JH Artwork

JH Artwork

Writing Exchange 2006-2018

This blog was created to display some of the powerful writing being done by incarcerated youth. Participants currently include juvenile hall facilities in Siskiyou, El Dorado, Placer, Fresno, and Butte County. Students are given journal topics and asked to write what needs to be written. Several entries are handpicked from each classroom site and posted to the blog anonymously. Students at each site then read the material together, discussing the writing and connecting with others.

Planned Exchanges

Planned Exchanges 2018: May 24; June 27; July 25; More To Come!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The following entries are FICTIONAL stories that are EXACTLY 59 words…not one more or less.  Students were able to enter their writing into the Chico News and Review’s Fiction 59 contest and results will be printed in the paper November 12.  We also have a couple of powerful NON-Fiction entries that have been included at the end of this publication.

Entry #975
The Escape
Mom’s passed out, medicine does that. Dad’s away with that… something-wrecker? He wasn’t sure but he hoped it had something to do with wrecking balls, those are so cool. He walked out sidestepping over medicine bottles and crab grass filled cracks into a clearing. Looking up at the birds, he flapped his arms in imitation, and flew away.

Entry #976
Shadow Talk
I continually crave the ability to make my own decisions, walk my own line, but I’m bound to my caster. It’s as if I’m a prisoner that has a life sentence. We spend so much time together you’d think my caster would make worthy decisions for the both of us, but, it seems, she’s as selfish as selfish comes.

Entry #977
Had to Transform
Her eyes were like a cat on a dark night. I looked to the left there she was all of sudden. I had to transform into a ninja and fight off these crazy guys trying to abduct her and take her to outer space. It stops, as my teacher predictably calls my name again. I’m disappointed to be back.

Entry #978
The Artic Monster (T.A.M)
I am the meanest monster you will meet; I come from the Arctic Circle and swim in bathtubs where you would die of hypothermia.  Yesterday I swallowed so much snow that it made my mouth stay in a cold evil grimace. I eat spam and sometimes head cheese.  You should shiver when you hear my name.  I am Tam.

Entry #979
No Light
Hit by a car, Pedro saw his body lying near a ditch. Firefighters surrounded him. They were using a shock pedal, likely trying to revive him. Covered in blood and an arm bone looking out of place, they rushed him to the ER. “Am I dead?” he wondered. Standing over his body, half naked, he didn’t see any light.

Entry #980
Banana Split
Steve walked into the bar where the split brothers hung around. They recognized him as soon as he arrived in town. He holstered two .357 bananas. The split brothers were going to take him head on while he ordered an ice cream Sunday. Instead they broke lose. Steve threw his banana peel expertly and hollered “Don’t trip brother split!”

Entry #981
Jacob observed his opponent as he warmed up. When he stepped onto the mat his gut wrenched tight. He had never felt so nervous. He walked to the center, got into his stance, and shook his adversary’s hand. The referee shouted wrestle. They tied up. Jacob struggled hard, only to wake up in bed. His pillow a worthy champion.

Entry #982
Need a Ride?
One stormy night, a man was driving home from work. There was a lady drenched, bloody and muddy. The man stopped to see what was wrong. She told him she crashed into a tree ahead and she needed a ride. He drove further, saw the car with a dead body in the front then turned to the girl. Gone.

Entry #983
Active Listening
Jay was running through his mind. They would listen; they were the only ones who would listen. They told him to do cruel things to others at times and if he did not do as he was told they informed him they would take over and do worse things to him. It is do or die. No more meds.

Entry #984
As I Walk
Tired of being talked down to, Jose was pretty much done. He had lost his mom when he was only five and dad left for a bomb new wife several years later.  Locked up at the age of 13 and furious. Even though he clearly realized he was spiraling down quickly, he still gave his life to the streets.

Entry #985
The Interloper
He was suddenly aware of a secondary presence is his head, a cold malicious presence. This intruder, though undoubtedly evil, was gentle. It caressed his mind like an anxious virgin might caress his first breast. He shivered, icy tendrils of pure sensuality seeped into his brain where contact was made. Whatever apprehension he might have had, seeped away. Addiction.

Entry #986
Note on the Door
I was about to graduate; I got bad news that my friend was missing. I only had two hours to find him. The first place I went to look was his pad. When I got there I noticed there was a note on the door. “Jose, be back in two days.” I’m on an adventure to the Middle East.

Entry #987
No More
Lock and load mercenaries who see the smoke from the hilltop, march one by one. The battle starts as adversaries near.  They bathe in their blood, yet the worst has yet to come. Reaching the convent to kill what they have started. They fight to live, for pride and freedom. Taking cover, Joseph wonders if the others do too.

Entry #988
SNAP! A selfie. She was still smiling when I walked in and asked, “What are you doing?” She had no response. I quickly got curious but did not say a word. After deciding to walk away calmly and let her go on with her day I realized that things could’ve gone a lot worse, I made the right decision.

Entry #989
Can you?
Can you tell a story in 59 words? I did. It was really tough. I called it, Justify. Want to know what really happened to it? It was stolen from me by a crooked teacher aiming to get a prize all to himself. It wasn’t fiction anyway. Hopefully you will not have to deal with this type of wrongdoing.

Entry #990
Cal said “Hey Jim, let’s hit the store.”
Both boys started their walk to the local market, immediately they saw a man giving them the stink eye. Opening his Kevlar vest, the man showed them a badge. Turning around, both boys took off running. Certain they were being chased; they entered the park, looked behind them and saw nothing.

Entry #991
Fallowing him into the woods, being so careful for him not to hear her. “Snap.” Ugh, she stepped on another stick! She freezes, paralyzed with hope, he hasn’t spotted her. Another left, left, and a final right. Where is he headed, thought Sammy.  Damn, I’ve lost him. How am I gonna get home? Turning around there he was… ROARRRRRRR.

Entry #992
Lalo's Destiny
Lalo was 17 years old and his favorite place was Juvi, until one day the blue doors whispered to him: “This is your destiny.” He got so scared, he had trouble leaving his own cell.  He purposely got discipline to stay inside.  The door made fun of him until he woke up and he realized he was going home.

Entry #993
The Little Mistake
She made a mistake,
Too late to take back,
One time is all it takes,
Her momma always warned her,
Two little lines on a little stick,
Nine months is a long time,
At only sixteen how will she survive?
With little to no support,
She still refuses to abort,
She made a mistake,
Too late to take back.

Entry #994
Standing near the shore as the rocks hit Liza’s feet, the water was cold and the waves crazy. As she walked on the sand she look back to see her footprints and there were none to be seen. Liza started drawing with a stick, digging in the sand. There was nothing. She could see people who couldn’t see her.

Entry #995
Lucky Day
One rainy day there was a little girl, Susie, walking down the street, no umbrella, no jacket, not even boots. She ran into another little girl on her way to school. The strange girl gave her everything she needed. A raincoat, umbrella, gloves, boots for warmth, a home, and a friendship that Susie would never forget and always have.

Entry #996
Spud from planet taste bud was frozen with fear. He stared at the huge multi-colored meteors racing toward his home. The meteors struck and exploded at the same time.
Meanwhile Billy, speaking disappointedly to Johnny said, “Pop rocks have different colors and pop really loud but they don’t taste much.” “It is the end of the world,” stated Johnny.

Entry #997
Shoe Life
Bob and Barker were best pals; you couldn't get those two apart. A day came when Bob said, "Damn it, Barker. This guy’s feet stink, but he's only been here a week." Barker replied, "Bob, I totally agree with you, but I'm stuck with the left foot." Bob decided to step on a nail. He hated being walked on. 

Entry #998
Saturday Market
Waking up from his mom shaking him, Asher checks the clock. It’s 4 AM.  Getting ready for the market, but so tired he falls back asleep. Up again from another shake. Ugh… walking to the car he almost trips, but catches himself. He reaches the car and a pillow. As he wakes back up he’s in Redding, work time.

Walking into the class and taking his seat, Frankie finished reading his book. Then he moved on to his first assignment. Once finished, Frankie began starting his next assignment thinking… “I have to write a story; so, my story is going to be about writing a story. I am almost finished with this story I am writing. I am done!”

Entry #1000
Abduction Karma
The furious cold scrap of steel had a mean sting to it as it entered the victims neck. The Look on the demon’s face was blank and out of place. It must have been from another dimension, viciously creeping Earth to fulfill this abduction. The victim was stiff and deceased, perhaps he did something wrong he wasn’t sure of.

Entry #1001
She was really good friends with this boy Joe. She never would have thought that they would be together. He told her he wanted to wait for her until she comes home. It’s crazy how things happen, when she’s with him she’s HAPPY! He’s on her mind daily pondering how it’s going to be when she’s home for good.

Entry #1002
Long stretches of hallways, but its pitch dark. Tim hears music but he can’t make out what it is. Maybe its hard rock or a love song. Walking to get closer, he trips and stumbles down some stairs. As he hits the bottom of the stairs he tries to get up. Now he can hear it. It’s Ozzy Osborne.

Entry #1003
Polluted Exchange
Mark finished lighting his cigarette, oblivious to the fact it was backward, and said “Hey man, regardless of what people say, you’re a good guy.” Ben smiled unevenly, and nodded, the gears moving slowly in his head. The words “regardless of what people say” slipped through and seemed to grease them up, “Well ay!” he shouted “Who’s talking crap?”

Entry #1004
Monkey Margarita
Free falling through the sky at 500 MPH. Tongue flying out of his mouth slapping him in his cheek. The wind was coming so fast he couldn’t see. He just flew past an airliner full of monkeys fighting over banana margaritas. He was heading towards earth at an unstoppable pace. Landing perfectly, unhurt, the movie director yelled loudly, “Cut!”

Non-Fiction Entries

Entry #1005
When I was 6 years old my father had a monstrous seizure, dropped out in the middle of the street and suffered from a fever, sweating bullets non-stop, and was in and out of consciousness. What was life, he forgot, on the stretcher waiting to get taken… seeing my dad’s life gone before my eyes made my life shake. Opening his mouth, with him forcing his words, he said, “If I die, you are my world. Above I will be your angel.” I’ll seek those kisses on your forehead- those come from me. Very last words were: “Tati, I love you.” My mom said,  “Kiss him on his forehead and know he loves you.” Seeing you in the hospital before you died, saying a prayer, but you couldn’t open your eyes, gripping your hand as tight as I could… I heard in my head, I’m the man now.  They pulled the plug and I heard a discontinuous sound. A few weeks later, it was your funeral. I wanted to kiss you, but it seemed unreal so I stood there and cried. Mom held me tight. I blamed this on her. She stressed your life. Reality hit me. It wasn’t her fault. God called you home. It was time for your spirit to fly across. 17 years old now and I’m living my life the wrong way, following others, being misled. The path I’m running down, I should be dead. Shot at 4 times, only hit once. You were there and built my strength up. You’re saying to me as I’m sleeping, “ If you should die before you wake your soul is mine and mine you shall take.” After this experience, I didn’t take life for granted. I remained humble even when others ratted. You taught me to stay stitch lip when others wouldn’t and stay on my toes even when I shouldn’t. RIP to my old man with a young soul gone but never forgotten and one day your story can be told.

Entry #1006
When Things Go Wrong
Growing up I didn’t have it all like others. My actions led me where I’m at right now. But before everything I was a good kid. I loved going to school and I loved being home. My older sister started running away with her boyfriend and got pregnant at 17. Don’t get me wrong, yeah she was young, but she took care of her responsibilities. Few years went passed, and then I got older. When I was 14, I started running away with people 18+, and told them I was of age. Yeah, they believed me, but then when I was away from home, I HAD to take care of myself and eventually had to get money somehow. So I started prostituting. Been back and forth to home and lied to my mother about my whereabouts. I started getting older and more time flew passed to where I missed some of my freshman year, 10th and some of my 11th. A friend of mine got shot in the back of the head in Sacramento on Stockton Blvd. Then I started going insane. I’ve been away from home for some years, back and forth for 2 years. Never had I ever got in trouble. Life started to become unfair. I’d be home, but leave for no reason. Since I’ve turned 16, I’ve been doing the same shit since I was 14, but then things got worse. When I started coming back home, schools took way too long to accept me and then again I left. Took off to L.A, got caught stealing, got arrested. My grandpa came to get me. I had to wait for the Greyhound to take me back to Sacramento. As I was going on the bus, I ran into one of my friends. We both had got locked up, and we rode the bus back to Sac. My dad was supposed to come get me but then instead, I left with my friend. Then things got salty. People started to question my age, but I kept telling them I was of age. Like it or not, I knew I was not telling the truth. I had a thing about smoking weed and leaving with older men. I knew I was in the wrong, but I still liked having older friends. Then one day I left to steal with a few friends. It was successful. Then one day, we went again. I didn’t grab anything, but they did and now all of us are locked up… 2 juveniles and 3 adults. Still waiting to go home. This isn’t where I need to be. I’ve learned my lesson. Talked to my mom. She saw me in here and I just broke down crying before I even hugged her. I will do better and I will be better. Everybody learns from their mistakes, but it takes heart for people to realize they were wrong.