to find a ghost. The old haunted house was where he went first. Then he saw a SWAT team member who said, “Stop doing crazy, stupid things!”

“Bah, who needs SWAT!” said the weird guy. With that, he ran away.

Just then, the SWAT team circled around him. “Freeze!” they said.

“Okay,” said the weird guy.

They put him in jail.

One night, when he was sleeping in jail, he saw a ghost. “Can you break me out of jail?” asked the weird guy.

The ghost frowned, and called his friend Pennywise. “You’ll float, too, you’ll float, too,” said Pennywise. With that, Pennywise slaughtered the weird guy and ate him for breakfast.

Eli Patel

The Ninja Dog

One day, there was a ninja who was part dog, part ninja. He wanted dog food because he was part dog, but there was a dangerous obstacle: a magic skateboard that kept him from the dog food. So he put a sticky bomb on it and exploded the magic skateboard and ate the dog food!

Jayden Martinez

The Adventures of Spider Boy

There was once a Spider Boy and two criminals, Mr. Bear and Cat Boy, who wanted to fight him. Spider Boy wanted to kill Mr. Bear and Cat Boy. But a turtle came, and he owned an Apple store. Spider Boy was distracted and went into the store to buy some apples. The turtle asked why he was getting so many apples. He told the turtle he was on a mission.

Erika Lopez

Sadness

It makes you cry
It brings you tears
Your chest feels heavy
Whenever it’s near

You don’t feel right
You think you’re sick
But you realize
It’s only a trick

You may feel down
And your heart will pound
But it’s your pain
Coming from your veins.

Piper Pombrio

The Crazy Skateboard

My character is a skateboard. The skateboard loved to go rolling around everywhere. So, one day, the skateboard got really sick from rolling around and he threw up (yuck!). After the skateboard threw up, he got really, really fat! The skateboard’s friends were skinny, so they all rolled around together, and he got skinny again after a month.

Amelia Ponce

My Soggy Day

In the morning, no one told me they’d made me cereal, so I had to eat soggy old cereal. Then I went to turn on my Xbox to play with Waylon, and we almost won a hundred-person match. We came in second place! We got mad, so we wanted to go skate, but it was raining so I couldn’t skate outside.

Nick

The Alien’s Skateboard Adventure

Once upon a time, there was a weird alien thing that wanted to skateboard. Its obstacle was that it was in jail, where skateboarding was not allowed. All it had was a hairpin and a screwdriver, and the alien used them both to unlock the lock and run to the spaceship, where it got its skateboard, ran to a skatepark, and skated for days.

Graves

Rocket League

A guy named Blocks was playing Rocket League with his friend Michael. They were playing Rocket League for eight hours. They were not tired, but then it was one a.m. and Blocks’s mom came to his room. Blocks ran to his bed and pretended that he was sleeping until his mom left. Blocks went back to his game and flipped over a ramp. Boom! The other team scored—game over. He was at level seven, and had won twenty-one games. Rocket League is like a race car soccer game. He had to get goals and get upgrades, and that was what it was.

Brianna 

Bonkbob’s Troubles

Bonkbob is stuck and he wants to break out so that he can get 500 dollars. He runs to people and fights them. He wins because he is powerful, and he flops down and sees that he is lost. But he finds a jetpack, and uses it to fly where he needs to go.

Aiden

The Ninja’s Quest

One day, there was a boy who was a foot high. He was really small. He wanted to become like the ninja he’d seen once. To do it, he had to climb a tree that had the legendary ninja suit in it, but guards were working to guard it. So he had to sneak in undetected. He went through the facility and got through. Then he saw the guards. So he took out the guards and climbed the tree and got the suit. He then became the best ninja in the land and saved people from bad guys.

Derrick

Batman vs. the Trampoline

Batman wanted a chest full of gold coins, gold bars, fancy jewels, and a king’s crown, but to get it he had to go down to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, deep down to the freezing cold water. He had to go through a couple of obstacles. The obstacles were a trampoline, a skating area, and a Zumiez. Those were Batman’s favorite games! He couldn’t stop looking at them, so he went and played.

He played on the trampoline for seven hours, and went skating for eight hours, and after eight hours of skating he went to the Zumiez and bought lots and lots of clothes and went back on the trampoline for two hours and skating for one hour and forgot about the treasure chest and went home.

The next day, he remembered the chest and went back to search for it. This time, there was no obstacle, so he got the chest he wanted. But the chest had a big lock! So he could not get the treasure inside. So he brought the chest home with him.

Haylee Senior

The Deadly Seat

Bob the turtle wanted to go on the chair, but a bird swooped down and picked him up when Bob tried to sit on it. The turtle was never seen again.

Breylen

The Soccer Game

An elephant who was very fat had an obstacle—that was a banana fish eating another fish with big eyes. The elephant wanted to play soccer with two people and wanted another person to ride around on a rocket and be the referee. He wanted one of the people playing soccer with him to get taken away by the rocket. But the banana fish got in his way!

Waylon Jeter

 Three Trips

  1. I went to Florida and went to Sea World. There was a big roller coaster, but my dad does not like roller coasters, so it was just me, my sister, and my mom.
  2. I went to Puerto Rico, changing from a car to a boat along the way. It was awesome. I got to go to the beach.
  3. I went to Alaska. It was freezing, but there were amazing things to see. It was incredible. My whole family was there but we got sick.

Philip

The Secret Life of Lemon

Once there was a dog named Lemon. He was the best dog you could have, but he had secrets. He wanted to get to his secret lab and create something no one had seen before, but he had a problem.

His big dog house blocked his way, and every time he found a new way the yummy smell from his food brought him back to his house. But once, he threw his food in the trash and took a new secret way to his lab. He made something no one had ever seen before. He named it Frankenstein.

Ryan Moore

Billy Meets the Bird

Once there was a man named Billy, who was an astronaut. He was in space having fun until he met a girl who he thought was pretty. She had a pet bird that was huge. Billy had two cats who would fight over a chair. Billy accidentally bumped into the girl, and her bird thought Billy was trying to kill her, so the bird ate Billy! After that, the bird barfed and licked his lips.

Zayra

Beck Bites Back

Once there was a dog named Beck. He loved to play with his Xbox. One day, the dog was going to play with his Xbox, but in the middle of the night, a shark came and ate the Xbox. The dog knew this because the shark left a note just to make sure the dog knew. Beck was so sad about his Xbox, so he sent a letter to the shark, but the shark was so mean he didn’t write back.

Isabelle Baldwin

Strange Tales of Struggle and Triumph

The students in Ms. Williamson’s afternoon class took writing seriously. Always ready to offer a constructive comment, a suggestion for a plot twist, a question about descriptive language, or a reflection on motivation, these young writers created a supportive community where they felt free to riff on their favorite fictional worlds, break genre barriers, and dig deep into their creative selves. You’ll love reading the work created… maybe it’ll inspire you to create something of your own!

Emily Beyda
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

Wacky World

The weirdest day I ever had started yesterday morning. As I woke up, I could already tell that things were going to get wacky, because when I walked into my closet, all the clothes were in opposite spots! But as I examined the small room, I started to think that it was just a childish prank that my brother had pulled. I walked out of my closet giggling a little.

Suddenly, I stopped dead in my tracks. My shorts had turned from white to leopard print! As I turned around, I saw my dog with a green tie and pinwheel hat! I bolted out of my room, grabbed my backpack, and ran to school. As I arrived, I found the whole Boone Elementary School turned on its side!

Scared out of my wits, I ran to a nearby alley and tried to hide. After that, the police came up to me, grabbed me by my shoulders, and told me I was going to court! I arrived at the huge courtroom as the short judge walked in. He stared at me with prying eyes. All of a sudden, the judge raised a carrot and pointed it at me. He started asking weird questions, moving closer with every word.

Then I shot up in my bed, blinking and rubbing my eyes. It was just a dream? Could it be true? I looked at my dog, who was completely normal. I grabbed him around his neck and squeezed him until… I got hungry. I stepped out of bed and tripped. Something had rolled out under my foot. I looked back at the cone shaped item, and realized it was the same carrot that the judge had pointed at me!

Cora Mae B.

The Alien

I am an alien who wants a UFO. An Unidentified Flying Object. I want the UFO so I can grab planets and put them in another galaxy. But there is a monster guarding it, thinking it is an alien.

Vincent

Who Am I?

I am Aliyah and I have two siblings. My home is a one-story and it’s brown. My city is Austin and it has buildings. My state is Texas and it is big. My country is the U.S., and it has fifty states. My world is the earth, and it’s the only planet with living things. My universe has Jupiter and black holes. My beyond has everything you’d ever dream of, unicorns and… me!

Aliyah

Two Brothers

Jebidiah Kerman put on his new tuxedo and drove to his friend’s party. When he got there, he took off his top hat and walked away. A little while later, his head got cold, so he went to get his hat. He saw his evil twin Jebii take his hat and run away. Jebidiah blasted after him and tackled Jebii, punched him in the nose, and got his hat back. In the end, he drove away, leaving Jebii in the street.

Renny

The Fatal Basketball

One day, when a boy went down the hill, he was walking with a pencil. He was so sad until he saw a basketball, and he picked it up. His mom told him not to pick up stuff from the ground. He remembered that his mom would be furious if he picked it up. He was walking home until a happy jellyfish came up to him to stop him from getting hit by a car. His mom came and picked him up, and she was so so so joyful she had her son back. The next day… Boom! The house exploded, and he and his mom moved out of the house. Bam! They left. It started to rain and boom, crack, pop! The thunder boomed. At last, they were home in their new home.

Lily

Garden Games

There was once a man named No Limbs At All. I have no clue why, but he had eight arms and eight legs. His mission was to get the Golden Garden Award. One problem: Mr. Chubby Muscles, who was a stick man, had the universe’s supply of all the supplies that were required for successful gardening. The solution was simple: Steal some items from him, use the free pardon that he won in real life Monopoly, and win the award. Guess who had the award, and who was DQed?

David

The Hungry Narwal

The narwal wants to turn into a bird so he can fly over to the birdhouse so he can eat because when food goes in the water it gets soggy. But if he turns into a bird, he can’t fly because he is underwater! So the narwal finds a ship, and inside the ship he finds an air tank so he can breathe on land. So he grabs the tank and flops out of the water, all the way to the house.

Austin

The Puppy Princess

At the end of every day, the princess would turn into a puppy because the evil witch had put a curse on her. And the only way to break the curse was to take the witch and force the curse back on her. But there was a giant wall protecting the witch. So the princess broke the wall, and she was free!

Natalie

Penelope the Peacock

There was once a peacock named Penelope. She lived in space. She was a star peacock. She lived in the Milky Way. She was a gorgeous friend, a fun, funny, and amazing peacock. She was also rainbow. I know what you’re thinking: “But it’s boy peacocks who are colorful.” But this was a different universe.

One day, Penelope was taking a stroll on the shiny gold sidewalks of her town. All of a sudden, a tomato fell from the sky! That was just what she needed! She tried to walk over to it, but out of the blue, a dark, deep fog came rolling in.

“Where’s that tomato?” Penelope said. She looked and looked, but she just couldn’t see it. “Oh, no. What did I just step on?” Penelope looked down at her foot, and it was covered in tomato juice! Then the tomato juice started to grow. She got out by holding onto a passing car and moved to another world.

Syreeana 

The Hot Dog Adventure

Once upon a time, a princess who could turn into a dog woke up. After seeing that she couldn’t make a hot dog without having to boil precious water, she thought, “I really need a microwave!”

She decided to go on a quest. She called it The Quest for a Microwave. She knew her father wouldn’t let her go, so she snuck away in dog form. She eventually made it to the microwave store, where she asked, “What is the best microwave in the world?”

The cashier said, “The best microwave in the world is the golden microwave. It is so amazing, it can cook a hotdog in one millisecond!”

She kept going, and 500,000 days later she found it. Right before she could grab it, the guardian of the golden microwave woke up, and if you don’t know what that is, it is a giant dog with tentacles for a mouth. The princess defeated it, got the microwave, and made it back home before she was one hundred and fifty years old.

Lucas

The Strange Day

My day started off bad when I heard that someone who would be coming to my sleepover couldn’t spend the night. It was Vincent! But then the school shrunk to the size of a dollhouse and nobody knew why. It was scary! Then we went to normal size, and we got to go home and eat ice cream. But then aliens came down and stole my TV! So I had to use the one in the living room. But then I found a $30 Amazon gift card, and I was happy and the weirdness stopped.

Charlie

Naptime for Piggy

There was once a pig who had trouble sleeping. But winter was long, and he wanted to sleep through it. So one night, he set off to find a teddy bear. On the way, he met a bird. It was really mean. It started to peck the pig’s head, it was so annoying! Finally, the pig lost the bird and found a store. He went in, but they were all out of teddy bears. It was almost winter, and the bears had already gotten them for hibernation. Finally, he saw one. He grabbed it, and when he went home he finally got some good sleep.

Ben

From Bad to Good

My bad day started like this: My mom got into a wreck! I had to go to the hospital—it was the worst. The next day, a fly went in my eye. I was running in circles in my backyard. The next day, nothing was happening. Everything was starting to be so good. Then I noticed this wasn’t a bad day, this was a good lunch day, and I also found a twenty-dollar bill and a ten-dollar bill in the parking lot.

Gisella

What?

There was a dude named Jeff who wanted to get rid of the wings a witch named Mary gave him. So he traveled to a nice witch to get what he wanted. The nice witch was named Red R. He traveled all the way there, and he felt mixed emotions, like happy, sad, and mad, but when he got there the nice witch was gone, and he was getting sick and turning into a blue jay. But the witch came back with cocoa, and Jeff was super happy because Red R killed Mary, the mean witch, and Jeff’s wings were gone. But Jeff had another problem. He forgot how to get home. But Red R took Jeff home, and Jeff took his shoes off and he had lion feet! He also had ice cream hands, and they melted, so now he does not have hands. Mary is coming back to Boone soon! Look out! Boo! Ha ha ha!

Betty

Emotion

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Molly. She had a whole lot of friends, and she wanted a hot dog with boiled eggs. But she did not have enough money. She only had $2.30. But what stopped her from having the hot dog was that there was a strange thing, like a turtle, so she started getting really disgusted, crazy, and mean. She was mean because she loved her food and there was a turtle in front guarding it. And she was disgusted because the turtle again. And she was crazy because she thought her food was good. But apparently not.

Avah

King Gumball’s Challenge

Once upon a time there was a cute SpongeBob in a tuxedo. All he ever wanted was a happy human and dog. But he could not get these from the evil King Gumball. So one day, SpongeBob went to King Gumball and asked him for a happy dog and human. King Gumball said, “If you can solve this Rubik’s Cube in four seconds, you can have them.” SpongeBob solved the puzzle and got his happy dog and human!

Avery S.

The Tweeter

I am a birdy who tweets on the street. I wanted an iPhone 10, but there is a cow with with fire on its horns. One of the horns has a laser coming out of it, destroying the Sprint store, so I can’t go in and buy a phone.

What? Is there a person on there?

“The Boomers are here, hooray!” That’s Billy Bob Joe on the laser-fire-horns cow.

What the heck? Oh! I found the iPhone 10, yes! No! The cow turns his head, a laser hits my phone, and, “Nooooo! Dad! What are you doing piloting a plane?”

“Because I am a boss dad.”

“Can I have an iPhone 10, tweety please, Daddy?”

“Sure you can, when you are thirteen.”

“What? Dangit, I am twelve in three days. I am so close to getting an iPhone 10! Why, cruel world??”

Ethan

The Cat’s Revenge

One dark, cold night, I woke up to a loud noise. I went downstairs and peeked into the kitchen. There was the cat, talking on the phone! He had a cruel, evil look on his cute, fluffy face. He ran towards me and knocked me off my feet and viciously dragged me out the door. He put me on a glittery spaceship and sent me to Jupiter, and I was never seen again!

Emma

Red Balloon Boy: Let’s Throw a Party

Red Balloon Boy wanted revenge. Red Balloon Boy was animatronic. Everyone pushed him around, so he thought he should attack them. He couldn’t do it in the daytime, but at night he malfunctioned. He didn’t know what to do. He started to steal batteries from a flashlight so he could attack Freddy and take revenge on him for popping his favorite balloon.

Michael

Looking Back…

Inspiration originates for any writer in myriad ways, from objects to artwork, as well as prose and poetry that provide motivational examples. Writing also comes with a number of challenges, and one of the greatest, I think, is surpassing the dreaded “writer’s block.” These writers were not defined by this nor their own particular challenges—those of memory loss. Instead, they rose above them.

From personal histories to imagined vistas, these writers from the Memory Connections group at Baylor, Scott & White in Georgetown allowed me to guide them through a series of exercises in six classes that resulted in a small body of work, the best of which appears below. Their pieces leave room to pause, ponder, and appreciate before moving on to the next word or image. They’ll stay with you, so be prepared!

Tracey Lander-Garrett
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

Wheelbarrow

wheelbarrow

– inspired by William Carlos Williams’s “The Red Wheelbarrow”

Where have you
gone

I miss your
utility

for feeding
the hogs that

fed me
all year

Randy Russell

This Moment

shadows

I see a mother
with a little boy playing
in the blue and white pool.
There was a sound,
a yell of delight.
Later, they watched the sun
go down in darkness.

Mary Russell

Blue Skies

umbrellas

Just imagine
Blue and white clouds
Water splashing in the background
Clouds floating overhead
Umbrellas open and waving in the breeze
Salt in the air and sticky
Everything is beautiful!

Judy Rogers

Genealogy

crystalball

My expertise is genealogy

At this time
I am going through my family
from as long ago as the 1600s

I am writing—storytelling—
of these people

How to make a story
of a person?

Tell when
and where
she was born?

Describe where
she lived
how many
siblings she had
and who died

Show what
she did
and how she lived,
what she loved,
and who she loved

How she lived her life,
and how
and when
she died

Lynne Devin-Smith

Locket

locket.jpg

I have a little locket. It was worn by my grandmother and my mother. It has a dent in it, which was allegedly caused by my mother biting it. It was passed down to me by my mother. I never wore it much, as I was afraid I would lose it. It is now in my safe deposit box at our present bank location.

It’s just a simple little locket with very little monetary value. But it could never be replaced. It is a keepsake, a reminder of what and who was important to me in life… people and love.

It will be passed onto my daughter and then my only granddaughter. Perhaps it will be treasured by them… and passed onto many generations!

Beth Vogt

My Name

heather

My name is Heather. Heather is the small flowers you see on the hills of Scotland. They are usually purple. Isn’t that pretty?

My older brothers called me H-Bomb. I guess I was rather hyperactive. This name was mine until I was all grown up.

I think that they could have called me anything else and it would have been much better. Don’t you think?

My brothers had names like Charles and Fraser. How about that?

Heather de Loyo

What’s Possible

tennis

A sunny day calls for two or three
sets of tennis.

Without tennis balls, no sets
are possible.

The balls should be new to have
good bounces.

A tennis court and racket are necessary to hit
the ball and play the game.

Without a dry day, a good racket, and three balls,
no game is possible.

Jerry Miller

A Time Long Ago

Dance

I treasure the moments
of an evening long since gone

cherished because
of the memories it contains

laughter, merriment, sipping champagne,
dancing foxtrot, swing, waltz…

all the music of Glenn Miller,
Tommy Dorsey—Big Band sound—

embraced in the arms
of the young man I loved

these memories are sweet,
innocent, of a time long ago

that remains in my heart
for a lifetime.

Helen Haynes

Evolution

shell

As shells have evolved through time
immemorial, the complexity and
advancement of life can be seen
and appreciated.

Evolution of life is such an amazing
advancement in evidence and support
of complexity and beauty
of progression of life.

To think that life on our planet
is an example and proof that evolution
of life is very probable in other
planets, other solar systems, other galaxies.

Evolution of life is evidence that
life has existed before
and will exist
in the very far future.

Manny Chavez

The pieces above were written by participants in AGE of Central Texas’s Memory Connections Program, an evidence-informed program for people experiencing early-stage memory loss. The Badgerdog writing workshops provided for these groups were made possible by the generous support of St. David’s Community Foundation’s Health’s Angels.

Where Life Shimmers

The Hope Lutheran writers embrace each other and each other’s work. As their collective poem states, there is true warmth in this group. They encouraged fellow storytellers to share their poetry and prose aloud, and were constantly praising one another’s work. The poem “This Moment” by Eavan Boland moved writers to pen musical prose about their own evening routines. Reflecting on their names revealed childhood rivalries and nods to royalty. Close inspection of small objects inspired new characters and vivid settings. The Hope Lutheran writers are naturals when it comes to sensory description. Their writing transported me. I felt the warmth of their stories, and their support of one another, and it made me feel part of something bigger than myself.

Claire Campbell
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

Spring

wildflowers

The small corner out back near the house  is covered with beautiful, small flowers (whose name I cannot find)so beautiful, so tiny, and yet glorious in their homes.

The three of us take turns putting sweet things around to keep the beauty there. We don’t tell Mother because she might make us clean it all up!

We seek out every chance we get and take turns watering them—I often wonder if the water wasn’t necessary outside.

Jeanne Roden

Night

angel

Relaxing and sleeping with random dreams and thoughts.
The stillness in this moment with shafts of light coming in the windows through the shades.
The stillness—the time for relaxation and movement with random thoughts.
Sometimes with deep sleep and other times with awareness of the stillness and the sense of security and peace.
Dreams come and go—some disappear in a single moment or they reemerge as a reflection.
Music is present.
Moments like this are brief and fragile, and can give consolation.
Music in my ears can float in the movement, and the images reflect the peace and surrounding tranquility with the joys of deep sleep.

Larry Graham

Wild Basin Preserve/There is a Place 

Waterfall.jpg

There is a place I love to go
It’s here in Austin just down the road
I see beautiful trees, and flowers that grow
I want to stay there forever you see
I watch the waterfall there flow
I walk around alone, not feeling pain
I listen to the birds there sing
The only safe place I really feel sane
But I know this place is there for me.

Joyce B.

My Name

blackboard.jpg

I would like to keep my name and how I feel about it.
I will stay with my name.
“Magda…!”
This is my name…
Magda Salazar.

Magda Salazar

My Name

Ron

I like and am comfortable with my name, “Ron.” “Ronald,” to me, sounds pretentious, and I always use “Ron.” I am named after an old actor, Ronald Coleman. My mother did not want me to be associated with an Irish Catholic culture, so she picked a very English-British name: Ronald.

For years, I was into sailing, and four of us were named Ron. But people refused to call us by our last names, only by our first names, which caused all kinds of problems.

Ron

Summer

icecream

The long days and nights
Coolness of the morning, but the sunshine
Afternoon wonderful for swimming
And getting a tan for some period of time
Sitting in the shade of trees
Looking at a beautiful garden of flowers
Perhaps sipping on some orange juice
Or having an ice cream.
I always liked to sit in the sun for a while
Something that was harder to do as a child living in Ireland
Oh yes, we learned to suntan in moderation
In between splashing in the pool
Fills the heart and soul
With joy!

Audrey Krier

The Fall 

autumnleaf.jpg

I love the fall.
When the leaves turn different colors—
Red, brown, black, white, orange, cream, beige, purple, or gold.
Some stay on the tree,
Some twist off the tree
As they dry up and
Fall to the ground.
The leaves gather around
The bottom of the tree.

Pat Keen

Us: Our Present Journey 

childhoodhappiness

In the winter of our lives
We feel warmth in this group
We have something in common:
Laughter
Humor
Experience
Pain.
For a short while our fear is gone
Understanding we’re not alone
Because we are together
Sharing, in sync, giving
Each of us has a history
We all have our own stories
As we wade to shore.

The Hope Lutheran Writers

The pieces above were written by participants in AGE of Central Texas’s Memory Connections Program, an evidence-informed program for people experiencing early-stage memory loss. The Badgerdog writing workshops provided for these groups were made possible by the generous support of St. David’s Community Foundation’s Health’s Angels.

The Moments That Last

It’s their honesty and humor that are most memorable. With each visit to the YMCA North, these adult writers—who face the unfathomable challenge of memory loss—showed me how to approach each day with grace. Their shared experiences pulled them closer together, as they laughed and kidded each other, discussed their lives, and, then wrote from the heart. They remembered precious childhood moments with their parents and grandparents. They held onto the images of valuable things, like mental snapshots of a daughter lost, soaring through the clouds as a pilot, or a father’s priceless handmade ship. I imagine today—each day—is the most precious for them. Living “this moment,” a poem which inspired beautiful works, gives them a chance to pass on their amazing stories and know they are not alone in this journey.

Terri Schexnayder
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

Peace

wooddrake.jpg

Berry’s wood drake calls me to the memory of a time when I took my grandson down the hill to look at the wood ducks. I’d never seen their beauty before. San Marcos was not wood duck territory. But children and mothers fed bread to the ducks, and the birds decided it was a good place to live. Have you ever seen a wood drake? Beautiful! I did, as a grandmother sharing time with her small grandchild.

It also reminds me of a time when I was a child at my grandmother’s house. There were hollyhocks, which made flowers turn into dancing children. Rose petals decorating a mud pie. And my grandmother hugging me.

Ruth Crowson

This Moment

stars.jpg

– inspired by Eavan Boland’s “This Moment”

Sounds surround me
Sounds of friends
Some of many months
Some new today

Things from above
Children laughing
Trees outside the windows
Barely moving
A few moments ago, the trees were shaded
Now they’re in the sun

When that sun goes down
My favorite time arrives
And stars will surround us
All the way to the edge of the sky

Ruth Crowson

Peaceful Place

mushrooms.jpg

A peaceful place for me
will always be in the woods.
Besides being quiet and peaceful,
there is always the expectation
that you will see something new.

Billy Garry

Little Box

box.jpg

Little box so neat and square,
What is it you have hiding there?
I won’t know unless I look
And see it like an open book.

Billy Garry

Memories of Virginia

I like symmetry. The near mirroring in the calendar photo reminds me of the still days on the creek where I grew up—less than a mile by water from the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia. We didn’t have the mountains, but there were a succession of points and caves, usually poles that marked the edges of oyster beds, all mirrored in the still water.

There is a large tree near the mouth of the creek where white egrets roost at night—it is impressive to see them arrive, twos or threes together. On a still evening, the tree blossoms as if dotted with white blobs on the actual tree.

Jim Hadden

Knuckleball

baseball.jpg

A clean baseball is a reminder of what once was. A skiffle ball can be exploited by some pitchers, but is anathema to a knuckleball pitcher. I have a friend and teammate from the Austin Men’s Baseball League. When he played first base, I would always make my first knuckleball throw to him in our routine between innings.

Once when I was purchasing a new car, I went through the test drive and got to the paperwork. He saw my signature and commented, “I know you—you’re the knuckleballer!” A good knuckleball brings the small and slow pitcher (me!) up to the level of bigger players.

Jim Hadden

This Moment

thread.jpg

– inspired by Eavan Boland’s “This Moment”

We are all sitting here with many different thoughts. Some may be thinking of things they will be doing soon after they get home. I plan to get some fabric out, put it on the ironing board in preparation, and sew it with another piece of fabric of a different color.

First, it must be pressed so there are no wrinkles. Then, they will be measured and placed together so the two pieces will be made into a baby blanket. One piece needs to be slightly longer than the other so that the hem goes beyond the cotton batting. Next, the two pieces of fabric will be sewn together on three sides. The batting will be cut to fit in between the sewn pieces after they are turned inside out. I will fit the batting snugly and evenly, while extending to all four sides of the fabric. The final side is now tucked in on the fourth side and stitched.

It is now time to smile and admire the finished baby blanket. The baby will be pleased to feel so good within the new blanket.

Eleanor Hall

Where Potatoes Grow

potatoes.jpg

When I was growing up in Montana, I had no idea how important the rain was for our family to survive. Once, I learned that we did not have enough rain for the crops or even the grass to grow for our cattle. However, my parents did not talk about this in front of me—they probably decided I didn’t need to be concerned about something I could do nothing about. However, God did have a plan for us. He did care for us.

We had a coulee, land that is lower than its surrounding land, a short distance from our house. There was tall grass growing there, and when my father investigated it, he found that it was being subirrigated. The grass became moist from the soil below. He took a shovel and dug just to be sure. Then, he brought the horse and plow to make the area good for raising potatoes. We cut the potatoes so that every piece had at least one eye from which other potatoes would grow. We girls dropped them into the rows dug in the rich soil. My father plowed and covered the potatoes in each row, and then made a trench in which to plant the next row. He did this with a single horse and plow.

After about ten days, the potato plants started coming up, and then, after another couple of weeks, it was time to hoe the plants to rid them of weeds. My sisters and I got a nickel for every two rows we weeded. Almost all the potatoes grew large because of the moisture they received from the ground below. At harvest time, my father cleaned the dirt from the new crop with his plow and horse, and the girls pulled up the potatoes. We had a good crop and a large cave in which to store them. My father made this by building a cement walkway down the center of the cave and wooden board areas to hold the potatoes off the ground. The crop was so good the first year that we had enough to sell to the stores. When both of my sisters had appendicitis, my parents could pay the full hospital bill with potatoes.

I recently learned that potatoes are a very good food—they furnish carbohydrates for energy, plus vitamins B and C.

Eleanor Hall

A Bird

bluebird

It’s colorful, cheerful, and cute.
And he’s certainly not mute!
So, stand away, friend, and listen,
And show him how you glisten.

It’s a song he sings,
And it seems to ring
Just for you and me.
Just for you and me!

Betty Hamilton

Valuable Objects

piano

My grandmother’s stack of classical piano music and cabinet (a somewhat midsized one in which they are kept) are valuable to me. None of my own piano music was ever that voluminous as her complete stack. She told me I could have all her books—heavy ones, rectangular ones, etc. I would take a few home with me when she offered them, and although I wanted them all, it was difficult to take them all home with me at the same time. For, I was in college, but without a car to carry them home easily.

After looking through all her heavy books of classical piano music, I decided it would be too difficult to learn to play too many of them. I could never read them easily, so I left those with her. What a great classical pianist she was! She had taken lessons since she was sixteen years old and had played in double piano concerts with eight other symphony pianists onstage in Montgomery, Alabama. She was so advanced in her piano playing that I avoided the instrument and eventually discovered the organ. It was a simpler instrument. Even though the pedal board added a challenge, it was much more fun for me to learn the organ.

Betty Hamilton

My Place to Go

gardentools

My peaceful place to go is outside. Everything about me is outside. There, I am free. I enjoy weeding because it frees the ground of nuisance. I enjoy planting because the view changes—once empty, it turns beautiful. In the morning, I walk with my neighbor. We each own a Fitbit and try to beat the record we set the day before. It is nice being with someone you like, who can talk about the ins and outs of our past and present days.

Another peaceful is the home of my elderly friend Nelda—mostly, because she is ninety-two years old. I want to make sure she is safe. Of course, I don’t say that to her! She would resent someone wanting to take care of her, as she is very independent.

Donna Hebner

This Day

trafficlights.jpg

On the way here, I arrived via Uber. This is always fun because the driver and I talk about the music on the radio and what has happened, like the murders last night or whatever comes up. Sometimes, I feel like we are rehashing what we have heard on the news or experienced during the night or day before.

It is a good feeling to have someone to exchange ideas with in the morning, because it brings us into a new day, each of us having thoughts about what is next.

Donna Hebner

Colors of the Ocean

rope.jpg

Saltwater and fishing for lobster
Colorful coral swaying in the ocean currents
Spearing sea foods and more.

Larry Runyon

Important Object

modelship

When my dad was young, he had a hobby of making model ships that he built from scratch. He is gone now, but I have three of his sailing ships. I value them greatly and display them in my office. I hope to pass them on to my younger brother or my two sons when I die.

It’s important to me to keep them in the family as a memory of Dad’s skill, and so they can be passed down to my brother’s sons as a reminder to them. A reminder of their grandfather, with whom, unlike my brother and I, they didn’t get to spend as much time. I hope they will eventually pass along the ship models to their own children.

Alan Sagen

Walking Along Brushy Creek

turtles.jpg

My wife and I make it a practice to walk together most days along Brushy Creek for exercise. We enjoy walking through the park that begins after we cross the low waters. In the park, people picnic and kids play. After going through the park, we cross over the creek’s bridge to get us back to the other side. From there, we head further upstream. Eventually, we come to a road we must cross to continue upstream. There is a part of the creek, called Turtle Creek, where we usually see the creatures. Sometimes there are a lot of turtles, sometimes not.

After we have counted the number of turtles, we take the way back home. We cross the creek again, use the low water crossing again, and walk uphill to our home at the top of the hill.

Alan Sagen

Peaceful Time

mountain.jpg

A peaceful time for me was spent in Cloudcroft, New Mexico. We once went there for a vacation. My son was an Eagle Scout, and he worked at the annual gathering of the Boy Scouts. We had never seen the camp before. The sky was clear—there were only white puffy clouds up there. You could sit on the mountain and see forever.

The camp was filled with young Boy Scouts—approximately 5,000 of them. Sitting on the top of the mountain, with the Scouts camping below, was an amazing sight.

Ed Stephens

What Happens Next?

rose.jpg

This is my neighborhood
At the beginning of spring.
The roses are blooming.
I see the sun’s impression on the window.
The skies are blue with white clouds forming.
Wait a little while—
What will happen next?

Looking west, I see dark clouds.
Will it rain today?
I see people rolling up the car windows.
The wind is from the west.
The storm is passing over.
The sun sets.

Tomorrow is a new day.
I wonder what will happen next.

Ed Stephens

Fireflies on a Summer Night

fireflies.jpg

I am sitting here in a class and writing about this particular moment. The room is filled with friends, and it’s pretty good. I appreciate that many of them are going through the same things I am. I am not a poet, but I understand what the poets look at—the importance of smaller things. Good for them!

They have time to spend at that level, and understanding that point of observation is appreciated. But, this poem, “This Moment” by Eavan Boland, brings back a memory of my childhood with my brother and sisters one night when we were catching fireflies in jars. Sorry, fireflies!

Chris Turk

Valuable Item

pistol.jpg

Of all the objects I own, the most valuable is a Colt pistol dated around the 1850s. I don’t know anything about who owned it in my family or what they did with it. It’s a pistol and it’s old. No finish, and with a broken firing mechanism.

But, it’s from my family, and I have it in my safe. Not sure who I will give it to when I die—maybe my grandson.

Chris Turk

In the Moment

trees

In this moment, I am surrounded by people I have just met. They are having the same problem as me and dealing with it in their own way. We don’t know where life is going to lead us. Will our memories get worse? Will I end up like Dad? Only time will tell.

How did I end up like this? What cruel twist of fate put us here? Will science ever have an answer to memory loss?

Sandra M. Zandrusky

The pieces above were written by participants in AGE of Central Texas’s Memory Connections Program, an evidence-informed program for people experiencing early-stage memory loss. The Badgerdog writing workshops provided for these groups were made possible by the generous support of St. David’s Community Foundation’s Health’s Angels.

Life’s Little Beauties

During each of my visits to Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church, I was met with a depth of intelligence, curiosity, humor, and vivaciousness that renewed my own energy and penchant for living fully in the moment. These writers, who come from all walks of life, allowed themselves to be vulnerable, to open up to an unfamiliar experience with admirable aplomb, recounting family histories and unearthing joyful memories of the past—stories that may have otherwise gone untold if not for the safe space created by this writing group. Bonds formed between writers from completely different worlds, whether in the room or on the page. The Westlake writers were able to find comfort and solace in each others’ words, knowing they were all undergoing the same experience. They discovered the power of language to move one to tears or laughter and found that creative writing can actually be fun! The following pieces exemplify the wit, vigor, and positivity I encountered weekly in this talented group of writers, a delight that can be felt again and again whenever I read their words.

Julie Howd
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

I Am…

photoalbum

I am a husband, father, and grandfather.
I like family, friends, laughing, good food,
privacy, my computer, and freedom to think.
I have a wonderful and supporting wife, loving
extended family members, and financial security.
I think—how lucky I am!
I think more of philosophical and theological issues
as I get older and progress with Alzheimer’s.
I feel so very, very fortunate—for my parents,
education, and living in the USA.
I love having the time to work on my photo albums,
being alone, and being with family.
I wonder about the universe and my place in it.

Boyd S.

Sailboat

dock

My sailboat slips through the water like memories,
as the smooth hull slips through water and time.
The lonely sound of the paddle dipping into water
gives way as the sails are raised and the lake air
fills the sails with a snap, and then more silence
as we move through the water and we lose ourselves
in our thoughts and dreams.

Carol Y.

How to Fall in Love with the Night Sky

telescope.jpg

To begin, first sit in a comfortable lawn chair and wait for a clear, dark night. Add a decent pair of binoculars and just scan the sky for bright stars, planets, and other intriguing objects. Don’t rush. It takes time and patience to really see the beauty and wonders of the dark sky. Mix this with a goodly amount of time getting to know your instrument, be it binoculars or a telescope. For a beginner, it’s best to thoroughly understand the instrument you use, i.e. binoculars are okay to begin, but work toward larger instruments to find the wonder of planets, nebulas, stars, and other objects. Take your time to discover the dimmer objects that pass by others observers who lack the patience. Try it. You may find a wonderful hobby.

Dan

Grandmother’s Table

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I remember my grandmother’s house in Dallas
And the furniture it contained.
Also the uncles it contained.
I have a table from her house and still get
Memories from it.
Memories still remind me of spending the day with her
And catching the streetcar to the Dallas YMCA
And swimming all day.
Later she moved into a small house my father built.

Jerry H.

Read

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Choose the book.
Join a book club.
Read a synopsis or book cover.
Immerse yourself in the story.
Savor the ending.
Recommend to others.

Betty O.

My Red Kayak

kayak.jpg

I bought my red kayak and was very proud of it.
What fun I had on the red kayak in the water:
the way the glistening kayak lifted high
over the waves of the river. The sound of the waves
was music to my ears and solace to my soul.
There were exciting times as well as relaxing times
in the beautiful and glistening red kayak.
It floated without effort.
My kayak allowed me to be one with the river
and I felt a part of nature. I could be totally relaxed
and continue floating for hours, just enjoying
the intense green plants on the river bank.
There were many water birds—egrets, swans—
gracefully swimming along. The beautifully
puffy white clouds added to the enjoyment.
This is my idea of bliss.

Susan W.

Bird Watching

acorn

Always I have been an observer and lover of nature. I collect acorns every fall in our yard. I save special oak leaves and wildflowers in the spring.

My greatest joy is observing birds at our bird feeders. We have two large feeders, which the birds visit every day. My binoculars are “on the ready” to sight more birds. I keep a bird identification book handy.

Birds are awesome—some of God’s most beautiful work. Thank you, God, for sending these beautiful birds to us. Birds add color to our yard and are such a pleasure to observe.

Susan W.

By the Ocean

sea

I loved the ocean and was only ten minutes away from it in Hampton, New Hampshire, where I lived and grew up from age four. Now I’m eighty-three years old. I loved to swim in the ocean, although mainly it was from March through maybe October that I could swim. I loved living with my parents there. Both of my parents were memorialized when they passed away—Dad at age seventy-eight and Mom at age eighty-six—and that is in North Hampton, right on the ocean!

Glenice

Bama Company

Day 113/365- Late Night Snack

A jar of peanut butter and jelly or jam always reminds me about my father’s business. He started the Bama Company in Alabama and then brought it to Houston, Texas. The Bama Company was bought by Welch’s but still exists in grocery stores under the name Bama, and nowadays sits on the bottom shelf! My dad went on many trips to Mexico and other states to buy the fruit to make his products. My brother got to go on those trips, but not me, since I was very young. I did go to the building where all the jam was made and often would take all of my friends—a fun excursion. Of course, I also took a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to school each day.

Marianne M.

Christmas Morning at the Kilbanes’

christmas

The Christmas tree is lit in the living room. The mantles on the fireplaces are twinkling with their lights and stockings filled by Santa. Both fireplaces are lit. The coffee is brewing and the milk warming for hot chocolate. I take the Irish bread out of the oven to cool, then slice. The bacon and sausage crackle and Mike takes the eggs out. He takes the sleigh bells off the hook and shakes them, and the house begins to wake up. The three sleeping children come down to open their gifts in the living room. They are excited to see their gifts and anxious to tear open the boxes they have received. The boys with their trucks, Karen with her dolls, and, as they grew older, their many tapes and CDs, and new clothes that were worn over their PJs.

Patsy K.

Our Home

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The home was beautiful, a mix of antique and modern. The dining room table was beautiful, oval in shape with weaving movements around the edge.

In the winter, we had a fireplace. Memories of the fireplace: shadows that leapt and roared, a collection of fireplace tools, and a beautiful glow in the room. This was our home in the cold winter, waiting for warmth in the coming sun. The fireplace was a place where warmth would come, and music in the background that flowed beautifully all around. Chess was the game we played.

I still remember the comfort of the home, the mix of modern and antique. There was a view of the bay, and we could hear the lapping of the waves breaking. Palm trees were in abundance.

Jackson G.

Christmas

dog

I see: beauty, cooking, happy faces, a beautiful table.
I hear: good, cheerful conversation, the wind, children, kitchen sounds,
laughter and music, a roaring fire, a dinner prayer.
I taste: a well-cooked meal, apple pie and wine, a delicious dessert.
I touch: my wife’s hand, the oven, my shaved beard.
I smell: fireplace scents, roasting a favorite meal, my wife’s perfume, the smell of rain.

Jackson G.

Familial Love

family

What can I rely upon?
Familial love.
There are reasons to get down,
especially in this day and age.
But when I need to be lifted,
all I need to do is think
of all the blessings that I have
to be thankful for, and
familial love is the most important.
I have the most wonderful family around,
scattered as they are around the country and the world.
By the way, the family even includes an ex-wife,
who remains very much a loving part of the family.
Friends are fine and dandy, but without family
I would be nothing but candy and not as sweet.

Logan M.

Settling In

hotchocolate

On a special evening at 18 Chandon Lane, Beverly and I nestle down to enjoy listening to an album. The dim light outside still illuminates the backyard to such an extent that all the gray rocks are wonderfully highlighted against the newly laid sod that sparkles with all the rain that has recently fallen. The weather has cooperated and gotten cooler just when we needed it to. How could this be so perfect? Hot chocolate, flowers, incense.

We have just moved in, gotten organized, and hopefully halfway rested. The house feels perfect, at least for now.

Logan M.

The Game of Chess

chess

I remember an onyx chess set I purchased in Florence, Italy, forty-six years ago. The hand-carved set is not only a game of intellectual skills, but a piece of beautiful art, a treasure that I lugged around Europe, from Italy to Spain to France to Belgium to Holland, ending with a transatlantic flight to the US.

Over the many years, this work of art provided many days of challenging, intellectual brinkmanship between friends. In more recent years, it has provided opportunities to bond more closely with one of my daughters and, within the last month, the opportunity to teach my seven-year-old grandson to learn a life skill and game—a game that I hope will enrich his future and give him a loving memory of his Popi.

Gary C.

How to Make a Beautiful Landscape

garden

Develop a plan with all necessary materials.
Cultivate your soil, enriching it with compost.
Select the best ground cover, including grass and alternatives.
Research flowers to paint a colorful environment.
Study and acquire the right trees, for now and the future.
Plant your trees with adequate drainage and fertilizer.
Place and plant your flowers and shrubs to provide a picture.
Install an efficient automatic sprinkler system.
Have your sod and ground cover delivered.
Lay your ground cover, your sod.
Water your landscape and enjoy a new environment.

Gary C.

Setting a Vision

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Have a plan to accomplish a vision or objective. Explain the plan to the audience or employee with the goal set to attain completion of the plan. This requires confidence in the leadership, with the goal to accomplish the objective by communicating the vision. This requires communicating the objective’s intent and following through to explain the objective to those who will need to complete the task to achieve the required result. Inquire of those who will follow through to implement the plan to achieve required results.

Fred D.

The Best Pug

pug

I am the friend of a Punkin. We met a few years ago. He was about the size of a tennis ball hiding behind a hedge. I like the way he showed himself, with innocence and trust as he stole my heart. I picked him up and rubbed his fur against my cheek, thinking about how I was going to keep him.

My neighbor said she couldn’t take him because she had three pugs already. So it was my choice keep him, which I did, and he fit into my family with another pup that taught him all she knew. Through her, he learned how to remove insulation with his teeth and wiring removal on tractors and autos.

Joe P.

The pieces above were written by participants in AGE of Central Texas’s Memory Connections Program, an evidence-informed program for people experiencing early-stage memory loss. The Badgerdog writing workshops provided for these groups were made possible by the generous support of St. David’s Community Foundation’s Health’s Angels.

The Magnificent Hippo Llamas

It was such a pleasure spending a week at the Magellan International School with these fifth- and sixth-graders and their inventive minds! The Magnificent Hippo Llamas dove straight into the camp and delighted me with their eagerness, cleverness, and humor every single day.

As reflected in their name, these sixteen writers graders love animals, and they wrote about everything from rhinoceroses to butterflies to sharks. We created “chimera” creatures, animals made up of parts two or more other animals and told stories about their lives, their origins, or their discoveries. We imagined abstract ideas like creativity and anger as though they were animals enclosed in a zoo.

We read and discussed writing by Nicolás Guillén, Franz Kafka, Patricia Smith, and Jacqueline Woodson, and their words inspired our own. To practice surprise and encourage experimentation on the page, we played surrealist games, like three-headed know-it-all and question and answer, and these games gave many of the stories below their initial seed.

I so enjoyed working with The Magnificent Hippo Llamas, and I hope you’ll enjoy their pieces below. Be prepared to laugh, gasp, and smile.

Erin Zwiener
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

Putter

When I was about five years old, I won a bug catcher. That day, I caught a beautiful blue-winged butterfly. I live on a country lane in Fieldtown. My dad owns a farm where he grows corn, peas, cows, pigs, and horses. When I got home, I set Jane, my new pet butterfly, on the barn cabinet and decided to take my horse Snowflake for a ride.

I saddled her up and hopped on. We went around the farm and over to the pound. We then galloped to the corn fields, where my dad was picking the corn stalks. Then we headed towards the pig barn, where Grumpy, Snozzy, Lazy, Happy, and the three other pigs (whose names I could never remember) were sleeping and eating. Then I went over to milk Snickers. I grabbed the bucket and stool out of the dusty cabinet and started milking her. I then thought about my teacher and how we had just finished reading a Greek myth.

I then remembered Lazy, my favorite pig and how, when I was a child, she let me ride on her back. And I remembered Jane, my butterfly… What if? No that wasn’t possible.

Later, after a dinner of yummy biscuits, chicken, and creamy milk from Snickers, I took Jane up to my room. And since I had won Lazy from the county fair, she was my responsibility, so she slept with me. I brushed my teeth with my blue Cinderella toothbrush and put on my PJs and got in my bed, and my mom read me a story and tucked me in. Later that night, I woke up to the sound of the window shuddering. I stared up at the picture of my name in all blue letters: Rosie. Then I slowly drifted back to sleep.

In the morning, I awoke to the smell of eggs and pancakes. I noticed that Lazy was not in her normal spot, and Jane was not in her cage. I started to freak out when I saw some small fluttering by the door. I grabbed the bug catcher and trapped Jane inside and went downstairs to eat. Once I had finished, I went upstairs to check on Jane. When I looked in a magnifying glass, I saw that Jane was a little bigger. She even had a pig nose. Then I remembered Lazy.

Wait… I looked closer. “Jane” had pig feet and even Lazy’s old scar. OMG, I thought. I threw Jane (in her cage) into my saddlebag, jumped on Snowflake, and we rode off to the vet. The vet didn’t know what was going on and said to take Jane to the doctor. The doctor said to take Jane to Professor Louis. Professor Louis ran tests and did experiments that involved machines and needles.

Eventually, he concluded that I had invented a new animal! A pig butterfly, a putter. It was pink with pig legs, a pig nose, pig eyes and ears, and a pink butterfly body and blue wings with pink spots. Professor Louis thought Jane and Lazy had been struck by radioactive heatwaves. He said Lazy Jane would eat leaves and plants. When I got home, I decided that I would keep Lazy Jane a secret. Lazy Jane hangs out in the field till I come home from school. Then she eats dinner and sleeps.

Helen Payan

 

Creativity

—after Nicolás Guillén’s “The Hunger” 

It flows out through the bars,
Bright blue eyes, wings like an angel,
Like a horse in a pen!
Free of heart and mind,
But unfree to roam wild.
It is always thinking of new things,
Like the wolf on the hunt
Or the lion as it roars.

If it could be free, free of this cage,
It would soar like an eagle
High above, where no one could stop it.

It beats its wings in the cage.
The girl stops as she passes the cage.
She breathes.
The girl feels the spirit of the animal
Deep within her heart.

She presses the key into the lock.
It falls.

Free at last.

Lanie Sepehri

 

Larry the Swimming Grape

It was 2032. Humans and animals had become more intelligent, but they were not the only ones. So had grapes, and Larry the Grape was going further than any grape had gone before. He was going to the Olympics. He trained hard every day, jumping off the counter and swimming in a bowl with the fan blowing him the opposite direction.

Then it was time for the Olympics. He entered his name, got his gear on, and when he heard his name called with the rest of the swimmers, he got out of his seat and started walking.

His fellow swimmers did not seem to notice him, as they almost stepped on him three times, so he hitched a ride on someone’s shoe. When they called a name, they did it three times. He guessed they were honoring him. When he got to his spot, someone else was there, so Larry tried to get him to move, but he wouldn’t budge.

When the buzzer rang, Larry jumped into the water. When the water hit him, he felt the rush as he swam. He could feel the water helping him, and then he won, but there was no medal and no winner’s music. He guessed he’d have to wait, so he jumped into his grape bag to say hi to his friend Cherry. The next thing he knew, he was being swallowed.

Emily Steer

 

Anger

—after “The Hunger” by Nicolás Guillén

Creeping, pouncing, shredding.
Always on the prowl.
A panther sneaking in the
woods, a lion crouching in the plains.
A shark swimming in the reef.
An eagle ripping into a fish.
This is anger, wanting revenge,
being resentful and mad.
Anger is cruel, it destroys
and deceives.
You cannot escape anger.
Not you and not me.

Michael Gearing

 

Project: Aquatius Monkius

Project: Aquatius Monkius.

Day 1: The lab just started. My lab just moved to a small, tropical island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. This project is run by the government. The public will not know about it at all. It is my job to keep a journal tracking the experiment. We are trying to make a part-monkey, part-shark creature. Our plan was revised more than thirty times.

First, we had a shark completely consume a yellow leaf monkey, which are native to this island. The lab then exposed it to radioactive waves for ten minutes. We put it in an enclosed area of water that was touching the shore, and we are going to keep the creature there overnight.

Sketch #1: Shark being exposed to radioactive waves.

Day 2: The project has gone horribly wrong! The experiment was not in its enclosed area this morning, but we still had a chance to see it and do some tests on it. The first time we checked on it, it was amazing. It had the head of a great white shark and the tiny body of a yellow leaf monkey. The monkey’s arms were replaced with shark fins, and it had a large shark fin on its back. The monkey’s legs and tail were normal, but they didn’t have any fur. It is very dangerous, and it will eat anything. Right now, I am on a boat with my team searching for it. Where did the team go? Who got ketchup all over the floor? What is that grunting noise behind me? Why do I see a monkey tail and a shark fin in the water? Oh no.

Ivy Semovitz

 

Animals…

A black and white animal.
It looks stressful and in pain.
Creepiness on the outside,
but anger on the inside.
Heat sliding down the forehead,
thinking quietly about
revenge. I look closely at it,
thinking how much pain and
stress this animal is given.

A yellow and black spotted
animal. So sluggish and lazy.
Drooling everywhere, waiting
patiently to get out. The eyes
are barely open, gaining more
weight by the second.

An orange and black striped animal.
So loud and wild. Roaring
every second. Running rapidly
back and forth. Slipping and
falling. So dirty.

Shreya Gupta

 

The Chronicles of the Goatster

One day, I wake up and do my daily routine. I go into the farm and “borrow” some chicken seed, then I go back to my cave and eat. By the way, I’m a Goatster, head and wings of a rooster and body and legs of a goat. I hear the farmer screaming, “It’s gone again!”

“There is someone breaking into the shed again!” exclaims the farmer’s wife. “That’s 3 days in a row!” They take the whole bag of chicken seed! We need to call the cops about this!”

That. Is. BAD! They can’t call the cops! I’m going to go back to those scientists! And technically that isn’t all true! When I’m done, I make sure not to finish it! I just leave one seed and put it in one of the animal pens. That’s fine, right? RIGHT? My best bet is to stay in my cave. That is the only place to hide anyway. Where I live, it is all flat ground surrounded by mountains. Wondering how I got here? I was running away from those scientists and fell down the cliff. That’s right. I fell down a CLIFF!

The farmers definitely called the police. They’re talking with one of them right now. I go to the back of my cave and try to blend in, although a giant chicken goat does not blend in well. Next thing you know, an officer walks by, he looks in the cave, widens his eyes, then walks back, humming and looking at the sky. What are the odds he saw me?

The next day, I do my routine. I “borrow” the chicken seed and go eat, and then I take a nap. I wake up to the sound of traffic and a large bump. All I can see is myself and a bunch of white. I wait for about an hour and then feel the truck screech to a stop. I hear people talking outside and immediately pretend to sleep. They take me outside, and I immediately make a run for it. As I run through the lab, I get lost. I go past all sorts of animal experiments. I feel so bad, so I let them out, but they run away from me fast. I finally get out. Now I’m a Goatster on the run.

Kiana Thompson

 

Courage

—after Nicolás Guillén’s “The Hunger” 

Never afraid to speak up
Stands out
Like a peacock in a field of cows
Beautiful without knowing
When you least expect it
It will show
It cannot be contained
But will hide with the best
Until, until the day when it breaks free
It will soar high again
Not afraid to express itself
Not afraid to do anything
This is courage at its most

Hannah Van Houten

 

Raining Gorillas

Today I woke up in the morning and turned on the news. They said we were going to have a big rain, so I had to bring my umbrella with me. Should I bring original or lucky shield or super bright yellow umbrella? I wondered. I decided to bring my lucky shield umbrella, just in case if I had bad luck, like someone punching me.

I went to my school after I prepared the lucky shield umbrella. Going to my school was fine. Then I went to the classroom, and I knew something was wrong. My friends and teachers looked like gorillas. I thought, What? Am I unconscious? It was weird.

After school, I crossed a street to go home. It was still raining. Suddenly, the raindrops formed like a huge hairy black monster. I turned on my phone radio, and it said gorillas (which were made by raindrops) were spreading a gorilla virus that makes people turn into gorillas. I protected myself with the lucky shield umbrella. I guess this umbrella is unlucky. Anyway, I think I’m the only one who can survive here. I protected myself with the lucky shield.

But I had a great idea. How about I feed the gorillas and treat kindly? I had this idea when other citizens started freaking out and punching gorillas. So, I started the action. Luckily, I walked in front of gorillas. Then I said, “Listen up gorillas! I will treat you very kindly, so please stop the raining gorillas!”

The gorillas talked together as a team and said very deeply and loudly, “DEAL!” But there was confusion. How would we turn gorilla people into actual humans?

I asked the raindrop gorillas, and they cast a spell on gorilla people, erased their memories of the raindrop gorillas, and turned people into humans again.

Meredith Kim

 

The Pengrhino

Once a year, it’s Pengrhino versus the Mousrat. They fight in New Zealand in a giant stone arena. If you step on one tile that’s a trap, you die. The Pengrhino has a penguin head with a rhinoceros horn, a rhinoceros body, and penguin’s feet. The Pengrhino waddles. It is about six feet tall and weighs 550 pounds. The Mousrat has a mouse face with rat teeth and tail. The Mousrat flies around the arena. It weighs 400 pounds and is five-foot-three. The Pengrhino gets its horn into the Mousrat’s stomach right off the bat. The Mousrat dodges all the attacks after that. The Mousrat jumps up after and sinks its teeth into the Pengrhino’s back. They fall off. The Pengrhino turns around and kicks the Mousrat out of the arena. The Pengrhino wins the animal games. Fireworks!

Price Deering

 

Kangacows

Once on a dark and scary night, a mad and crazy scientist with wacky white hair tried to make a hybrid of a kangaroo and a cow! He added lots and lots of strength potions so the animal would be impossible to defeat. That scientist wanted to rule the world, but something went wrong…

When the hybrid was created, it was given the name Kangacow. It didn’t listen to the scientist and punched him, so he became unconscious. The Kangacow ran out of the lab and hopped to the nearest town, Baltimore. The AFC Championship was going on — the Baltimore Ravens versus the New England Patriots. During the fourth quarter, Kangacow made baby Kangacows from his udders. They grew to full size in five seconds and rampaged the field. The crowd ran for their lives. Someone called the army, which surrounded the stadium with tanks and helicopters. The Kangacows started to multiply, and they hijacked the army and made those army men their slaves.

They did this to the whole USA in a matter of months! The scientist built a Kangaproof bunker and tried to make a formula to turn the Kangacows back into normal animals. The other countries tried to gang up on the Kangacows, but to no avail. The Kangacows destroyed the troops and vehicles.

To help take over the rest of the world, the Kangacows called the Swampmunks and Neagles. The Swampmunks were the Navy, the Neagles were the Air Force, and the Kangacows were the Army. They had a whole military force! They first attacked Russia and China because they knew they were the biggest powers after America. The Neagles guarded the Americans, the Kangacows guarded the Russians, and the Swampmunks guarded the Chinese. Then, something happened…

The Americans revolted and ran into broken tanks when the Neagles weren’t looking. They could shoot the Neagles with a tank’s machine gun and missile launcher, but the tank couldn’t move. Then they had an idea. The army men could distract the Neagles by detaching the machine guns and shooting the Neagles while the civilians could stay in the tank to shoot missiles. They kept the Neagles and strapped them to tanks. Then the Kangacows kept calling, but they didn’t come. The Kangacows sent the Swampmunks, but they were ambushed and kept them hostage. The Kangacows called the Swampmunks, but they didn’t come. They knew a big battle was coming…

Shaurya Pathania

 

Llamstrich on the Loose

Once upon a time, there was a scientist who bred animals in his lab, and one day he made a Llamstrich — half llama, half ostrich. It was hideous! When he looked at it, it had the body of an ostrich and the head of a llama. As soon as he grabbed his dart gun, the beast kicked the door to its cage and sped down the hallway. The scientist alerted the police, but as soon as they arrived, the Llamstrich was gone.

In an old house there lives a family of two, a woman and her son. They were llama farmers, but something was off. One llama looked different. First, it had feathers. Second, it had talons. The boy ran to his mother, but as soon as she came, it was gone. The Llamstrich could not find a safe place to hide! So it ran to the police and found a magic portal.

August McMurphy

 

Llamstrich on the Loose, Continued

It was just time for bed, but I remembered I had to tell Egard something, and I asked, “Do you want to go on a trip?”

Egard nodded yes. “I already packed for us. Eight-thirty, and we’ll be on the road.”

I said, “Heh, heh. Be in the sky, I guess.”

Egard grunted and used his big gecko-gripped tail to hang on the ceiling. The rooster crowed, and Egard and I were awake. I put on my swim shorts and got my matching shirt and hopped on Egard’s large eagle head. He flapped his beautiful angel-looking wings and thrust out the door and into the sky.

An hour later, we stopped at our favorite seafood place. Once we finished that up, we got outside, and I checked Egard’s portal generator. It had full battery. He put his two front eagle-arms out. I looked, and to my surprise, we were over a parking lot, and everybody saw us. They were taking millions of pictures. The portal opened, and Egard flew through with ease. When we were going, I told Egard to do it alone.

Once Egard was through the portal, he was in an arena full of sadistic kittens. At the end of the arena there was the one and only Llamstrich, which was dressed in a combat suit, and then the Egard looked down. He was in a combat suit of his own. The kittens yelled fight!

Jacob Ulmer

 

The Hippsquirrel

Pete goes to the desert to look for a new species of animal. He gets to a huge hole in the ground that looks like it goes more than thirty feet deep. He’s big enough to fit in the hole, so he goes down. He sees some light at the bottom of the cave. He goes down to it. It takes him five minutes to get to the light. It flattens out, and he enters a small room. When he gets closer to the light, he figures out it’s green and slimy. He jumps over it and sees a straight tunnel forward. There’s more green stuff on the walls. He tries to avoid it, but he accidentally touches it. It burns him and dissolves.

He keeps going forward, and he sees a huge lump on the ground. Then it starts moving. He yells and tries to get out, but a wall of sand falls over the entrance. The giant thing has a huge head and a really small body and tail. The gigantic thing moves forward and snuggles on him. It starts licking him too and then starts digging through the wall back toward the light. The giant head thing goes through the hole and into the light. Then Pete has a good look at the creature and sees that its body is a squirrel and its head and teeth are a hippo. He decides he likes it and that he will call it Hippsquirrel. The Hippsquirrel starts going up. He follows.

When they get to the top, Pete picks it up and carries it into his truck. It seems okay with this. It keeps licking him, but that’s fine. Pete drives back to his house. It’s in the forest away from the city, so nobody can mess with him. He does research on the green light and finds out it’s nuclear radiation. That’s why Hippsquirrel is two different animals. After that, Pete tries to find out what it eats. Two hours later, he figures it out. Frogs! After that, Pete lives with the Hippsquirrel and takes care of it.

Alastair Dorsett

 

21 Hours

Hello, my name is Jerry the Rhino, and I live in a zoo. Here is a tale about my everyday life. I wake up at 7:00 and eat breakfast, which lasts until 8:00. I have a rest till 12:00. I’m so tired, but I know I can’t sleep for the whole day. I have to eat! I dreamed about sleep. Then I wake up and have lunch until 1:00. Nap time is the best. I sleep until 6:00, and then I have dinner, which lasts until 7:00. Then I take an amazing night’s sleep until 7:00. I repeat this day to day. I am the tired animal and nobody will ever stop my nap time!

Jonah Strong

 

The Story of Fly Guy, a.k.a. The Prowling Fly

Once upon a time, there was a fly who had a kid. That kid was named Fly Guy. Fly Guy loved to prowl everywhere. Soon he got the nickname The Prowling Fly. He left home when his mom died. He caught a plane to Abilene, Texas. Then he caught a cow trailer to England. Then he went to Spain in a taxi cab. Then he caught a submarine to Australia. That is where he started his hunting spree.

First, he tried eating a human, but he didn’t like it. So he went to the outback and saw a pretty fly named Annie Bell. They got married. They had a kid named Darwin Jeffery Wendell. Prowling Fly soon taught Darwin Jeffery to hunt. Prowling Fly killed a giraffe and loved it. Darwin killed an elephant, not realizing they were endangered, but it tasted good. One time, Prowling Fly killed a rhino. He didn’t like it. One time, he and Darwin Jeffery were trying to kill a lion, but Darwin Jeffery was swatted by the lion’s tail and died. Then Annie Bell left him because she was mad.

Then Prowling Fly was all by himself. Then a fly caught his eye. Her name was Kim Lardashian. Soon they had another boy, and his name was Ronald McDonald Wendell. Ronald loved chicken, so Prowling Fly found the most popular bird and told Ronald it was a chicken. Ronald made chicken nuggets. Everyone loved them. So Ronald left his parents and made a very cheap fast food place. It became famous nationwide.

Prowling Fly wanted a hunting partner, so he called an old friend. His friend was Silkie Spider. His friend was a good hunter. When Silkie got there, Silkie brought his wife, but Silkie had no kids. But the day Silkie’s wife got there, a mouse ate her. Silkie decided to go back home. So, Prowling Fly was on his own. Prowling Fly was hunting an elephant but was spiked by the elephant’s horn. He was never found.

Epilogue: You should never be scared of flies. Nothing was harmed in this story. Don’t think that in real life a spider won’t eat a fly. It will.

Coalter Daywood

The 16 Musketeers

I’m honored to introduce you to a group of creative and passionate young authors, who call themselves “The Sixteen Musketeers.” Like the musketeers in the famous story, each of these writers represent an essential part of this collective whole—a group that worked hard over the course of a week, encouraging each other, cheering for each other, laughing with each other, learning from each other. But each Musketeer is also an individual, with a distinct writing style and a powerful voice.

During our week together at the Magellan International School, these students wrote stories and scenes of dialogue that starred a talkative fisherman afraid of cats, a mysterious young girl with wings, a bus driver who borrows a time machine, and a host of other fascinating, complex characters. Yet most of the pieces collected here—the writing that these students most desired to share with the world—are poems or nonfiction passages that focus on transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary, through the precision and magic of language.

These students are determined to report on life as they see it, and to share their passions—for violins and videogames, for starry nights and storytelling—with their readers. I was inspired this week by the imagination, intelligence, and playfulness of these young writers. I hope you, too, find inspiration in these pages.

Allison Grace Myers
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

Ode to my Pencil Case

As I open my pencil case,
Little opportunities sprout legs and escape the dark pouch.
A pencil for making the opportunities
And an eraser for cleaning the messy ones up.

This case isn’t the kind that holds books or scrolls,
But the one that holds the tools to make them.

Inside there is a place for everything to go in.
It is so packed up and works very hard,
But it tries not to complain.
The pencil case says,
“My zipper isn’t stuck, and I’m right in front of you,
So open me up.”

Mannat Ahluwalia

 

Henry the Dragon Slayer

My name is Henry. I am a dragon slayer.

I was found in a river, adopted by one of the King’s ministers. I am now the dragon slayer, and I am one of the best in the profession, but there is yet one dragon that remains. We all call him Scaly. He has eaten all our dragon slayers. He is the fiercest one of them all, so my job was to kill him.

One day, I set out on foot, because no one was willing to come close to the dragon. I would love to say I reached the cave and heard the dragon snoring and chopped off its head, but that’s not what happened. He was torching the cave. I walked into the cave. It was around 100 degrees Celsius. (Talk about turning up the heat!) Yet I was determined to kill him. I charged in and fought the dragon. It was a short fight. I died.

I am dead now, as I tell this story.

Pranav Rao

 

Inspiration

As the sun sets over the mountains
And cast shadows in my room,
Colors spread across the sky—
Red, orange, yellow, pink.

I gaze in awe at the setting sun
As bright as the opossum’s yellow eyes—
The scene that gives all artists inspiration
To draw, to read, to paint, and to write.

 Nadia Tjiptadjaja

 

Spider

Spiders are very ugly and scary, and you can’t really change that, but I’ll try:
Their eyes are an okay color?
Maybe they cannot bite you when they’re in a good mood?
Well, bottom line: They’re TERRIBLE!
With their eight eyes and eight legs, it’s hard not to flip out around them.
You have to admit, when you see a spider, it’s like you’re King Kong.
It’s disgusting when their webs won’t come off your skin.
But I have to make them cute,
So they’re CUTE.

Jase Brown

 

The Pillow

Dear Pillow,

I know I throw you off the bed every night, and my butt lands on your face when I’m doing gymnastics, but you’re a pillow—do you even feel pain?

Okay, you definitely had something to say about that.

Okay, okay, you have feelings too, I get it.

But, I’m sorry, I mean, I bought you so I could have pillow fights, a fort, and something to rest my head on, not really for a friend.

Oh, I do need you a lot.

I guess I owe more to you than I think I do.

Olivia Trail

 

Flickering Stars

Crickets singing
Silence, almost, as
The stars flicker
Like diamonds in sunlight
Further away than the sun
But we’ll reach them
Someday
Sooner or later.

Miette Crawford

 

Ode to My Violin

Seven years ago, my mom bought me a violin. In my free time, I like to practice. I go to camps, clubs, orchestra, and a middle-school competition orchestra called All Region. My violin is brown, except for the neck, pegs, button, and chin-rest, which are black. The body is rough, like half-sanded wood. It is very comfortable. My violin sounds like an oboe if I play properly. If not, it’s like someone snoring. Without you, violin, I would be bored every day.

Akhila Jallepalli

 

A New World

I get inspiration from my imagination. Whatever comes to my mind, I write it down, and instantly I get transported to a world of magic and wonder. I write my thoughts down, and a story comes to life, until soon I am pouring my thoughts onto the paper. I pick a tiny piece of my writing and move it around, only to pick it up again and piece it with another sentence. My thoughts and feelings are my inspiration. I find a thought in my brain, and a new story is born—a new world in which I am engulfed, a new place to go, a new place to see, a new place that will inspire me.

Aanchal Save

 

Flowers

Flowers, flowers,
Full of power supplied by the sun.
They patter in the rain and
Wither when they’re done.
Colored with Beautiful shades
Of red, white, and blue,
Depending on the seasons
They might not catch the flu.
Flowers are for everyone,
Whether you’re sunny or dark.
If you want to be at a golf-course, or when
Batman leaves his bat-cave
Right after he sees his mark.
Flowers are more ancient
Than the human race itself.
They make sure to stay living
Either in the garden or on the shelf.
FLOWER
POWER.

Aditya Gupta

 

Clowns

Clowns haunt you instead of making you laugh.

Their lipstick looks like blood and scars, like a knife digging in every day. Clowns are becoming scary and dark, and they are making horror movies about clowns named It. There are clown gangs attacking people. What is the world coming to? What next — the Joker coming to life?

The world will come to an end, knowing we will all die of clowns. They are as scary as a dark hooded man coming up from your bed, and pulling you under.

Sully Meyers

 

Inspiration

Where I get inspiration is when people complain. I write about what is bothering them, or unfair to them, or to the team, so people can notice their mistakes. And, after that, they need to talk to the person and explain why they were doing this bothersome thing and try to fix it, or tell the person what to do so it will stop. It’s like when you order a hamburger with everything, and they give you nothing on it.

Maggie Wright

 

Baseball

I like baseball, because I’ve played it since I was three. I hit the ball with force. I like the stripes on the baseball. They are red like fire. I like that there are different types of bats. I have four metal ones and one wooden bat. The bat has a vibration when I hit the ball. I like when I step on the plate—it gives me a great feeling. Baseball is a fun sport to play in the fall and the summer. It’s hot in the pants.

Owen Doerle

 

Ode to Tiny (Yorkie Puppy) 

Mommy got me my sweet, tiny Tiny,
My smidgey puppy.
His honey-brown eyes
Are melted Hershey bars.
Every day
He looks for me to play.
When petted,
He nuzzles closer to me.
When hearing the flow of piano,
Tiny naps in my lap
Like a mini bear hibernating for winter.
He lifts me up when I’m down
And turns a frown upside down.
I don’t know where my joy would be
Without my little Tiny.

Samantha Tang

 

Run!

In a videogame shop, there is a game. It is a very special game. When you play with four players, you each pick a character, and then you’re sucked into the video game, and you are trying to get off the island before it sinks into the ocean. But don’t worry—you will go back home.

There are enemies that smell like garbage that will try to kill your character. The jungle on the island has plants and trees that smell moist. Everywhere it smells like a very real island, and everything looks like what it is supposed to in real life. Rated M: It is called “Run!”

Daniel Nikazm

 

The Secrets of the Spider

Spiders are hairy, big and small, black and ugly, but their webs hang majestically from the ceiling. Sparkling dewdrops hang on the web in the mist.

The black widow’s hourglass sits proudly on its back, gleaming with pride in the rain.

Spiders are masters of the shadows. Scuttling quietly in the darkness, they spin their prey into blank paper-white cocoons.

In the end, a female spider has hundreds of tiny spiders, and ideas. A new generation of spiders float in the wind, carried by silver lines, but all in all, only a few survive.

Sophia Li

 

Ode to the Clock

The shiny circle on the
wall, with numbers up
to 12, hands that move
around the circle of
numbers, 1:37 to 12:59,
lots of numbers to tell
the time, my mind and
my eyes say it’s 9:45,
it’s 1:00, ZAP,
Time goes past in a blur,
One red hand goes
second to second, fast,
BOOM, it’s 2:30, BAM,
3:20, Ding Dong Ding
Dong, it’s midnight, Ding
Dong Ding Dong, it’s mid-
day, tick tock goes that
circle with the time,
the clock was red,
like blood.

James Trudo

The Magical Murdering Unicorns Absolutely Slayed

The fifteen rising seventh- and eighth-graders who comprise the Magical Murdering Unicorns brought tremendous energy, humor, and talent to our Badgerdog Camp at the Magellan International School this year. No matter what I threw at them, they handled it with hilarity, thoughtfulness, and imagination. They wrote ekphrastic pieces in response to classical art; they wrote stories and poems based on a series of emojis they’d created themselves; they authored tales imagining the end—or the beginning—of the world; and they crafted monologues from real and fictional characters.

They even played a group-wide game of Exquisite Corpse, a sort of Mad Libs game in which we created sentences word-by-word without seeing the previous word—and then wrote pieces explaining the crazy sentences that ensued.

These campers at the Magellan School always surprised and delighted me, and often knocked me out with their insight and descriptive power. The week flew by. I bet you’ll see a few of these names on the covers of books one day.

Katherine Catmull
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

Waking Dream

It was too early to be at school.
Beep • Beep • Beep
Goes the broken alarm.
The smell of smoke and metal fills the hall.
I can feel his presence behind me.
He’s gurgling, ready to pounce.
I could stand here and let him kill me
Or run, but eventually be trapped.
I wasn’t scared, I couldn’t be.
Drip • Drip • Drip
The blood pooled in his mouth slowly dripped off his chin, and fell to the floor.
He was always so persistent, no matter
Where I ran to.
The alarm stopped.
Now, I could clearly hear his fingernail-like claws clacking on the marble floor.
Now it was just me
And him.
Something wet touched me.
I looked down
Deep crimson blood, sticking to my bare feet.
He was closer now.
I turned around and yelled through gritted teeth,
“LEAVE. ME. ALONE!”
But there was no one there. . . . 

Lila Boyd

 

Escape

I leap over a boulder and land running. The creature is still chasing me. I push things behind me to slow it down. I can see the exit up ahead. I reach my hand out and push the door open, run through, and slam the door. I hear the creature bang its body against the door. The cold, bitter winds stab my face like needles.

My horse, Frost, a pure white horse with white eyes, stands waiting for me. I hurry over to her and mount. I ride all the way to Whiterun. I am on a mission for the Jarl of Whiterun. I open my bag, and the small moonstone with something in the center seems to look up at me. It looks a lot like a cat’s eye. I close my bag and ride on.

I leave my horse at the stables and follow the path up to the gates. Since it is night, the guards unlock the gate with a key. I walk up to Dragonsreach when a man stops me.

“Have you seen this man?” he asks, holding up a sketching of a man.

“No,” I said. “But I’ll keep an eye out.”

I continue on. I open the doors to Dragonsreach and close them behind me. I walk up to the throne.

“Do you have it?” Jarl Balgruuf asked.

“Yes,” I said, reaching into my bag and pulling out the moonstone.

Dalia Chachanashvili

 

The Murder

– an exquisite corpse piece

The awesome library murdered the mourning noodle. The headlines were everywhere. The assassination took place when President Ned Noodle was getting a book called Suicide: A Wonderful Thing. The library then started to launch books, computers, CDs, and chairs at him. One of the CDs sliced him in half, and he died.

Everyone thought of the library as a hero; in fact, he didn’t even get arrested. Everyone loved Ned Noodle when he was first elected, but then his wife and kids died tragically. He became angry because he knew they had been murdered but did not know who had murdered them. Ever since then, he hated everyone and everything, so he made a bunch of terrible rules that affected the people greatly. So when they found out he was going to commit suicide, they were all excited. They had been waiting for days, then weeks, then even a few months.

They found out he cancelled the suicide because he missed his wife’s funeral. He sat at her grave mourning for three weeks. He finally left, and went to the library to get a book about suicide. Even the library was tired of him because he made a rule that you were allowed to talk in libraries. The library noticed that Ned Noodle was checking out a book about suicide, so he decided to get the job done.

The library is now a hero. He is known as the most awesome library that ever lived.

Bonnie Daywood

 

My Day in Emojis

– after an emoji collage

As I did a handstand, I smiled fakely, sad my crush hadn’t come to the party. My friend told me a joke, and I smiled, still sad. I looked toward the door—there he was.

My heart surged with joy and happiness! He was sticking out his tongue and winking at me? No, at his girlfriend. I wish I was her, I thought. As he walked over, my heart burst out; my eyes became little hearts. I looked down as he passed with his dog . . .

Then I wished that I was a magical sea unicorn with a glittering horn, more beautiful than everyone. In my fantasy, my crush’s girlfriend was a devil. I laughed so hard at this that a tear ran down my face. I saw my friends making funny faces, sticking their tongues out and squinting their eyes.

Suddenly, Death-Devil Girl left my crush. He walked over and brought me a Topo Chico; I took it shyly, my eyes being hearts, golden ears on my head… He asked me out. With a huge smile, I said yes, not caring that his girlfriend had just left him.

Maisy Duncan

 

The Mother of Stars

– after an etching by William Blake

In a clearing between two trees, the Mother of the Stars sits with her arms outstretched. The tangle of branches above her forms the platform, and the thick, luscious green canopy forms the ground.

The Star Children play in this world above ours. Orion and Taurus fight in the inky blue heavens. Virgo and the Seven Sisters dance through the curtains of the sky while, down below, Old Father Time sleeps unawakened in a deep slumber. His hand on his scroll, surrounded by the living dead, a ribbon of frolicking spirits.

A book older and frailer than the Web of Life sits upon an oaken chest, just as aged, illuminated by the radiant glow cast by the Mother of the Stars. A lamp that never burns low reveals a text that no mortal man can read and would retain all the knowledge in the world if he did. Golden crocuses give the space a warm presence, and the whole scene is covered in the cloak of darkness.

Gabriella Erb

 

This Is the Way the World Ends

This is the way the world ends, vacuuming the light out of an old, pasty sky, pasty because it was sick of looking at the same plastic world, fake and scripted. The women are in gray dresses, pristine with no stains, and the men walk beside the women wearing stern expressions only of important business. And the children never shine with joy, are just obedient and fake.

The sun gives up shining slender beams of joy to a fake prison of a world, and the moon quits showing soothing-shaped light on the silver mist. They are no longer needed. Although the world has not ended and there is no slavery here, the universe has given up on our plastic, scripted lives. It seems all the beings have been handed to us and all the beings on the planet have been stolen from—their joy and happiness gone, just gone, as a fox takes eggs from a loving mother hen. Gone, never to return. And this seems to me like the most pain injected into all of our Barbie-like bodies, as the world has ended—shut off from life, real life, a loving life, joyful life.

Ryan Honza

 

The Sun

This is how the world began. The Sun. She burned a dark crimson color, slowly circling the universe, a black space of infinity. She had no end or beginning; she went on for eternity.

The Sun by herself got lonely, so she turned space into its canvas. Using a brush of life, she painted stars like herself. The stars danced, sang, and laughed with each other, later returning to their own space in the universe.

The Sun got lonely again. She took a brush and painted unique new objects, nothing like her. Some were small and rocky, others were large. They didn’t dance, sing, or laugh. They walked around the Sun, watching her every move, never to leave.

The Sun got bored, so she got her brush again; she painted trees with leaves of dark green. She painted water that glistened and glowed under her watchful eye. Then she made animals, some big, some small, some red, some blue. All were different. Then she made all the foods.

Finally, she made us: eyes to see with, mouth to talk with, hand to hold, feet to kick, and a brain to think with. Now we sing, dance, and laugh with Sun watching us all for eternity.

 Zaina Jafri

 

Waking Dream

I was in the middle of dismissal when I heard a loud bang. Everyone from my class looked outside. There was a man outside with a shining sword connected to his back and two giant guns in his arms.

I started running back to my house from school. As I was running, I saw all of the brick houses with creepy dolls sitting on the doorsteps. All the dolls with the long hair and ragged clothes were staring at me. It seemed as if they were looking straight through me.

I started sprinting down my street up the hill, past the dark, mysterious cul-de-sac, all the way past my creepy neighbor’s house to my house, home sweet home! I was back at my house, the white house that was almost at the top of the hill. Being home made me feel safe from all the chaos that was behind my back.

Lucas Li

 

The End

This is the end
I’ve dreaded this exact moment
The more I think
The faster I forget.
The more I look
The less I see.
This is the end.

Naomi Melina Raab

 

The Pond

My feet dangle in the water,
My fishing line waiting for a bite.
The trees sway with the wind,
The sunset’s rays illuminate the pond,
The smell of fresh pine fills the air.
I close my eyes,
Slowly falling asleep,
Dreaming, dreaming.
All is calm.
I awake with a flash,
Unable to breathe.
I look up,
The sun’s rays shrouded by murky water.
I’m drowning, I realize,
Drowning, drowning.
My instincts kick in,
I arise to the surface.
My grandpa’s laughter
Echoes across the pond.
I smile.
All is
Calm.

Thomas Mazzurana

 

The End of the World

This is the way the world ends… As I wake up, I feel a cool breeze of frost, but why? It’s summer. A feeling of loneliness sinks in slowly, like black ink sinks into my skin. As I walk outside, all I see is dust, with ashy grey skies and trees all burned into sharp ridges. No one outside. You may yell, but it only echoes back.

I run inside to seek help. No one. It’s pitch black inside the house with no electricity. All the water is cloudy grey. No food to feed my starving bones. So I lay quietly on my hard bed, slowly sinking into darkness.

Chloe Pence

 

The Glittery Zebra’s Revenge

– an exquisite corpse piece

The glittery zebra honestly killed the poopy unicorn. The glittery zebra was glittery because he ran into the poopy unicorn. The poopy unicorn farts rainbows and poops glitter. They were both in the forest and the zebra was walking behind poopy unicorn, and… well, you can guess what happened. The zebra’s least favorite color was glitter (who knows when he became such a cold soul?), and he was really angry at poopy unicorn. The glittery zebra was so mad that he drowned the poopy unicorn in the glittery lake.

Sahana Sudarsan

 

Supergirl Monologue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a dark confession. I have had a huge lie—I have lived a huge lie. No one knows what I really am. I was born on the beautiful planet Earth, in the Milky Way, not on Krypton. I was born with abnormal abilities. My parents put me with my adoptive family because they had sheltered Superman before and wanted me to have a good life that they could not provide.

They told them I was from Krypton, that I was an alien. They told me that, too. Always, deep down, I knew that I was different, but overall I was the same.

I have been fearing this day my whole life. But I never imagined that I would ever care for my family and friends so much, that there would be so much at stake.

Now, I am asking you, please help me figure what I am, who I am. I need to know. If you guys don’t ever want to see my face again, just say it and I will disappear.

I am just Kara. Being Supergirl is part of me, and I can’t, and won’t, stop doing what I am doing. I just want you to know I am still me, Kara Danvers, and that, my friends, will never, ever change.

Alia Thompson

 

The Giant Octopus

The Giant Octopus had giant teeth,
Also big chompers on his four feet.
To defeat it was a huge feat.
Huge flames out of its arms,
It can do you great harm.
The Giant Octopus was so great,
But it was evil and got lots of hate.
It is evil because it was raised in the fiery pit of a volcano.
Luckily, it doesn’t have a bow.
And the evil octopus couldn’t grow.

Sakthivel Vijayakumar

 

This is the Way the World Ends

This is the way the world ends. I see the flash, brighter than the sun, that lasts long into the night, then more—the terrific burning. I see these things from space, because I am an astronaut on the ISS. Asteroids are killing our planet, like bullets to a human heart.

The Earth starts to crumble, then splits. I can see the lava spilling out onto the surface of the Earth.

Then, like a bomb, the Earth explodes.

Mateo Wells