I used to write all the time. I read Harriet the Spy when I was eight or nine and was so inspired by this little girl who carried a notebook around wherever she went that I started doing it too. I wrote a story about a rabbit getting a job and one about twins finding a magical pair of glasses and another about a fish without scales. Sometimes I just wrote about what was happening in my life. I had so many ideas and things to write about that I couldn’t get them down on paper fast enough. Recently I found a binder full of unfinished work from years ago that must have a couple dozen story beginnings.
After sixth or seventh grade, though, my stream of writing slowed to a trickle and then dried up altogether. I was writing so many essays and book reviews and reports for school that the thought of using what little free time I had to write anything else was, I hate to admit, appalling.
Then my language arts teacher gave me a copy of Teen Ink and encouraged me to submit some of my work. I enjoyed the magazine but quickly forgot about it until recently. Several weeks ago I rediscovered the website and was immediately enthralled and uplifted by the passionate (and eloquent!) voices of other teens. By the next day I’d caught the bug and was submitting practically nonstop.
But the real reason I’m writing this is not because Teen Ink has inspired me and given me the confidence to put my work out there, even though it has. I’m writing this because Teen Ink has renewed the passion I had all those years ago. Now, instead of thinking about what classes I have and what is due the next day, I find myself brainstorming what to write about. Ideas will come to me in the shower, in the moments before I fall asleep, when I’m tying my shoes, when I’m walking my dog. The world seems clearer and more colorful and bursting with inspiration and beauty. I can’t wait to get out and write about it.
So thank you, Teen Ink. Thank you quite a lot.
Augusta Stockman, Camden, ME
My Body’s Extension
In “My Body’s Extension” the author describes how music is a way for him to express his emotions. “Where words fail, music speaks,” he writes. That is precisely right; music is a way for musicians or anyone to express themselves. The way you are feeling right now determines the way you would play an instrument or the type of music you would choose on your playlist.
Music brings “out a dormant side” of everyone, including me, being blessed with such a gift. Music does bond “us together and connects us to history,” as the author points out. It also brings us closer with friends. Thank you for reminding us of the impact that music has on us.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.