The Upper School Echoes Activity hosted a creative writing contest in the Middle School for the first time this spring. Students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades submitted poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, which were then judged by local authors—all of them OES alums.
"The Theft That Colleges Do" By Megha D.
The writer nicely evokes a sense of longing while maintaining an optimistic narrative. This helps the piece explore part of the nature of narrative itself—that tension or loss require not only recollection but the organization of our recollections into story.
"A Memory" by Megha D.
The writer cleverly uses an "all-knowing" first person narration to arrange the events. This, coupled with the past tense, reveals to the writer and reader the lesson learned.
"Pictures" by Camille R. is a meditative exploration of the past's role in the present, and the present's role in the past. It shows its speaker contemplating difficult realities, and doing so in a way that allows us to better understand our own troubled relationships with time.
With lush, complex imagery and a conversational approach, "The Light in Darkness" by Emma F. and Abby M. questions some of the assumptions we take for granted not just in life but in poetry as well, and, by its end, leaves them beautifully obliterated.
"I am a storyteller" by Annie J. examines hard truths through poetry, and shows us how the articulation of our innermost emotions may allow us to be "seen" more clearly than our presence in a room, in the process illustrating the power of language.
Winner: “Crescit Eundo (It Grows as It Goes)” By Alejandra B.
The author of this oft-told tale has characterized the seasons dramatically, and, because s/he has deployed the sentences in such a sensuous, rhythmic arrangement, the story asks to be read aloud and danced to. (Note the variety of sentence length and the deft use of two verb tenses.) The thought-provoking writing actually inhales and exhales, brings paradox and discovery with it (“You move forward to find a reason to move forward...”), and its circularity is deeply satisfying. Caring about how the reader will perceive it, the author has meticulously proofread the manuscript.
Runner-Up: “Ugly Stitches”By Isabele R.
This narrative brings Harper Lee’s novel into the immediacy of the present, casting a keen and shadowy light on its events, immersing the reader in Boo’s perceptions and motives, and sustaining a tautness that drives the reader to care from sentence to sentence what is going to happen next. In reaching for exactly the right word, the writer sometimes finds the word just next to it, and what I admire about this is the reach. And this story’s last sentence rises to the level of champion of all Middle School entries.
Runner-Up: “A Very Maui Christmas” By Samuel C.
This is a difficult kind of narrative to write, in part because it uses the cumulative template that we all know from our childhood storytimes, and the author is responsible for making the finale of the seeking-an-answer search pay off. What I admire in this author’s spirited prose is his/her ability to keep the ridiculousness building, avoiding the false steps that would cause it to collapse. Just when we thought that neither the baby Jesus story nor Spam could provide new comedic value, here’s a story infused with fresh vigor: a triumph of silliness.