Tag Archives: secondary

The Exquisite Corpse of the Way We Were

14 Aug

Surrealists invented the technique of Exquisite Corpse in 1918, though the game bears similarity to an even older parlor game called Consequences. Participants take turns writing sentences down on a piece of paper, folding the paper so as to conceal everything but the latest addition, and passing the paper around the room until a collective poem or story is formed. Beatnik poets brought this art form back to life in the 1960s. In the 1990s, the Surrealist exercise spread further in popularity: cartoonists and novelists used Exquisite Corpse to create their works, and musicians like David Bowie and Kurt Cobain constructed lyrics using the technique. High school students at Badgerdog’s summer camp at The Girls’ School of Austin wrote at least two of these poems every day for three weeks. It gave them a greater understanding of the writer’s collective by trusting in each other and their own instincts. The following poems are proof that even without a specific topic, we are all connected when we write together.

Jena Kirkpatrick
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

Sprouts Ideas

-an Exquisite Corpse poem

Where did it go? My world?
The land was dry and broken
A small piece of paper sitting on a table
The world slows down, and time speeds up
Sirens echo in a dark hallway
With that the daggers of ice hit the ground with a resounding crack
Earth’s surface like Grandma’s apple pie crust seemed to crumble away
The wind blowing without direction
The soft touch of graphite sprouts ideas
The carrots are coming
Does it all even matter?
None of it matters now.
It is all resolved; the only thing remaining is the witching hour’s sky

Dhruv Ruttala, Anya Van Arnam, Lauren Tourish, Keziah Myers, Camille Pfister, and Zoe Slade. Composed June 21, 2017.

Time

-an Exquisite Corpse poem

Time is but a relative concept
A million clocks on a million walls telling me a million different things from midnight to noon
Time, what are you? Who are you? You are fast and slow, can be light and dark, I am beginning to think no one knows.…
What if the past never existed, and we were simply placed in the present with these memories?
Hours race like seconds, minutes crawl like days
Every decision you’ve ever made leads you here
Tick tock the hands move along
What time was it when I began to fade away?
Time is at a standstill as the world whirls into eternity
Sometimes I wonder if our current life is just a dream, and death would just be waking up

Dhruv Ruttala, Anya Van Arnam, Lauren Tourish, Keziah Myers, Camille Pfister, and Zoe Slade. Composed June 22, 2017.

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They Call Themselves John

11 Jul
During one amazing, writing-filled week, “John”(as our group dubbed itself) created work that ventured boldly across the wide range of storytelling. These bold, young writers (all high-schoolers) invented their own cities, wrote poetry, horror stories, romances, tales of sibling rivalry, and the beginnings of what could be their first novels.  While their body of work is diverse, they are all united by their devotion to and exploration of the character “John,” who took many different forms in their writing. This group of writers crafts tales with precision and passion. They are undaunted by the hard work and courage it takes to sit down and put pen to paper, and they are also willing to constantly revise in the name of creating a better experience for their readers.
Over the course of our week together, we explored the “Seven Cs” system of story structure, read Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, and learned how the elements of motion, status, and time can be used to create living, breathing characters. The students also embraced unstructured writing time and were free to use their own writing templates. Oftentimes, they would bring their notebooks on breaks to hone their latest work. It was a pleasure to teach them, even though it was only for a short while. I know every member of John will be writing great things well into the future.

William Glick
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

My Latest Invention

My latest invention is to fix the mess I already made, but it might be too little too late. We will find out sooner rather than later.

I see a dark cloud. Now the man is approaching. I scoop up my tools and break into a run. Just two more bolts, and the invention will be done. I collapse behind a tree, panting, and try to screw in the bolts as fast as I can, the dull rumbling getting louder as I work. Then there’s a small whirring, and my invention slowly lights up a dim electric glow, illuminating my face as it slowly starts to spread, encapsulating my body.

The vitality of my youth comes flooding back in a raging torrent, and now I know I can win.

A loud, audible bang and a flash of bright light. My first invention finally works, but as my second invention slowly melts and scalds my skin, I know it’s too little too late.

Roan Alonzo

 

Northern Lights

I dreamt I saw the northern lights with you
and the moonlit sky was ours.
Your face lit up brighter than any star I’d seen
and you laughed.
In that moment, it wasn’t so bad to be human.
To be so, so small,
but to feel all too much.
Now I see it.
Everything.
The small things I didn’t pay any mind to are flooding my mind
and they feel like regrets.
The sunlight cutting through the trees over the stream.
That was a truly beautiful day, wasn’t it?
It was a shame I couldn’t quite see it.
It hits me in my reminiscing
I don’t want to leave this unlikely paradise or birdsongs and pain.
I can only hope I’ll be back someday.
I guess that’s what this world does best.
Hope.

Jordan Busby

 

The Woods

9:30 AM

Bill was packing his clothes into his suitcase, and his family was doing the same. He was getting ready for his family camp trip. Finally, they were on the road.

3:10 PM

Bill’s family finally arrived at the camp. They were just moving into their campsite when they met a stranger. He told them the campsite was haunted because an evil samurai master was buried there, but they decided not to listen.

3:30 PM

The family got everything into the campsite, and they started setting up their tents. Just when they finished the first tent, Bill’s dad, John, said that he could go run around and take a break.

4:05 PM

Bill was running around the open field when, all of a sudden, he caught a glimpse of what seemed to be a really faint person in heavy armor looking straight at him. He decided to go check it out, but when he got close, the person disappeared into thin air. He got a little bit spooked and decided to go back to camp and take a nap.

6:30 PM

Bill woke up to the sound of meat patties being grilled. He quickly got up and realized he was going to have hamburgers for dinner. After dinner, it was getting dark, so they decided to call it a day.

11:30 PM

Bill was sleeping when, all of a sudden, he heard the sound of footsteps outside of camp. He slowly got out and saw nothing. When he was just about to head back, he saw the same ghostly person again in the woods. He decided to go check it out again.

12:00 AM

Bill was running towards the person to investigate, but he disappeared again. He got really spooked and ran back, but a huge tree fell down, blocking his path.

12:45 AM

Bill tried to get over the tree, but then he heard the sound of a Japanese kurikata being taken out of its sheath.  He quickly turned around and saw nothing.

Justin He

 

My City

In this city, there are many houses, houses of all different shapes and sizes, houses with towers and spires, houses with thatch roofs and one window. There are modern houses with chic lighting and unique layouts, houses a kindergartener might draw with the triangle roof and the two windows. These houses are grouped together, layer upon layer, ascending the slopes of a giant pyramid.

These houses are all black. In fact, everything in this city is black. There is a giant canopy above this city that blocks out any sunlight. There are no parks, no forests, no lawns. Only houses, houses upon houses, in no particular order with no particular purpose. The people living in this city are the same. They wear black clothing, and hide their faces behind long black hair. They stay inside their houses all day, big and small, simple and complex. There is no sound of cars, nor traffic. No wind or rain. No sun or stars. In fact, the only color that is anywhere in this city is a bright, bright red rose planted next to a singular gravestone on the top of this pyramid. The only time of year anyone comes out of their house in this city is always in the beginning of the year, when the air is sweeter.

A lone girl with long, straight black hair down to her waist, wearing a black dress, comes out of her house.  The parents can usually be seen with their faces pressed against the window, grief and sorrow clouding their eyes. The lone girl slowly makes her way up the pyramid. As she goes, she sprinkles seeds onto the ground around her. When she reaches the top, she reaches down and uproots the rose, dark and wilted. She crushes the dried up petals in her hand and releases them into the wind. She then reaches down and plants a single seed that she has been saving for a long, long time.

Amy Huang

 

Papama

The city of Papama cannot be seen from above. Low-hanging clouds of smoke shield the withered land within the city. Oily canals sit static, breaking up the ground into a grid. Workers dressed in dull jumpsuits hack away systematically at the wilted trees along the water. The brittle, lifeless trunks are tossed into the sickly canal and bubble briefly before sinking out of sight.

One man, bones jutting against his pale skin and hair thinning at a rapid pace, stumbles around in the darkness. John, that’s his name. A name no one will remember after he falls into the water this very same day. His bones will meet all the rest that sit comfortably at the bottom of the canal. Short, square houses sit along the waterline, triple locked for fear of the skeletons that may crawl out of the depths.

A city covered in smoke and fear. That is Papama.

Adison Lampert

 

The City Underwater

The small submarine dived into the vast ocean. Radar on the ship had picked up a signal there, and the signal said it was huge. When the submarine dived down, they saw something. They saw a city. The city was sitting on the bumpy ocean floor with tall structures. But something didn’t seem right. It looked as though it had been abandoned.

The scientists found a docking bay, and got off into the skyscraper-like building. Water was dripping everywhere. Chunks of stone cracked off the wall, and even some scorch marks were visible. They did some searching and found a guide to the city.  Every year, the so-called “citizens” would modify their DNA and mutate themselves into something that was described as an evolution. When the scientists looked at the picture, evolution didn’t come to mind. It was more like a monster. This got them worried. The picture seemed to show a creature that looked like the devil with brown goat-like horns, the feet of a horse, and yellow shining eyes that looked like it came straight from the abyss of hell.

The scientists were sweating all over, and hugging each other to stop their trembling. They grabbed the guide and started heading back to the ship. That’s when they saw a red hot fireball flying through the dark, blue abyss. It hit the submarine straight in its fuel tank and created a massive orange-white explosion. The scientists stared in fear and awe. Then a citizen’s head popped up from the middle of the explosion. It looked like the one in the book. It spoke in a language the scientists had never heard before. The scientists were now confused and scared, the worst combination of feelings. Then the creature charged forward, raised his hand and said a terrible word in his language. A ritual-like circle of energy popped into his palm, and the scientists blacked out. Before that, a scientist named John saw a sign. It said Xylophen.

Austin He

 

Love Triangle

Meet three best friends — Dylan, Robert, and John.  Robert is tall, dark, and handsome. Dylan is the quarterback for the football team. He is smoking hot and has hair like Fabio. John is the cool guy who looks like Dally from The Outsiders. 

Three best friends who tell each other everything. But Robert has a secret. Robert is gay and has feelings for Dylan. He can’t tell John because John has a big mouth. John is also gay and has feelings for Dylan. Dylan is not gay though. One day, Dylan borrowed notes from Robert. As he was flipping through the pages, it made him sick to his stomach. It said Robert + Dylan = Love.

He didn’t know what to do, so he went to John’s house and told him. John told him to stay away from Robert. A few days later, John confessed he liked Dylan. Dylan was shocked. He thought about everything and realized he liked him too, so he went to John’s house and, without saying a word, he kissed him. However, Robert was watching. As he watched, tears fell from his face.

Tina Elizondo

 

The End of a Friendship

Once upon a time, there were two brothers named Rutherford and Samuel who lived in Detroit, Michigan. The two brothers were friends the first years of their lives. They would play hide-and-seek, they would play board games, and they enjoyed each other’s company. However, when Rutherford was eight and Samuel was six, Rutherford came home with a new friend named John. John was impolite and rude. He went into Samuel’s room and destroyed his toys. When Samuel complained, John punched him in the face and ran out of the house. When Rutherford was trying to find John, Samuel punched him in the face.

When Rutherford was thirteen and Samuel was eleven, they would not look at each other anymore. Their rooms were on separate floors and separate sides. Each had set up locks to their doors plus booby traps along the halls to keep the other away. Each of the boys ate their own breakfast and went to different schools. Their parents had the boys put locks on their doors, but when they would come out, one would punch the other and shove them into their room and board the door shut.

After five years of fighting and yelling, the parents eventually had company over. Dinner started very pleasantly with good conversation and peaceful understanding. However, when their mother mentioned their darkest secret, fighting, the brothers were outraged and ran away from home in two directions. They had nowhere to go. They only wanted to be free of their horrific home life.

They never met again, not for fifteen years, until they each spotted each other on the Brooklyn Bridge. Samuel tried to say childhood was over and that it was only one day that ruined it. Rutherford was saying it was Samuel’s fault that he punched back. Rutherford tried to shove Samuel off the bridge, but Samuel tripped him with his left leg, and Rutherford, unable to swim, plunged into the dark, cold water, never to resurface again. Samuel was so horrified that he had killed his only brother that he kissed the world goodbye, plunging into the water. His hand stretched out to the last light of the world until it vanished, and his life, as well, vanished into the water.

Dashiell Kostka

Butterscotch, the Mighty Ocean Attackers

7 Jul

The stories and poems collected here were composed by a group of incredibly talented and creative young authors who call themselves “Butterscotch, the Mighty Ocean Attackers.” During the course of our week-long Badgerdog Creative Writing Camp at Our Lady’s Maronite Catholic Church, this phrase kept popping up over and over again—like a refrain in a catchy song that you just can’t get out of your head—and the more I ponder it, this strange and unexpected title actually fits this group perfectly. The writing these middle-school students have produced is a lot like butterscotch: smooth and rich and extravagant and deliciously exciting. But it is also—like a mighty group of ocean attackers—fierce, determined, wild, dangerous. You’d better watch out and take cover, because you are about to come in contact with Butterscotch, the Mighty Ocean Attackers. Their stories and poems will assault you with the power of ocean-deep emotion, suspense, beauty, and humor. They will knock you over and leave you completely transformed.

Allison Grace Myers
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

Inspire

I saw her sitting under a tree, chewing at the end of her pencil. Her eyes were full of concentration. She looked broken and angry, as though her own mind had failed her. I approached the girl, and her everlasting beauty overtook me. I tapped her on the shoulder, snapping her back to reality. She looked up at me with thought and praise in her eyes. I took her hand and helped her up to her feet. Her skin was smooth, pale, and perfect. I whispered to her in a soft voice, “Follow me. Great ideas lie ahead.” She smiled and we ran off to the forested line at the end of the sky. I showed her my place, my hideaway. The cherry blossoms fell gently to the forest floor. We just sat and talked for hours. Every once in a while, her eyes brightened more than usual. She would whip out her notebook and write something down. The sun began to fall behind the horizon, and as she headed back to her place by the tree, she hollered to me, “Next time, I’ll show you where my ideas grow.”

Gibson Hof

 

Grandfather

I never got to meet you
But mom tells me about you
I wish I could see your smile in person
Instead of in black-and-white pictures
The antlers of an eight-point deer you shot
Still hangs in our kitchen
Mom tells stories of how
You would bang them together to attract deer—
The sound they would make—clack, clack
And you didn’t let any of the deer go to waste once you got one
I wish I could have met you.

Sylvia Schwartz

 

Viola’s Perspective

We play the harmony of a piece and stay in the shadows of the melodious violins. Of the orchestra, we are the least important, but we’re there. Our voices are deeper than that of our shrill cousins, but our notes mirror those of the cellos. Our voices are clear and velvety. Our parts in pieces are significantly easier or less ear-catching. and we all know it. We joke about our “easy” parts, but it’s only funny if the one making the joke is one of us. We’re overlooked, deemed “a cheap copy of a violin.” That may be true, but it doesn’t make it any less insulting. We still play beautiful music.

Alice Guo

 

The Little Corsican Boy

I’ve missed you, my friend
You’ve changed so much
Since we met that fateful winter
Snow gently falling on our noses
It was the first time you saw snow
And you hated it
You were the little genius with the foreign accent
And they all hated you for it
We would all look twice
When we saw what you became
I watched you rise
High
Higher than the tallest steeple of Notre Dame
But how would I know what goes on
In your head?
You’ll never be what they molded you into
Not to me
Now I stand beside your grand tomb
Your coffin
Here I cry
Cry that they had smothered you in grandeur
And I remember the little Corsican boy
And I vow to introduce him
To the rest of the world.

Ellie Fitzpatrick

 

The Fox in the Woods

We moved silently down to the small creek. We could see our campfire up the hill, but only barely. The only light we had was the moon. The five of us stared at it, silent, listening to the water flowing and the bullfrogs croaking solemnly every so often. Everything we could see was tinted blue like sunglasses by the moon in the night. Then we saw the fox. It trotted within five feet of us. I have to say, it was smaller than I would have expected. As it finally scurried off into to the woods, we hiked back up to the campfire to find everyone else waiting. They missed out; they hadn’t seen the fox like that.

Beck Williams

 

Tasting Victory

We all have one goal. We all want victory. We all have one thing in common: volleyball.

We will always fight like there’s no tomorrow because we know we want it most. We will always support each other and make everyone feel welcome, so we can connect like the pieces of a puzzle.

When we fight back, we can almost smell the victory of our hard work. To us, that is the best kind of victory.

We know what we have to do: pass, set, hit.

We know how to win—we simply smile.

If our team breaks apart, winning is futile—sports is a mental game. We know we have to shake off our doubts and begin anew.

Even if we lose, we won’t give up. Giving up is for those who don’t want to taste victory.

But after we win, we know we’ve achieved our goal. We can taste the victory. After all, we are a team.

Eliza Lord

 

Hero: A Novel

– an excerpt

She lay on her back on the metal framed bed, necklace clutched in her hand, the bed creaking as she breathed. She let go of the necklace. Free from her clutches, it slid onto her amber-colored hair, which seemed just as eager to escape the bed as the necklace. The alarm clock beeped. I guess it’s time to get up, she thought.

She sat up in bed, pulled on jeans and a purple hoodie, stared in the mirror for a minute, and then Kat Ruben left the apartment. She headed down to the coffee shop on 22nd Street and said hello to the waiter.

“Hiya, Kat! What can I get you?”

“My usual. To go. Thanks, Gary.”

She glanced at the TV on the wall: WINGED GIRL SAVES BOY FROM KIDNAPPERS.

Kat pulled up her hood. That was a side of her she would rather not think about. Fortunately, for her, there was Gary. He had her breakfast ready—a big blueberry muffin.

“Her ya go, honey!”

“Thanks.” She gave him a five dollar bill.

Kat took her muffin to the park, where she ate half of it, but then gave up and fed it to the squirrels.

Fall was her favorite time of year. Cold, but not enough to snow. Perfect for New York and hoodies.

Bored, she looked over at the man sitting next to her. He was holding a newspaper. It had a picture of her on it. She had huge bug-like wings. She was lifting a car. Her mother had entrusted her with her wings. She told Kat to use them well. Kat would rather not. A superhero? An alien? How absurd!

Suddenly, she heard a voice from behind. “Hey, stop that!” Kat turned around. In the alleyway, there was a girl, no more than twelve, leaping up to catch a tattered book, but she was failing.

“Whatcha gonna do about it?” the boy asked.

“Hey!” Kat stood two feet above the boy. “Stop it!”

“Oh yeah? Why?”

Then, Kat made a decision. Was this worth it? She looked into the girl’s eyes. She saw pain, hidden by confidence, and stubbornness. She saw herself.

Kat snapped her wings open. They glistened, huge and powerful. She flapped them quickly enough to get about four feet off the ground.

“I said LEAVE. Now.”

“You said it, miss.”

Kat turned to look at the girl, but she was gone. The alleyway was empty, except for one page torn out of a book. “This diary is for the eyes of Quinn only.”

Quinn. She’d have to get to know her.

Claire Moore

Badgerdog Book Crush: Me and Marvin Gardens

16 Jun

Inspired by the novel Me and Marvin Gardens, this year’s Book Crushers wrote letters to Governor Greg Abbott urging greater environmental protections from lawmakers.

In this year’s wonderful Book Crush novel, Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King, eleven-year-old protagonist Obe Devlin tells a surprising and multi-layered story about the Pennsylvania acres that were once his great-grandfather’s farmland, one hundred years ago.

During one jam-packed and exciting week of reading, writing, discussing, and art-making, we explored the book’s characters and themes through many different lenses. We read:

  • as detectives, searching for the secrets everyone keeps in the story and the unsolved mysteries beneath the surface
  • as actors, acting out dramatic scenes from the book, improvising new ones, and writing our own
  • as architects, examining how the design and form of the novel connect with its themes
  • as historians, imagining the history of the land our houses were built on and asking parents and grandparents what our own great-grandparents were up to one hundred years ago
  • as scientists, making our own observations of the natural world and imagining what innovations the future could bring
  • and as citizens, putting the book’s messages into action by writing letters to Texas Governor Greg Abbott about the environmental topics that mattered most to each of us.

The nine amazing Book Crushers also tried out one of Obe’s favorite pastimes—picking up trash. Over the course of three days, they collected a large trash-bag’s worth of litter from the grounds of the Carver Museum, and then turned it into their very own Garbage Gallery: a series of sculptures and collages made from found objects. They attached “found poetry” collected and clipped from Me and Marvin Gardens to their art pieces as well, and the result was a powerful exhibit of artwork about pollution. As you’ll see, it really captures the spirit of both the book and the Book Crushers—passionate, a little wild, and full of hope.

Noah Weisz
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

One Hundred Years Ago

One hundred years ago, my great-grandfather started to protest.  Migrant workers were upset because they didn’t have enough money for food.  Migrant workers were poor, so their children had to do hard work in the fields.  They mostly came from Mexico and were treated very poorly.  When one worker demanded more pay, the boss ignored him.  But all the migrant workers formed a union.

That’s where my great-grandfather came in.  He gave money to the union and helped protest.  Sadly the boss called the police and the police sided with the rich boss.  The police stopped the union by beating people up.  That didn’t stop the migrant workers, though.  It took them years and years and great-grandfather Ellis continued to always be a strong supporter of the union.  I learned from great-grandfather Ellis to never give up and to fight for what’s right.

Lena Colton Boas

 

Devlin Creek

Lena Colton Boas and Mayla Montgomery

 

Infinite Smiles

Zachary May

 

Bottle Full of Trash

A reminder that if we continue down this same path, if we do nothing, if we fail to act, then our world will look much like this bottle full of trash (but probably less bright and colorful!).

Zachary May and Jordan Saleh

 

My Great-Grandfather’s Voyage

Every day I thought of it, my eyes welled up with tears. Should I have left my family or not?

I tried to distract myself with other thoughts. A few hours later, we arrived at the next port. I pushed myself through the crowd and walked to the next boat. When I got there, the person standing in front of the boat shook his head no. He started to say something I didn’t understand. I was pulled back onto the boat I was on first. I was angry. The sea sparkled in a way that made me feel that it was laughing at me.

After many nights staying on that boat, we finally were allowed to board the next boat. During these next few nights, I had made a decision to go to Mexico instead of Poland. I was watching the sea’s waves pounding against the boat when someone spoke to me in my language.

“Are you coming here from Poland?” said a young man about my age who was standing next to me.

“Yes, are you?” I replied. He nodded yes. Suddenly he shouted as he looked over my head. I turned to see what he was looking at, and my eyes started to water. We had made it to Mexico after so many months.

Sunny Greenblum

 

Tree

… And from an unwanted soda can, a paper tree sprouted from the earth into the air, reaching out its long, thin, airy limbs and offering a single golden flower.

Sunny Greenblum and Gillian Lucente

 

100 Years Ago on My Mom’s Side of the Family

One hundred years ago, my great-grandfather, named George Murray Hulbert, was born in the New York area. He loved to study olden-day ships on the salty water, and the breeze that was salty enough that it hurt your eyes if you kept them open for three minutes. He loved political things too, like president things. Well, when he was walking around the salty-smelling docks for a job, he asked if he could take the jobs near the docks. Some men tested him to see if he could do anything with the docks. He impressed the men so much that he got the job of being in charge of the docks.

Six or seven years later, he got the job to be mayor of New York City. His wife was so happy that she gave him a hug. Six years after that, he got a letter from the president saying, “George M. Hulbert, since you have done so well and proven to everyone that you’re a nice, smart, and clever man, you should be president!”

After two years, he got a letter from his wife saying that she had a girl child and named it Regina Elizabeth Hulbert. He smiled and thought to himself while looking out the window, Wow… I hope she is going to grow into that name. He smiled because he knew that Regina meant queen.

Gillian Lucente

 

My House

Ruby Airhart

 

Volcano

Imagine a small but powerful (and colorful and creative) volcano made not from rock and lava, but from recycled materials. Don’t worry, you don’t have to! Ruby created just such a volcano for us.

Ruby Airhart

 

One Hundred Years Ago

I am Mary Sophia Borlase. I was born on March 11, 1904. I grew up in rural Philadelphia. I was the third of four children. I was also the only girl. Two of my brothers were older than me, and one was younger.

Even though I was only five-foot-two, I played girls’ basketball in high school. After graduating from high school, I went to secretarial school since my parents couldn’t afford to send me to college. I learned how to type and how to organize things like folders, documents, and flyers. After that, I managed to get a job as a secretary at the Sears headquarters. This was amazing, because most women didn’t have a career. Heck, we didn’t even get the right to vote till August 18, 1920!

I took that job seriously, and I kept getting promoted. Soon I became the private secretary to the chairman of the board of Sears. My boss was the rich Mr. Rosenwald. His family founded the Museum of Science and Industry. Mr. R also collected fine art.

Soon after getting promoted, I met my future husband. He didn’t want me to work, so I quit at age thirty-two. I still came to Mr. Rosenwald’s estate, though. I organized his traveling art exhibits. Then I’d ship them to loan to museums all over the country! I learned that it doesn’t matter if you are a boy or girl, old or young, black or white. \ Just reach for the stars.

M. M. Montgomery

 

The Day Obe Moved Seats

Tommy went to his seat. The bus driver greeted me saying, “Can you sit next to Tommy because he and Mike haven’t been making the best choices next to each other?”

“Sure,” I sighed. Then I walked slowly to get to Tommy. I didn’t see Mike, but I was sure he wouldn’t listen to the bus driver.

“What are you doing here?” Tommy asked.

“The bus driver told me to move next to you,” I said.

“Who listens to the bus driver these days? It’s a free country. Go sit somewhere else,” Tommy said.

“I’m not moving seats,” I said.

The bus driver dropped us off.

“Where were you, Obe?” Annie asked.

“The bus driver told me to move next to Tommy,” I said.

“Are you okay?” asked Annie.

“I’m fine,” I said.

“Well, tell the bus driver if he bullies you,” Annie said.

“Okay, I’ll tell her after school.”

Jordan Saleh

 

100 Years From Now

One hundred years from now, when you are rushing to your son’s best friend’s birthday party in your fancy car, you look at the dashboard and see three lights. One is green, one is yellow, and one is red. You see that the only light on is the red one.  So when you get to the next intersection, you stop and wait like we normally do. Then the light on your dashboard turns green and you go. When you get to the next intersection, red lights start flashing.  That means you only have five more miles before you run out of electricity and you are stuck in the middle of the road. So then you go to the nearest electric station and fill up for 100 more miles. Then you pay your fee of five dollars. Then you speed off toward your son’s best friend’s birthday party. And three hours later you drive back home and cook dinner on your electric stove.

Deven Sharma 

 

Recycling Symbol

What if a recycling symbol were made out of recycled materials?! (And sentences from a book about a monster who only eats plastic?)

Deven Sharma

 

Older Marvin, Tommy, and Obe

It was one hundred years later.  Tommy and Obe were watching Marvin splashing in the water.

Tommy said, “I miss those days, when Boardwalk was with the babies. Now the babies are gone with their own families, and Boardwalk is at home.”

“Yes,” said Obe. “I remember that.”

Rohan Sharma

 

The Golden Garden

What will gardens look like in 100 years? Will they be lush, verdant, and filled with flowers, birds, and insects? Or will they look more like this… blossoms of soda cans and discarded trash? The answer is up to us!

Rohan Sharma

All American Concerns

13 Apr

Last fall, we (at Badgerdog) had the pleasure of partnering with Ms. Minde and her students at KIPP Austin Collegiate to explore the novel All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. The novel explores how an urban community is affected in the wake of the shooting of a young black man by a white police officer. Teaching Artist Eva Suter helped students articulate their responses to the novel’s difficult and tragic story using various art forms–visual, auditory, and written.  Students created this collection of thoughtful interpretations and reflections about the story and what it means to fight for equal justice and protection.

Cecily Sailer
Badgerdog Programs Director

Solidarity

I just heard him reading out loud those meaningful words that speak to everyone who has been bothered before. Many others started to join in. The teacher was crying. She looked up with puffy, red eyes. She had the biggest owl eyes, and she looked really shocked. We haven’t be able to do anything during class since… Well, no need to mention it. It’s split the school into three parts — no longer a community but a war against each other. But no. We’re not going to take this anymore. There has been a rumor about a march to stand up to police brutality. This has made a huge impact in the school. It made me think and see how this event made many people join forces, and how, as high school students, we can take a step and improve the world for ourselves. Slowly, I stand up and start reading and make my voice as clear and loud as I can and make sure that they know I am with them.

Mariela Bueno

If You Don’t Stand for Something…

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Hillary and Christian

If a Book Were a Song

In this inventive response to All American Boys, Ricardo creates an instrumental song that captures the emotional tone of the novel.

Ricardo Perez Gonzalez

Rashad and Reality

Safety is an issue causing shock and fear within communities. Rashad gets brutally beaten by Officer Paul, just like most teens are constantly getting attacked by officers. Rashad knew how to react when being attacked by an officer; however, most kids don’t know how. When Rashad was being attacked by Officer Paul, he felt hopeless and alone. There was nobody there who was willing to help him. In reality, teenagers tend to feel more pain and fright when being attacked, since they know nobody will have the courage to stand up and help.

Rashad was falsely accused of robbery and resisting arrest. To make matters worse, he was sent to the hospital with severe injuries. Although Rashad started to feel hopeless, like he might not survive, that didn’t stop him from fighting for his life. Since he was bodyslammed to the ground multiple times, he was lucky to survive such a brutal attack. So many bodyslams like those can cause severe internal bleeding in the brain or a concussion, which can sadly lead to death. Teenagers fight for survival when being harshly attacked by officers. Many teens risks their lives every time they step out of their homes, and many families get heartbroken by loss of a family member.

Gisel Hdz

Character Study

Axel Ramirez

A Collapse of Justice

Jennifer Castillo and Yolanda Morales

What Reality Is It?

I can’t believe what’s happening. I knew Paul. Well, kind of. I always saw him with that white kid, Quin? He seemed like a nice guy, but what they’re saying is way different than what his looks makes me think. I couldn’t believe what the people were saying. My parents say Paul is a respectable white man who was helping out his community and the black kid, Rashaad, was in the wrong. I believed them until I saw the video. It looked too real to be faked, and the hits he took in the video do line up with what his friends are saying. But why? I asked my parents, but they responded with the same thing. My mom said that she had talked with Paul’s mom and she said that all of this was a misunderstanding, that her Paul could not be capable of something like that. My mom says I shouldn’t be around the colored kids because they’re trouble. Something is still gnawing at me, and I can’t shake it off. I’m starting to question a lot of the things I’m being told. Most are the same things: “Those black kids are to no good. Paul had a reason to do what he did.” I do not believe what the people around me are saying because what I have seen and heard in school is making me see that what my parents are saying is not true. But that means I’m going against what my parents are saying. What should I do? Do what I feel is right, or do what everyone else is saying?

Samantha Amaya

Shots Ring Out

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Bryan Osorio

Traveling Back in Time

This story takes place in Virginia during the Civil War (near the end). Cameron is a sixteen-year-old black male who has been living in the south for most of his life. Now that the Thirteenth Amendment has been ratified, he is now considered a free man. But the white folks still control and limit the movements of the freedmen.

Cameron is excited to use his new freedoms and decides to put them into action. His close family and friends tell him to be cautious, but he doesn’t think it’s going to be a big issue and he leaves. In the streets, white people give him nasty looks and keep their distance from him. This doesn’t come as a surprise to him; he’s always been treated that way.

A week after the Thirteenth Amendment has been put in place, everything starts to fall apart. African Americans are being treated with so much disrespect, it’s like they are slaves again. Cameron doesn’t like this at all and decides to stand up for his people. It’s time for someone to step up and earn the rights they deserve. His family doesn’t like the idea. They prefer to stay down and go with the flow until something happens. But Cameron is sick and tired of being treated differently just because of his skin color. He’s going to do something no matter what happens to him.

He plans for days and still doesn’t know what to do. He decides to make a protest. He just needs people who are willing to join him on this dangerous mission. A few days later, everything is set up. Cameron and a few people go out into the streets and start protesting. White people everywhere are terrified. They think that African Americans are trying to take over, so they call the cops.

The cops are quick to take action. They immediately take out their batons and start beating the protesters. Everything happens so quickly that people don’t know how to react. African Americans have been powerless in the south. They know that if they intervene in the fighting, they will be beaten too and they don’t want to take that chance. The beatings still go on for long minutes and people don’t like it anymore.

Cameron goes home and his family tries to convince him to stay and end the protests. He denies the request and continues fighting. The next day, he organizes another protest that will take place near the sheriff’s station two weeks later. This time they manage to get a permit from a judge who supports their cause but is afraid what the others will say. The judge gives them the permit and decides he needs to go somewhere else so he can continue to help.

After the first protest, more people decide to join in because Cameron tells them about the permit. They protest the second time, but it gets worse. Someone tips off the police that the protest will be happening, and the police want to end it quickly. They dispatch a bunch of policemen all over the area and arrest anyone they think was in the protest, which means anyone who is African American. They create a bunch of false charges against them that are dropped the next day just to keep them away.

Cameron is distant after this because he can’t believe someone he thought was a fighter could betray them. He realizes then that the protests have little effect on the law unless they cause a problem with the sheriff. He decides that instead of being in the area where the sheriff is, he will just go to the sheriff’s office with the others and protest there. He thinks this will cause a problem in the city that will be too big for people to ignore.

The next day, they decide to make a bunch of mini protests all over town that will all meet at the sheriff’s office. They know  someone will tell the police, but the police can’t stop all of the protests. They plan it for a month later, but still have a meeting about who will be where and what they are risking. No one disagrees with the idea and all say they will go to their assigned spots.

Once the day of the protest arrives, they decide to go, but Cameron’s family once again tries to stop them. They are frightened for his life, and beg him to stop and listen to them. He ignores them again and goes to lead his part of the protest. They continue through the city for an hour until he reaches the sheriff’s office, and then they realize that someone has betrayed them because, surrounding the sheriff’s office are a bunch of policemen. They have dogs that growl and bark at anyone passing by, but still Cameron will not give up.

He goes up to the policemen and starts chanting by himself. People looked at him like he is crazy and wonder if he is going to be able to leave unharmed. A lot of people snicker and laugh at him, knowing that something is going to happen. In the distance, you can hear the chants of the other groups who make it to the station. Out of nowhere, the judge that gave Cameron the permit steps out of the building with the sheriff and walks towards Cameron.

“Cameron, I suggest you take your group of protesters to go celebrate because I’ve got an agreement with the sheriff,” says the Judge. “Any cop who is deemed untrustworthy or has had complaints of biased actions towards anyone was placed in lower positions until they changed.”

Cameron doesn’t think this will change anything and neither do any of the other protesters. He walks towards the protesters, and they start to march around the building until they are heard. The cops are told to stand down and only use force if the protesters start to get violent. The sheriff walks over to the protesters and shouts into the crowd, “Enough!”

Everyone stares at him and then he starts talking. “We have heard your cries and have decided to act. From now on, there will be no more beatings or acts of hate in this city. We will now be a border state between the North and the South.” Everyone is shocked by the words spoken by the sheriff.

The judge then speaks up: “While the protests have been going on, I have gone to the states above and below us and asked them to allow us to be a border state between them. They will now have more people moving here and will have more control over business, but I think that it is worth allowing people to live here freely. Anyone who thinks that is horrible can go to the state below us, and anyone who thinks that it is not enough can move to the north.”

People look around and someone yells, “When will this start?” The judge states that it is to start in six months.

These are the worst six months the state has ever seen. There are still protests and forced labor still occurs as the result of manipulating the law. After six months, there are fewer protests since there isn’t much they can do anymore. The citizens of the city feel proud they helped cause a change and start to unite more in different aspects. There is still segregation and hate towards those with different colored skin, but Cameron feels proud of his actions.

After the war, they find out who ratted them out about the protest. It was Cameron’s family, trying to keep him safe from the police in town. He eventually forgives them and finds the love of his life at one of the protests. He spends the rest of his days with her. He is remembered by the people of the city and becomes an honored person in the community.

Eduardo M. and Diana R.

Write Wild: The Demon Girl

2 Mar
Eighth-grader Keziah Myers joined us last month for our very first Write Wild! workshop at the peaceful and rustic Writing Barn. Surrounded by trees and quiet and deer wandering the periphery, we spent the morning exploring the art of storytelling — how to think about characters, force them into problematic situations, and keep our readers on the edge of their seats. Keziah’s story was anything but rustic! And all the better for it. Here, she offers an excerpt of the story she created that day, ” The Demon Girl.” There’s plenty of drama going on behind the scenes in this tale, as the narrator seems to have fingers in many pies (and a few bottles).
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The Demon Girl

– an excerpt
Diana’s drinking glasses shattered when she growled. She really wished they wouldn’t do that. It was a pain to clean up the shards. Not to mention that she had to replace her glasses often. And, of course, if Martini, her cat, was in the kitchen when they exploded, he would bolt out of there and claw his way up her back to sit on her shoulder. So yeah, Diana tried not to growl.
It was hard because she really didn’t like yelling too much either. Yelling splintered all the wood in her flat. But… yelling didn’t run the risk of shattering her shot glasses. Because, really, with all the complications the demons had been making, she needed a drink every now and then. She normally had these after a failed negotiation with some big name down there. She really wished she could have them during, but the demons didn’t like it very much.
It was ironic, she would muse (normally over a cup of coffee or a shot of whiskey), that people thought drinking was a devil’s game. They actually hated it. Of course, not that there weren’t guys down there (there was only one lady who had powers she wanted, and Diana didn’t have the money to get to Scandinavia) who couldn’t drink her under the table, but those guys, the ones who she could negotiate with in a bar, they wanted things from her. Things she wasn’t willing to give. Yeah. Things were complicated.
Keziah Myers
Murchison Middle School, 8th Grade

Forrest Preece Young Authors Award

15 Nov

Forrest Preece (middle) with award-winners Jason Luo (left) and Nitya Ganesh (right).

Each year, Forrest Preece and his wife, Linda Ball, honor two young writers from our Badgerdog Creative Writing Summer Camp and recognize their work at our Illumine gala. Forrest and Linda read through a stack of several dozen impressive poems and stories written by our summer campers and somehow make a very difficult decision — choosing which two pieces will win the prize. (One award is given in the elementary-age category, and one to middle- and high-school students.)

This year, Forrest and Linda chose Nitya Ganesh’s poem “Joy” and Jason Luo’s poem “Fearless,” which are included here. This year’s runners-up are Keerthanyaa Arun for her poem “Meant to Be” and Kate Hirschfeld for her poem “The Kinds of People.” You can enjoy their work below. All winners receive a cash prize provided by Forrest and Linda. Both Nitya and Jason read their poems at the Illumine gala on Friday, November 11 — to much applause and fanfare!

Nitya told us it was an honor to receive this award. “I am grateful to my parents for providing me this wonderful opportunity at the Badgerdog Camp. I also promised my mom that I will thank her when I get any award, for always keeping my pencils sharp and ready for me. P.S. My mom did remind me about the last part.” Nitya also wanted to thank her instructor, Katie McClendon, “for encouraging me to try harder and showing me that writing is cool and fun.”

Congratulations to these four incredible and inspiring writers! And our heartfelt thanks to Forrest and Linda for their continued support of this special honor, one of few that recognizes young writers in our community.

Cecily Sailer
Library Foundation Programs Manager

Linda Ball and Forrest Preece with Nitya and her mom and dad.

Linda Ball and Forrest Preece with Nitya and her mom and dad.

Joy

Creeping
behind all the
sadness,
letting your anger
drift away like a
flowing stream,
letting your
depression scurry
away like a squirrel
with a nut,
shining through all the the
darkness like the
sun behind the clouds,
shining its way
through,
like the moon
in a dark sky floating
in the night
like a cupcake
behind plates
and plates
of broccoli,
when you have
it, joy spreads
like butter on
toast.

Nitya Ganesh
Forrest Preece Award Winner (Grades 3-6)

Fearless

The miniscule creature lays sprawled before my eyes,
its tissue paper wings extending awkwardly to both sides
of its fragile, emerald-dotted back
grounded on my palm.

Its small frame was etched with the exhaustion
of maintaining
her delicate,
brittle,
rapid-fire
soul.

But her eyes were alive with a different inferno.
In her dark eyes streaked the spark
of the insistence
to survive,
fearless
against all odds,
against all obstacles,
against the volatile world that doubted her so.
In her dark eyes streaked the spark
of the defiant hummingbird.

Jason Luo
Forrest Preece Award Winner (Grades 7-12)

Meant To Be

Sadly and slowly, the blue dolphin swims
through the deep blue sea.
As if it were meant to be.
The dolphin longs to feel that large, tall tree.
As if it were meant to be.
Every time I see the dolphin,
its eyes look like they are filled with pleas.
As if it were meant to be.
I long to see the dolphin happy,
so I bring it out to see the world it needs to see.
As if it was meant to be.
It looks at me, its eyes now filled with glee.
As if it was meant to be.

Keerthanyaa Arun
Forrest Preece Young Author Award Runner-Up (Grades 3-6)

The Kinds of People

Let’s go back
to when the days were counted not in numbers but in discoveries.
Small fingers outstretched to the sky, trying to get a grasp on this world
one experience at a time.
Asking questions without answers,
your favorite word was always “Why?”
Punctuated with intensely curious eyes,
your head cocked slightly to the side,
expecting a response even when there wasn’t one to give.
Minds full of fairy dust,
wide eyes of wanderlust,
never knowing what life had in store for us.

Back to when you had perpetually paint-stained hands,
dirt under your fingernails,
hair tangled by the wind,
mud stains on your new dress.
Don’t tell Mom, but you always liked it better that way anyway,
said it reminded you of chocolate milk.
And everyone knows there’s nothing on this earth better than chocolate milk.

Back to when we gazed at the stars so long our eyes themselves began to twinkle.
We took to staring contests during the day to share our galaxies.
We woke up early to watch the sun paint the sky like a canvas.
Call us crazy, but we thought it beat Cartoon Network any day.
We searched the sky for the Big Dipper and Orion’s Belt.
They were the only constellations we knew,
but the way our eyes lit up when we saw them
made them the only ones we needed.

Back to when wonder was our only motive.
We dove in headfirst not because we had courage,
but because we didn’t know to be scared yet.

Back to when we rolled the windows down just to taste the wind,
and daydreaming was a common pastime, not a waste of it.
When we were more than just people…
We were heroes and wizards and pirates and royalty.
We soared through storm clouds and danced with dandelions.
Our heartbeats were the only music we ever needed
and every raindrop was proof that magic really did exist.
Bedtime stories didn’t seem so far off.

What happened between then and now?
How did magic become merely a device for Disney to make a profit?
And four-leaf clovers became so rare we stopped even bothering to look?
We stay up late but keep the curtains closed to the cosmos.
They say money can’t buy happiness, but it’s starting to replace it.
We shy away from opportunity because we finally learned what fear is.
We closed our fists and turned our eyes from the skies.
Your favorite word became “because.”

Except for a few.
Some people never stopped daydreaming.
They still wish on dandelions, though some may call them childish.
They wander forests in their free time because their curiosity surpasses their fears.
They smile at the sky simply because they can
and aren’t afraid to get wet if it means dancing in the rain.
They seek out the beauty in the extraordinary and the mundane.
They live to find stories and never stop looking.
Most of all, they still ask questions,
only now they search for the answers on their own.

Kate Hirschfeld
Forrest Preece Young Author Award Runner-Up (Grades 7-12)