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Isabella Swenson

United States

I repeatedly read Harry Potter, Heroes of Olympus, The Land of Stories, Laura Ingalls, Rose Wilder, or Anne of Green Gables. When I'm not reading, I'm writing, singing, playing the piano, violin, or flute. I also love pretending I can dance, LOL.

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Isabella Swenson (United States) reviewed:

Alone

FREE WRITING

I can totally relate to you, and I really love how you pieced this together. It makes for a great read. I really love this piece of work. Keep writing!

3 days ago

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Isabella Swenson (United States) reviewed:

Beautiful Children

FREE WRITING

I absolutely adore these descriptions. Giving the seasons a profile and their own characteristics was really creative. Spring was my favorite to read the description of. Keep writing!

3 days ago

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Isabella Swenson (United States) liked Chapter Thirty One: I Learned Three Things by Isabella Swenson (United States)

4 days ago

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Isabella Swenson (United States) published:

Chapter Thirty One: I Learned Three Things

FREE WRITING

Lessons on Our Poster (So Far)

  "Students," Mrs. Ramirez shouts. It's Thursday morning, and everyone is working on their community projects. Or, at least, we are supposed to be working on them. My group is, but most groups are doing more talking than working. Everyone looks at our teacher.

  "I have noticed several heavy procrastinators amongst us, and I am giving you a warning: This project must be completely put together by this time next week, when you and...

4 days ago

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Isabella Swenson (United States) liked Foreign Languages by Isabella Swenson (United States)

8 days ago

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Isabella Swenson (United States) published:

Foreign Languages

PROMPT: The Unknown

I don't know how to sort out my own feelings.
My own heart is a library filled with information in foreign languages.
I guess that the language of love is not one that I speak.
Every once in a while, I come upon a little piece that I understand, but rarely does it help me very much.
Mostly, the things that I can sort out are as useful
as when I hear an interaction between two Spanish people, and all...

8 days ago

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Isabella Swenson (United States) liked Chapter Thirty: I Learned Three Things by Isabella Swenson (United States)

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Isabella Swenson (United States) published:

Chapter Thirty: I Learned Three Things

FREE WRITING

Lessons on What The Bozo Looks Like

  "Why is your face so pale?" Mom asks. We are in the elevator, on the way to the car, and Mom is peering over at me with concern. The elderly lady who is in the elevator with us looks at me, too, and I stare at my shoes. 

  I mumble something, and Mom says, all annoyed, "What?" 

  "I'M FINE!" Wow, that came out loudly. Heat ripples over me, and I have...

8 days ago

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Isabella Swenson (United States) liked Untitled Story That I May Or May Not Write Out by Isabella Swenson (United States)

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Isabella Swenson (United States) published:

Untitled Story That I May Or May Not Write Out

FREE WRITING

Holidays are hard for me. I never had a mother and father to take me trick-or-treating at Halloween. I never had parents to force me to pose for cheesy photos at Christmas-time. I never had anyone to put me in a cute little dress and send me for an egg-hunt at Grandma's when Easter rolled around. Don't even get me started on Mother's or Father's Day. During these times of years, I was always in some group home, with a...

8 days ago

Published Work

Chapter Thirty One: I Learned Three Things

Lessons on Our Poster (So Far)

  "Students," Mrs. Ramirez shouts. It's Thursday morning, and everyone is working on their community projects. Or, at least, we are supposed to be working on them. My group is, but most groups are doing more talking than working. Everyone looks at our teacher.

  "I have noticed several heavy procrastinators amongst us, and I am giving you a warning: This project must be completely put together by this time next week, when you and your group will give a presentation to the class. So all of you slackers, pick up the pace! All you hard workers, good job, and keep going! That is all."

  Raina groans. "My brain feels like it is about to split open, I swear-" 

  "No swearing," Mrs. Ramirez sings out. She is always eavesdropping on her daughter. The class laughs.

  Raina rolls her eyes. "... Uh, Jake, have you figured out how much-"

  "Yes." Jake confirms. He shows Raina a spreadsheet...

The Unknown

Foreign Languages

I don't know how to sort out my own feelings.
My own heart is a library filled with information in foreign languages.
I guess that the language of love is not one that I speak.
Every once in a while, I come upon a little piece that I understand, but rarely does it help me very much.
Mostly, the things that I can sort out are as useful
as when I hear an interaction between two Spanish people, and all that I can pick out is, "Si, gracias!" 
I need to learn the language of love, 
because life is awfully confusing when you don't speak it.

 

  

Chapter Thirty: I Learned Three Things

Lessons on What The Bozo Looks Like

  "Why is your face so pale?" Mom asks. We are in the elevator, on the way to the car, and Mom is peering over at me with concern. The elderly lady who is in the elevator with us looks at me, too, and I stare at my shoes. 

  I mumble something, and Mom says, all annoyed, "What?" 

  "I'M FINE!" Wow, that came out loudly. Heat ripples over me, and I have a feeling that I'm not so pale anymore. 

  Mom looks taken aback, but she just gives the old woman an apologetic look and shrugs, like Teenagers, am I right? With all of their crazy mood swings... 

  
 But the thing is, THIS 'mood swing' is perfectly rational. I'm freaking out, and I have an actual reason. Dad has been dead for less than two monthsand Mom has a new boyfriend already, and before I know it, I'll have...

Untitled Story That I May Or May Not Write Out

Holidays are hard for me. I never had a mother and father to take me trick-or-treating at Halloween. I never had parents to force me to pose for cheesy photos at Christmas-time. I never had anyone to put me in a cute little dress and send me for an egg-hunt at Grandma's when Easter rolled around. Don't even get me started on Mother's or Father's Day. During these times of years, I was always in some group home, with a bunch of other foster kids. Why? Because my father, whoever he is, left after he impregnated my mother, and then my mother gave me up after I was born. Lots of babies get good homes with loving parents right away. Me? I'm still waiting. And it's been almost fourteen years.

Chapter Twenty Nine: I Learned Three Things

Lessons on What Mom Does in Full Mom-Mode

  I put myself on auto-pilot this morning, and forced myself to trudge to school. I can't decide whether I'm more mad at Mom for completely forgetting about her children (me and Beck)  and going on a date, leaving us alone and afraid for hours, or for trying to make it up to us by taking us to meet the bozo who made all of this trouble for us. 

  "Oh, you are still mad at me, are you?" Mom growled me this morning. She's mad at me, like I'm upset with her for no reason. So that's another reason to be angry with her.

  I go through the motions of doing my school work, but don't really wake up until lunch. Raina and I hit the library, as we did yesterday.

  "Let's work on the speech," I say, feigning cheerfulness. 

  Raina frowns. "You can drop the act, Melanie. I know that something's...

Chapter Twenty Eight: I Learned Three Things

Lessons on What to Do When You Get Thrown Off Balance

  It's eight thirty. Mom still hasn't come home, but my little brother and I brush our teeth and put on our pajamas, like everything is just fine. 

 "We should get to bed," I find myself saying. But it's a hollow statement. Beckett and I both stand here, not doing anything. 

  I don't know how much time has passed, but suddenly, Beckett whispers, "What's that?" 

  I tense up, and try to listen. There's a scraping sound, coming from the front door! Someone is unlocking the door. Beckett and I rush into the living room, and Mom is standing there! I am so relieved; my mother is, in fact, not dead.

  "MOM!" Beckett screams. He runs up to her and gives her a hug.

  "What are you two doing up so late?" Mom asks, as though she actually can't think of a logical explanation. 

  I cross my arms. "Ha, ha. Where...

Society

Society says that acne is ugly and should be covered, that girls should have symmetrical faces. I have limited zits and pimples, and I am grateful, but I have been taught to hate my slightly crooked nose and my different eye shapes.

Society is just fine with all sorts of hair, but I don't meet all off the requirements that long hair has been tagged with: I'm told it's so long and thick and pretty, but it's still not good enough. Perfect tips? I have split ends. And people I know and love tell me all the time that the way I part my hair looks bad, and that I need to start putting more stuff in my hair, that I need to learn how to do something with my hair. 

Society would mostly approve of my legs; Society likes thigh gaps. But my legs aren't nicely tanned, and I have scars and bruises on my legs. And I can never wear...

Chapter Twenty Seven: I Learned Three Things

Lessons on Where Mom Might Be

  When I get home from school today, I settle down at the kitchen counter with a sheet of notebook paper in front of me. I have a speech to write! Mom isn't home. She doesn't get off of work until five. I put my freshly sharpened pencil to the paper- And that pencil is a miracle. Finding a nice pencil this far into the school year is an actual rarity- But I can't think of one thing to say. 

  I should be your ASB president because

  
No, no... I erase that. I don't want to come off as too brash. 

  I would like to be your ASB president because

  
Is that good? Or would this be better? 

  I am running for ASB president because

  
I stare at my stupid page of different phrases. I am such a poor decision maker! Both the second and third speech-opener I came...

Child Narrator

How Do The Babies Get In There?

  Mommy took Lilly to play outside one day, when Felix was just a little baby, thoughtfully watching Lilly play soccer on the front lawn. Daniel wasn't even born yet; He was on the way. Lilly had a lot of questions about that, and some mixed ideas about where Felix had come from, and where Daniel was now.

   There was a storybook about some white bird called a stork. It carried cloths with babies in them and dropped the babies on doorsteps or down chimneys, or something. Lilly didn't see how such a drop didn't hurt about babies. She'd heard about people who "must have been dropped as babies", which apparently made them stupid. "Bad parenting," people grumble about the people who got dropped as babies. Lilly didn't see how being dropped was the parents' fault; People were stupid all because of the storks! 

  But then there was Patti, a girl from school, who said that babies come from...

Chapter Twenty Six: I Learned Three Things

Lessons on My Boring, Boring Computer Class

  Mrs. Ramirez is sitting at her desk when I walk into Home Room,  and she is arguing with Raina about math. Or, rather, Raina argues, and Mrs. Ramirez obliges her. Nothing unusual there! The 'cool' kids are hanging out in their usual corner, farthest from the door. A few other students are sitting at their desks, playing a game on their computers or texting someone on their cell phones. 

  I head over to my seat, and set my backpack down. Jake takes his headphones off and says, "So, how was your vacation?"

  We chat for a minute, and Raina comes over and joins us, until the bell rings. Mrs. Ramirez stands at the front of the classroom and delivers the morning announcements. (Meadow Ridge Middle School won the Friday evening soccer game against Fairview! Interested in horses? Join the high school Equestrian Team and make some life-long friends, both of the horse and...

Chapter Twenty Five: I Learned Three Things

Lessons on What I'm Guilty About

  A while ago, there was this big hurricane on the news. I remember thinking how strange it is how hundreds of people die, hundreds of people lose everything, yet for everyone else, life just... goes on. Even now, with my own hurricane (taking the form of Jonas Blick), life goes on. I go to school on Monday, like I'm not carrying around my awful secret with me. And it isn't even my secret. It's Mom's. And she doesn't want us to know about it yet. Which makes me kind of guilty, because I DO know about it.

   Lot's of things are making me guilty lately. When I was doing laundry yesterday, I discovered that I still had one of Mabelle's shirts that she'd lent me, back when we were friends. I thought about giving it back to her, but honestly, approaching her makes my insides twist into knots. I'm afraid of her reaction. 
...

Chapter Twenty Four: I Learned Three Things

Lessons on the New Man

  Like in all of the books when something bad is coming up, there is rain pouring from the gloomy sky today. Everyone at camp wakes up on the last day at camp to grey skies and puddles on the ground, and our last swim-session is cancelled. Great. But, we still have a good morning. It's super sad though, when we are all loaded onto our respective buses at noon, and have to say good-bye to everyone. Luckily, my best friends are on the bus with me, and so I don't really miss anyone in particular. I sit with Callie and Lilly on the ride home, with rain pattering on the windows. 

  Everyone is chatting loudly the whole ride home, reliving our week.

  "Remember when Bella fell out of her canoe?" one girl asks.

  "And our silly-string fight?" adds another girl. 

  "I still have silly-string in my hair," laughs Raina. 

  "Remember how Melanie got us...

Chapter Twenty Three: I Learned Three Things

  Lessons on NEW S'MORE COMBINATIONS!!!

  The plan is simple. We wriggle into our pajamas, get into bed, and when Ms. Hawthorne comes in at ten to check on us, she sees that the lights are out, and everyone is sleeping in their respective bunks. 

  The next morning, everyone slowly stirs, bleary-eyed, when it's time to get up. But everyone is happy. 

  "Last night was so fun," Lilly beams as she straightens up her bunk. 

  "I can't believe no one caught us," giggles a girl named Marie. 

  "Melanie, you are a genius!" crows Raina. "I can't wait to see Ms. Hawthorne today!" 

  "I bet no one has ever said that before," Callie chuckles. 

  "Won't Ms. Hawthorne be so mad?" says Alyssa, her eyes sparkling. 

  We don't get to see Ms. Hawthorne all day, but in the meantime, with the Orange team, I have loads of fun. We go canoeing in the lake, we go to the stable and...

Chapter Twenty Two: I Learned Three Things

(Further) Lessons on My New Friends

  It's dinner time, and I have joined up with Cabin Ten again, and dinner is super fun, now that I have two special friends to sit with, Callie and Lilly. Over macaroni and cheese, we have long discussions about school, our families, and camp. I learn that... 

1. Like me, Callie has a younger brother with a name starting with a (My brother is Beckett, hers is Braydon).
2. Lilly has an older sister and brother, AND a younger sister and brother!
3. Callie is a year ahead of everyone in math; she is already in Algebra! ("That makes one of us who is good at math," Lilly snorted.) 

  Lilly is in the middle of an animated story about the time her older sister snuck out of the house with a boy: "...and then, my mom came into my room and was like, 'Lilly, where is Gabby?' And I was like, 'uh......

Hey, Guys!

Hey, guys!

  I am very sorry that I haven't been writing lately. Last weekend, I had some very scary family business, and I was just not in the mood to write, and right after that, I had to go on a trip. I just got back late last night. I plan on getting things back on track soon. Thanks for reading! 

Chapter Twenty-One: I Learned Three Things

Lessons on My New Friends

  "Ugh, I hate this," complains Kiley Brice, one of the three girls I'm trying to decide how to approach now. She is wearing short-shorts with a maroon crop-top and a cute pair of lace-up boots. It looks like something Mabelle would wear.

  I suddenly remember that Kiley actually had been at Mabelle's party, even though she isn't really a part of Mabelle's group. She isn't on Mabelle's level on the social ladder at school- The one that most people deny the existence of, but it's always there.The social system at my school kind of reminds me of sports; like, the 'A' Team, and the 'B' team. Mabelle and her group have put themselves at the top, as the 'A' clique, and the wannabes are the 'B' clique. Once upon a time, I had been at the top of the social ladder... Then I realized how much better I felt on the firm, solid ground! This...

Chapter Twenty: I Learned Three Things

Lessons on My First Morning in the Cabin (Very minor notes, though!)

  I guess that I managed to fall asleep, because next thing I know, I'm waking up. Sunlight is shining through the filmy purple curtains over the windows. Wait, my room doesn't have curtains... Oh, right, I'm at this camp. Several girls are scuffling around the cabin, getting ready for the day. I roll out of bed. Time for a new day!

  A girl named Kayla is sitting on her bunk, running a brush through her hair and chatting with another girl. Evelina just came out of the bathroom and is washing her hands at the sink, where a girl named Kristy is trying to do her makeup. Nina and several other girls are in the showers. 

  I put on some clothes, and while I'm pulling on a pair of socks, I hear a cluster of girls whispering excitedly, Raina among them. I don't really know what...

Chapter Nineteen: I Learned Three Things

Everyone headed to their cabins around nine thirty, and us Cabin Ten girls became a flurry of people wriggling into pajamas and brushing their teeth. Someone, a girl with curly hair named Alyssa, who isn't from my school, suggests a game of Truth-or-Dare, and the idea is warmly agreed to by the rest of the cabin. 

  "Truth or dare?" Alyssa asks a girl in a blue T-shirt whose name I don't know. 

  The girl leans forward. "Dare."

  Alyssa's eyes sparkle. "I dare you to..."

  A middle-aged woman marches into our cabin suddenly, interrupting our game. 

  A few of the girls suck in their breath. A couple even dive under their covers, as if this woman, whoever she is, is scary. 

  "It is ten o'clock," she announces in a shrill voice, reminding me of Mrs. Ingham back at school. "But I see your are lights on, and no one is asleep." She glares at Nina. "Explanation, please?" 

  "I...

Chapter Eighteen: I Learned Three Things

Lessons on What We Did Today

  I expected Mom to have more questions about the camp. Isn't it too late for you to get signed up? Do I need to sign anything? What do you need to bring? But instead, when I told Mom about it, she smiled tiredly and said, "That sounds like a great way to spend your spring break." And then she got up and went to bed. 

  So here I am, at 6:30 in the morning, at SCHOOL, wearing a stuffed backpack and clutching a pillow to my stomach in the parking lot, standing next to Raina. Lot's of other girls are here, too, and not just from eighth grade. Raina was right when she said that a lot of people would be going. A school bus pulls into the parking lot, and we are loaded onto the bus. About a third of the girls on this bus fall asleep- it IS early, after all-...

Princess Karma

  You have probably been told, ‘treat others the way you wish to be treated, or else karma will get you for it,’ but did you know the story behind this?

The story goes like this:
Hot was the sun and warm was the day
In the large city of Abdul Hai.
Sat in a litter was an Arabian girl
Who wore on her finger a single pearl
And was draped in silks and fur.
Proud the servants carrying her were!
For she was the princess of Abdul Hai
And she was one who always had her way.
When she said stop that day,
Stop the servants did, for what a sight she saw!
There was a merchant, selling his wares,
The usual herbs and apples and pears;
When a boy leading a goat came up,
Asking for some water in a cup.
The merchant at once dismissed the boy;
And here the princess said,
Stop!
You selfish man, I...

Chapter Seventeen: I Learned Three Things

Lessons on What I Learned From School Today

  The school day is over, thank GOODNESS. Mabelle sent me so many dirty looks during the day, that if I earned a dollar every time she gave me one of those looks, I'd be rich. I wonder if she actually is angry with me, or if she just likes to pretend to be angry, to make me upset? Oh, joy. There she is now, standing under a tree with a few of her friends. I watch them for a few minutes, giggling and chattering, before heading home. It isn't raining anymore, but it is still cold out. I decide to stop at the Corner Cafe, this little brick building that serves excellent hot chocolate and blueberry muffins. I treat myself, and while I am waiting for my goodies, Marlee comes in. 

  "Hi, Marlee," I say. "I've been wanting to talk to you!" 

  She smiles, though it seems a bit guarded....

Chapter Sixteen: I Learned Three Things

Lessons on Our ASB Campaign

  "Hi, Melanie,'' Nick says. "What's new?"

  I tell him about my talk with Raina and Jake in homeroom. "Do you have any news?" I ask.

  Nick clears his throat. "Yeah, uh... Mabelle... isn't very happy..." 

  I wait, but he doesn't elaborate, so I shrug, and log into my computer.

  While Nick isn't very talkative this morning, Raina has plenty to say, in science class. "In primary school," Raina begins, haltingly, like this is the first time she's told her story. "I moved here, as a fourth grader. Mabelle befriended me, the way she befriended you. I was..." Raina stopped, and tried to think of a good word. ".. Blinded, I guess, by her flattery. I thought that we were best friends." She doesn't finish her story. Today turns out to not be the day for that. I follow her gaze to see where she is looking. 

  "Why is Mabelle in here?" I whisper. "She...

Chapter Fifteen: I Learned Three Things

Lessons on Who is on My Side 

  Monday morning is cold and drizzly. I put on Mom's black windbreaker before heading out to walk to school. I wonder how Mabelle and her friends will behave around me? I find out right away. Mabelle, Jordyn, and Addy turn away from me when I walk past them in the hallway. Well, that's better than publicly humiliating me by screaming at me, in my opinion! When I walk into homeroom class, Brittney and Aiden abruptly stop talking, and gave me a spiteful look before whispering to each other. I'm glad that I'm not doing my community project with them! Thank you, Mrs. Ramirez, for picking the groups for us! 

 My group dives right into our work. Raina is doing all of this research on her computer, and I am designing our presentation. We have a set budget, and Jake is rapidly punching numbers into a calculator and scribbling onto a piece of paper.
...

Chapter Fourteen: I Learned Three Things

Lessons on Everything that Happened today.    

  Time slows down as Mabelle strolls towards the snack table, in her short pink dress, her hair falling in soft waves down her back, looking totally gorgeous. Her friends walk by her side, listening to her talking, and laughing at what she has to say. She smiles broadly- Then, she sees me. She stops talking, and her smile slides off of her face. Her eyes narrow. Oh, boy.

  Next to me, Marlee mumbles something along the lines of: "Dude, you're on your own..." before disappearing into the crowd, leaving me alone. Thanks, Marlee. I put on a brave face, and mentally practice my lines. Mabelle, I am so sorry. I was super mean. I will totally ask on Monday if I can get my schedule changed! Friends? 

"Why did you come?" Mabelle seethes. Her group glares at me like I just killed the DJ and smashed the music booth to bits;...

Chapter Thirteen: I Learned Three Things

Lessons on What Comes to Mind in Moments of Panic

  Mabelle's house has all of it's lights off, and there are glow-in-the-dark decorations everywhere! Wow, her mom went all out! I have to admit, it is pretty cool. Everyone's face is smothered with makeup that is illuminating their faces in the dark, both girls and boys, and I am, like, the only person who apparently didn't know that such makeup existed. I don't see Mabelle anywhere, and I can't hear her talking; the music is being played so loud. I catch sight of the source of the loud music; a real, legit DJ stand in Mabelle's living room, with this guy jamming out behind the booth. 

  Everyone is laughing and talking and dancing. No one approaches me. No one knows I'm here. I am feeling pretty awkward; I am the only one here, as far as I can tell, who isn't hanging out with a cluster of people, or...

Chapter Twelve: I Learned Three Things

Lessons on Dad's Philosophy

  I didn't sleep well last night. My stomach hurt, but not because I ate something that disagreed with me, or something. I'm too worried about Mabelle's party today. I mean, she is probably furious with me! What if I get there, and she doesn't let me in? Everyone would see, and I'd become the laughing-stock of Mabelle's group! Ugh. I need something to get my mind off of Mabelle. I roll out of bed, and trudge into the kitchen. Mom is asleep. She has been sleeping in since Dad died. 

  I wander around the kitchen, and my eyes fall on the calendar stuck on the fridge. In pink Sharpie, Mabelle's birthday fills up today's square. The calendar is new. See, Aunt Mandy came over again the other day, while Beckett and I were at school. She put the calendar on the fridge and left us a note instructing us to put important dates on that calendar...

Chapter Eleven: I Learned Three Things

   Lessons on My 9th Grade Electives

Mabelle's birthday party is this weekend. Mom snaps out of her glum, tired attitude long enough to take me to the mall to get my hair cut. And wouldn't you know it, but Mabelle's whole group is there! I duck into the nearest shop and pray that they don't see me. It's not that I think my mom is embarrassing; it's that the group would find it weird and MAKE me embarrassed. 

   "Melanie, what are you doing?" Mom demands. I watch Mabelle's clique wander into a store and come out of my hiding spot. 

  "Sorry, Mom..." 

  The next day at school, the day before Mabelle's party, Mabelle and a couple of other girls are chatting in the hallway before homeroom. I stash my lunch into my locker and head over to them.

  Mabelle greets me warmly. "Hey, Mel!" 

  "Hi," I say. "What are you guys talking about?"

  "Oh, we were talking about...

Chapter Ten: I Learned Three Things

Lessons on What I've Baked this Week

  Math class. Some career counselor lady is in here, giving us a lecture on our futures and whatever. Mabelle and I are passing notes- See, since that argument the other day, we've made peace, but I've still been uneasy. 

  This is so boring! Mabelle writes. I don't need to answer all these dumb Q's about what I like! I already know what I want to be when I grow up!

  
I know right? I scribble.

  U could just write IKR, u know! 

  
I'm not that lazy! I don't mention that I didn't use 'IKR' is because I didn't know about that. 

 Mabelle knows, anyway. She snickers and mouths playfully, "you don't know anything!"

  I stick my tongue out at her.

  Mr. Noble and the career lady pass out papers. In her high-pitched voice, the career lady whines, "the paper you are being given is the first step to...

Chapter Nine: I Learned Three Things

Lessons on the Day 

  Today it happened. Mabelle and I got into a fight. We were in gym class, and she was gushing about some new album her favorite artists had released. "... I LOVE her songs, I mean, they are SO good!" She was saying as we ran around the track. 

  "They aren't bad," I said. "But her voice isn't very good. Kind of pitchy." 

  Mabelle looked at me as if I had slapped her, and stormed off. Oh, gosh, I should have just pretended to like that stupid singer, and we could have been partners in one-on-one basketball practice, but she went and was partners with Jordyn, leaving me to be partners with this really creepy boy who never talks, he just stares! I don't even know his NAME!

  I didn't get a chance to talk to Mabelle until we were changing in the locker room, after gym, and at first, she wouldn't talk to me, but...

Chapter Eight: I Learned Three Things

Lessons on Fashion DON'TS
 
  Since Mabelle has confessed her crush on Nick, I've seen just how giggly and blushing she is around him, or whenever his name is mentioned. One day, a few weeks after the sleepover at Mabelle's house, I have just stepped into homeroom class, and Mabelle, giggling crazily, comes scurrying in, Marlee at her side. Mabelle waves me into the crowded hallway, and whispers into my ear, "guess what? Guess what?" I know the signs by now. Whatever Mabelle is about to tell me, I know it has something to do with, ugh!- Nick. I despise that guy. He is always asking me in computer class if we can be friends, with his stupid puppy-dog eyes. I just ignore him. But, no matter how much I can't stand that guy, I don't let it interfere with how I feel about Mabelle. She is so nice to me, and we've gone to the mall a few...

Chapter Seven: I Learned Three Things

About an hour after I had arrived at Mabelle's house, Marlee shows up, and we watch a movie. They both wanted to watch this horror movie that had just come onto Netflix, but I'd seen enough commercials about it that told me all I needed to know- that movie is DOWNRIGHT terrifying! I hated to admit what a baby about scary movies I am, but Mabelle was very nice about it, and we watched a couple of sappy rom-coms instead, much to Marlee's distaste. Throughout the evening, that girl rolled her eyes so many times that I thought they might fall out! 

  Around ten o'clock, we went upstairs, put on our pajamas, and rolled out our sleeping bags. Mabelle was chattering the whole time- Sadly, more towards Marlee than me, so I kind of tuned out.

  .."And she was telling me that I would have to move to another seat, because it was MY fault, even though it wasn't, and...

Friendship Tweet

The Unpaid Therapists

  Best friends: The unpaid therapists. The cures for sadness, boredom, and anxiety. The main sources of laughter and fun and love. 

Chapter Six: I Learned Three Things

Lessons on First Impressions of Mabelle's House

  I have managed to make it through my first week at Meadow Ridge! I walk out of math class on Friday afternoon feeling triumphant, even though my math teacher sent me away with some math homework that I am NOT looking forward to doing.

  "When am I ever going to do problems like these?" Mabelle complains. We are walking to the Parent-Pickup parking Lot, where her mom is waiting for us. 

  "I know, right?" I laugh. "If I ever want to figure out how many animals are in a stupid barn, I'm not going to multiply 'g' by 4 and then add that to 'd' plus 2, I'd just count the stupid goats and the stupid ducks!"

  Mabelle chortles. "I saw this really funny math meme the other day: 'Dear math, I am not a therapist! Solve your own problems!'"  

  I laugh, even though I don't know what a meme is....

Chapter Five: I learned Three Things

Lessons on... Well... Not LESSONS, today... More like a List of People I'm mad at!!

  It's Tuesday. I'm in my sleepy, quiet computer class, I'm slowly pecking the 'f' and 'j' keys on this typing lesson on my computer. F... F... J... F... J... J...

  I lean back in my chair. This class is so boring. I listen to the sound of clicking keys from all over the classroom. My eyes land on the clock on the wall. It's moving so slowly! Suddenly, I feel something hit the back of my head. I turn around. That boy from lunch yesterday who had been tossing his food to all of Mabelle's friends is sitting behind me, smiling.  

  I blink. "Did you throw your, uh..." I search my area. "... pencil?" I pick it up, and give it to him. 

  "Aren't you that new girl?" He asks, accepting his pencil. 

  "Yes." 

  "What's your name?"

  So he didn't care enough...

Chapter Four: I learned Three Things

Lessons on Beckett's Day

  Okay, I know that Mom hasn't been coping since Dad's death, but THIS is ridiculous. I have just gotten home from my first day as an eighth grader at Meadow Ridge Middle School, and the bathroom is absurdly messy. It's a disaster zone. I HAVE to clean in up. Mom is such a neat freak that I know that she won't be able to refrain from coming in and finishing the job for me, convinced that I am not doing a good enough job. Sure enough, I hear her bedroom door creak open just minutes after I begin. Ha! Works like a charm, I think to myself smugly. Mom's tousled head pokes around the corner, dark circles under her eyes. Three, two one... I count in my head. 

  Mom speaks up. "Hi, honey... what are you doing?"

  "Cleaning up the bathroom," I say cheerfully. 

  Instead of taking over, as expected, Mom mumbles, "I've been...

Chapter Three: I learned Three Things

Lessons on Mabelle's Group

  Raina walked me to my computer class, and picked me up after forty uneventful minutes to bring me to Mr. Lara's class, for science.

  Wow, this guy likes science! Planets hanging from the ceiling, microscopes on every table, walls smothered with posters, a wire cage on Mr. Lara's desk, with an obese gerbil sitting inside, watching eighth graders come in. Mr. Lara is pretty chill; he set me up with a science group and told them to make sure that I was included in the project. Then I was checked off of his To-Do list, and sent off. 

  At first, no one in my group said anything. They just kind of looked at each other, like, 'great. We get the new kid.' Raina didn't say anything, either. The whole reason Mr. Lara put me in this group is because Raina is in it, because for whatever reason, ALL of the teachers adore Raina, even...

Chapter Two: I Learned Three Things

Lessons on Two Teachers and a Student

  Paranoid by the pancake fiasco, I made myself a checklist to make sure I had everything before heading out, down two flights of stairs, into the cold March morning. Mom had said to go left, and from there, the school would be easy to find. Sure enough, 'Meadows Ridge Middle School' was right at the end of the street;a big campus with brick buildings and pretty stone around the entries, with students flooding into the doors of various buildings. From where I was, I counted three, but I was sure that there were more. I walked into the one Mom had dragged me into the other day when she registered me here. I weaved through the crowd of students younger than me- sixth graders, I'm guessing- to the set of double doors. On the other side of them, it was much quieter. Offices usually are. 

  The same lady who had registered me...

Open Prompt

Chapter One: I Learned Three Things

   Lessons on Pancakes

Our new apartment is small; only two bedrooms. Mom will take one, obviously. I will take the other, and share it with Beckett. Sharing a room with my little brother isn't ideal, and I'm sure sharing a room with his big sister isn't a walk in the park for him, either, but it's just temporary, I keep telling myself. It's just temporary, I tell Beckett. 

  "What does that mean?" He asks. We are in our tiny bedroom, with our new bunkbed in the corner. My zebra-striped blankets and my lion Pillow-Pet are arranged neatly on the bottom bunk, which I took in order to appease Beckett. This is only temporary, anyway. I don't mind.

  "Temporary means that we aren't going to be living here forever," I tell my brother. "But, we SHOULD still make the best of how things are. What color should we paint the walls?"

  Beckett studies the drab brown walls. "I don't care,"...

Environmental Writing Competition 2018

Things of the Past

The Cisneys' owned, I believe, about 40 acres of beautiful, unblemished land. We didn’t come out here often, yet some of my most cherished childhood memories took place way out here, past the little red store, past scattered houses. Then, I remember that we would drive through a stretch of trees, and we’d would be in a clearing. Here my little sister and I would squeal with excitement- we were almost there! To our left, there was a field where horses grazed, with a road curving around it. We'd drive on this road, past the horse pasture on our left and the dairy farm to our right, and we'd be there, after what had seemed like an endless drive before that. How I miss that drive, now!
  The house wasn't much- it was tiny. There was a little matching brown garage besides the house.  I remember the three dog houses built into the garage. I liked to crawl inside of...

WILD

Why Did It Have To Be My Forest?

Why did it have to be my forest? 
I have lived here since I was born
in a mossy clearing 
with dandelions and tall rough grasses.
I waited patiently for my mother 
every day, in that mossy clearing.
She'd bound away each morning, 
and come back late in the afternoon.
I didn't have to see her big, liquid brown eyes
or her long, slender legs, or her soft, brown back
with the white splotches on it
or her white tail
or her delicate, twitching ears
to know that it was her. 
I knew my mother by the graceful, soft way
she moved through the grasses,
the way she breathed, even.
Then I grew, and left the clearing with her. 
And I never came back to that clearing,
for it turned out that
there was so much more to life
than that mossy clearing
with dandelions and tall rough grasses. 
The most astounding thing that I discovered
were the trees. 
They were...

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