Monthly Archives: April 2015

Bricklayer

In this prompt, we were asked to write about our ancestors:

As I lay brick after brick, I remember how I got here.

The languages going in and out of my ears, the smells of animal dung and freshly baked bread, the feeling of the ocean inside me, its waves crashing and falling in my stomach – never will I forget my journey to these shores. Herded like the animals of Noah’s ark, we boarded our ship, feeling each other’s breath on our shoulders as we slept, letting the wind whip against our cheeks to prevent the nausea from rising.

Mostly, my memories are not the sights and smells but the people – Seymour, with his black fedora and that voice, which commanded attention, running the gambling ring that got him shot; Ivan, a farmer escaping the pogroms, who stripped the weapon from the man who shot Seymour and tossed it in the sea; and of course, Rosemary, who at eight months pregnant, lost her child, her wails that fateful night etched in my memory.

But now this has passed. I am new to this country, and there are realities I will face. I must turn these bricks to gold.

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Standing on a Corner

This piece is from a kids’ writer’s workshop. It’s intended for children of all ages. The prompt is:

“Standing on a Corner”. Write what this means to you.

Standing on a corner of the chessboard was a castle. In order for him to move, the pawns had to move first, or the horse, or the knight. And though it was of no doing of his own, it was the castle who was often captured, through some trickery of the enemy.

It got lonely in his corner, and there was nothing the castle could do about it. He had no control over his own life. He couldn’t eat, drink, or see his family and friends. But he learned patience. He knew that one day things would get better. When he grew old enough, he would get to leave that lonely place and never come back.

And one day, it happened. The pawn in front of him moved forward two spaces, and with that, the castle zoomed ahead with as much force as the wind, and with as much excitement as a newborn puppy. He darted right, and then left – he couldn’t move diagonally, he learned – avoiding a collision with his own queen. He took one long deep breath as he slid to the center of the board, with seemingly no one around him. He felt free.

But the castle wanted more than freedom. He wasn’t sure what he wanted exactly, but he knew it was something more. As his teammates disappeared around him, and his enemy became less and less, the castle felt bewildered, uncertain. But then he understood. He zipped forward all the way to where the enemy was, and only then was the game over.

Finally, the castle felt like a king.

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