We file into the benches in the grove next to the cabin. It is twilight, the sky streaked with pink and orange and purple. A campfire has been built in the pit next to the lake, and counselors are standing around it, some holding guitars. I grin at Emma, who has taken a seat next to her girlfriend Jessie. The counselors hand out songbooks and we take out flashlights. The pine trees are silhouetted against the sky and the lake, broken only by the sparks rising from the campfire. There is a canoe on the lake with two people in it, their outline visible through the trees. We begin to sing: everything from Elvis to John Denver to Ed Sheeran to original songs by the counselors. One song has the line "I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart," and Jessie and Emma gaze at each other. We sing Can't Help Falling In Love, during which the...
It was the middle of June, and the sweltering heat of summer was beginning to settle into the town. As time crept slowly but steadily towards the solstice, the days lengthened and the anticipation for the end of the school year grew. It was time for the first applications of sunscreen, the opening of the local pools, the signing of yearbooks, and the planning for hours of seemingly endless free time that would be looked back upon in wonder: where did the time go?
Yesterday I was assigned a video to watch regarding college applications, and there were a whole bunch of people talking about how their parents wanted them to have good jobs, but they wanted to be artists, writers, musicians. Some of them went into real estate or something instead, wasted ten years of their lives on something they didn't enjoy. Others worked odd jobs and volunteered doing what they loved until they were able to become what they wanted to be. You could see it in their faces how much happier the ones who chose to do what they wanted were, even if it involved sacrificing a steady job.
I'm an author, artist, musician, and actor. I've heard so many times that you can't make a living doing the things I enjoy.
"Writing is a hobby."
"Majoring in art is a waste of money."
"You can do music on the side and get a real job."
At this point, I say...
Sweet Spring is in the air, and with her scents
The sunlight beams its smile down from the sky.
We leave the trail and find a broken fence,
Its bars, like fallen trees, in grasses lie.
But look! A gap within the fence is found,
And past it, swaying fields of molten gold
Framed by tall trees, sprung from the fertile ground,
Which stand as straight and fair as soldiers bold.
We walk in awe through thick, untrodden grass
That rolls in waves as on the open seas,
We walk in gladness as bright blooms we pass
And as we walk, at last, we are at ease.
What beauty, what a landscape thus concealed!
Naught brings me joy as does this boundless field.
Sometimes I look at the world
And I see that it is hideous.
I see a girl typing offensive messages behind a screen,
Knowing no one will know it was her.
I see a boy making jokes about a group of people
When his classmate is part of that group.
I see a girl being told that she “asked for it”
Because her skirt was “too short.”
I see a boy forbidden from being himself
Because he was born a “girl.”
I see a couple keeping their relationship a secret
Because their love is illegal.
I see children torn from their parents and siblings
For coming to a safer place.
I see students huddling in the corner of their classroom,
Hiding from the armed man in the hallway.
I see people who believe that others should not be alive
Because they are different.
I see chaos, hate, prejudice, sadness.
I see all of this, and I think, “The world is...
A cool night breeze flows through the screen door and kisses my bare shoulders. My family is sound asleep in their bedrooms, but instead of lying on the sofa that is my makeshift bed, I stand in front of the screen door that separates the kitchen from the deck outside. The door has gotten jammed again, but I jiggle it until it gives way. My feet welcome the surface of the wooden deck as I step from the tile kitchen floor onto the balcony. Crickets chirp from the tall grass below, and downhill from the cabin, gentle waves lap at the dock. Faint light emanates from the kitchen window, but the sky is still a deep blue-black. I turn my gaze upwards.
I have long had an interest in stars, and many a night have I ventured outside to squint at my star chart and match the patterns to those visible above me. Streetlights and the proximity to a city...