“Feeling a sense of peace and belonging is what we yearn for, at all stages of life. However, it’s during adolescence that we earnestly begin to seek our identity, our place of belonging, beyond our immediate family and community, for the first time.”
- Clare McFadden, Director of Education, Write the World, Inc. Read Clare's full letter here.
EVELYN VAN CAUWELAERT (Belgium)
I can't saw wisdom out of a star if
you blink my words empty when I pray for you
KATIE STARKEY (UK)
"Green, they'd be green, just how my own grandpa liked to have 'em," he sighs.
MUSKA EHSAN (Afghanistan)
I befriended the night's darkness and calm, realizing even the dark carries a light.
ELIZABETH BEE (South Africa)
People should earn your affection, rather than you just giving it away.
HOLLY GALLAGHER (Australia)
It was side of stage I stood, counting breaths, readying for the lights to fade and come up again
RINA OLSEN (Guam)
Slick gray flesh. Slippery yellow flesh. Powdery white flesh. Three generations, one shrimp.
TAIEBA TABASSUM (Bangladesh)
I wore low-power glasses before. I could see myself in the mirror, but not clearly.
GENEVIEVE SMITH (US)
Herring fish gather in the shallow stream behind the lake and through the trees.
SOPHIA RAINES (US)
My mother slaps down some more dough in front of me. To eat, you must create.
DOREY COOTE (Canada)
It is not pleasant to be torn between two worlds you love. I know what it feels like.
Your true home is in the here and the now. It is not limited by time, space, nationality, or race. Your true home is not an abstract idea; it is something you can touch and live in every moment.
—Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Nhat Hanh was a beloved Vietnamese Buddhist monk who died, at age 95, this time last year. He is renowned for teaching about mindfulness as the path to find one’s true home in the world. Feeling a sense of peace and belonging is what we yearn for, at all stages of life. However, it’s during adolescence that we earnestly begin to seek our identity, our place of belonging, beyond our immediate family and community, for the first time.
In this issue of Write the World Review, young writers from across the globe explore this topic of finding a true home—in ourselves, our communities and our world.
In her poem “The Theatre is the One Place They Told Me to be Bigger…” Holly Gallagher, from Sydney, Australia, finds she is at home on the stage—a place where she can be her most authentic self.
Katie Starkey, from England, and Rina Olsen, from Guam, each reflect, in their respective pieces, on how those who came before us help create the home and culture we experience today. As Katie observes in “Green Apples,” “… we're all just little jigsaws of other people, you know?”
Everett Lane, from California, US, shares their beautiful and insightful poem about discovering oneself and one’s identity and explores how trying to articulate who we are can be fraught with misunderstandings.
I am trying to trans-late myself
into words you will understand but you will not understand.
Anything is un-trans-latable
if you are a bad enough trans-lator
Genevieve Smith, from Massachusetts, US, captures a feeling of belonging in nature in “On False Spring and the Herring Run”:
But it is March, and the lake only knows the fish and frogs and me. And, I think with a breeze brushing my winter-pale skin, what a wondrous thing it is.
This issue of Write the World Review invites us to reflect on where we feel a sense of home in our own lives, and how we might cultivate this feeling, as Thich Nhat Hanh says “in every moment.”
For teachers interested in exploring these pieces with their students, please look over the accompanying lesson plans for further inspiration. We always love to hear from you about how your students responded to these themes in the classroom. Please email us at email@example.com.
- Clare McFadden, Director of Education, Write the World, Inc
Write the World Review is an online journal showcasing a diverse and international range of work from our young writers on Write the World. It includes journalism, poetry, short fiction, personal narrative and reflection, film and book reviews, and much more. If you are 13-19, we welcome your submissions.
The journal is an extension of Write the World, our vibrant online community where young writers can draft and publish work, respond to weekly prompts in a variety of genres, exchange feedback, enter monthly competitions, join writing workshops, receive help with college essays, and much more. Write the World also provides resources for teachers to create engaging writing communities within their classrooms. Sign up here to learn more.