This was my second entry into the NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing competition. Every student was required to submit one piece of their “best” writing, which could be written in any form about any topic (mine can be found here), as well as a “themed” writing that answered a prompt issued by the NCTE. The prompt this year was, “imagine that you have been chosen to create your own Mount Rushmore. Who would you want to preserve and celebrate?”
The following is a memoir that was selected to enter the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Achievement Award in Writing. I was one out of only two students in the entire junior class (of about 310 students) who were chosen to be submitted to the contest. There was no prompt or topic for this memoir. I worked with the head of the English department at my school to revise and edit my original draft into this finished product. Hope you enjoy!
I’ve always been known as that quiet girl
but something in the way your eyes crinkle when you smile
makes me want to expend all my words, every syllable and sound I could ever summon,
just to see you show your crooked teeth in joy again.
Yet at the same time, just a glimpse of you leaves me
even more silent than I ever was before
and they say “tongue-tied,” but really the sight of you
rips my tongue to pieces and leaves me choking
on words I should’ve said.
You asked me to be your
So I took that leap to
stop a blade, catch a bullet, save a life
And I tried to defy gravity
for a friend
who just need a little help.
today you are seventeen, and at one time 17 seemed so old
but you feel like sixteen still –
still a baby, a child, no bigger than you were the day you were born
and 18 is what seems so old now.
did you expect me to cry?
When you saw my scars and hid your surprise
did you want me to break and spill my soul
to a stranger with a doctorate and a receding hairline?
Not a chance.
dancing amidst a great war of generations.
She slid smoothly across a battleground, leaving scorching trails of red flame behind her, and
my eyes were captivated, and my soul enraptured
by the way she passed, unscathed, through the chaos.