Writing from the Wilds Workshop

On July 18-20 Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center hosted “Writing from the Wilds,” a three day writing workshop for youth, facilitated by Portland based writer and owner of Breakerboy Communications, Dave Jarecki. Here are samples of participants’ writings from that time.

August by Sanae Icovino

August always starts out this way, warm, dry, tired, and peaceful. Fruits have come and their fragrance permeates the air. The grass begins to brown at the ends reminding us that Fall time is coming. People swim in pools or rivers and sometimes run through sprinklers trying to escape the heat. Fresh chilled food is spread on picnic blankets. Children bite into watermelon and laugh as the juice runs down their chins. I watch them and remember a time when August seemed to last a year. A time when I didn’t need to rush or worry. Now there is an almost frantic vibe as everyone tries to fit in everything they have not yet done into these last few weeks. Underneath it all is a sense of sorrow for this is the last month of summer. I laugh with the children and try to forget that soon I will be back to school and schedules. August is a complicated, but beautiful month.


Maddie by Zoe LaDu

She hops through the forest, from tree to tree. Barely touching the leaves before she takes off again. She doesn’t know where she’s going, she never knows. The forest had been her home since she could remember, yes she still hadn’t seen all of it. Every tree always looked different, and there was no fooling her. She remembered the details of every tree: the spots where the moss grew, and where it didn’t; the lines and discoloration of the bark. Every detail.

Sometimes she would fly to the tippy tops of the trees, and look out at everything. This was especially beautiful at night. The stars seemed to stretch for miles above her. The stars, Maddie loved the stars. She could gaze at them and lose herself for hours.

If she could go anywhere, Maddie would go into the stars. Sure, the forest was great, but the stars were mysteriously beautiful. She did not understand them, and did not want to. Maddie had lived for hundreds of years, and was very wise, but she could not figure out the stars. She did not understand why they made her feel so lonely, yet content. So small, yet so safe.

She wanted to be a part of the stars, but she did not want them to lose their mystery. The mystery of the stars are their main attraction.


Painting Dreams by Eva Hyland

I enter through the door and settle on to my bed. The soft pillows engulf me into a new state of mind. My thoughts wander into a scene of a reef. Fish flutter below. The coral is sharp, but it has the magnificent colors of pinks, blues, greens, and reds of a rainbow. Then from out of nowhere whale shark appears and sucks me into its mouth. Suddenly I am underneath a starry sky. I am lifted by birds and whisked into space, I drift around the moon and the the silver light blinds me, taking me back to my bedroom. Lying on my back and staring up at the bland ceiling.


How I Got Rich In 2013 by Alec Garcia

 The first thing that occurs is a storm. After the storm a earthquake. After the earthquake volcanos started to spout out of the ground and pour out lava. The next thing you know everybody is running and screaming for help. Others think to themselves, why scream for help? The same thing is happening to all of us. Cars are honking and kids are yelling, everyone is scared. The Bridges are collapsing, freeways are crumbling, and one hundred story buildings are falling to the ground. What do you do in a time like this? I really don’t know, I’m not the guy to ask I’m just a hot dog vendor with a normal life. I have a huge line while volcanos are oozing out lava are behind me. One gave me a one hundred dollar bill for a two dollar hot dog. As he walked away, he yelled “keep the change.” everyone was giving me a huge tip. I guess they thought that the world was ending and they didn’t want their money. I thought the world was going to end too but i just stayed calm. I tried not to think about dying. Then all of a sudden the volcano disappeared, the storm turned into mist, and the earthquake stopped. The clouds were replaced with sun. This was the best business I ever had. Before this started I was a normal guy with a normal life and now, well now, I’m a billionaire. I became a billionaire by selling hot dogs during the end of the world


The Weight Of Time by Jake Nielson

time is a boulder,
weighing you down
controlling your every move,
save time
waste time
spend time with others
or alone
but time doesn’t stay forever
don’t run out
time is precious
time is money
use time spending money
don’t watch clocks
beat them
trick time
outweigh time
make time go slower
or speed time up
take the ancient log of time
and whittle it down into a toothpick
then grow the toothpick into a tree
love time
nourish time
find time
make time a dumb bell
and grow stronger with time
make time into a pencil
learn with time
but no matter what
know that mite will weigh you down eventually
making your skin sag, your mind tired and your hair grey
time will eventually weigh you down so much you sink into the ground
leaving the ones you love lonely
but time has created them too
time is the key to life
some say tome is so light it is an illusion
a boulder made of styrofoam
hollow on the inside
time still moves forward for us though
like a snowball rolling down a hill
not weighing much when it is young but enlarging enough to crush you as you age
the silly thing about time is that the less it weighs the slower it goes
the larger it gets the quicker its pace


The Forest by Emma Nolan

I opened my eyes and looked around. I was standing at the edge of a path leading down into the forest. It was covered in white stones, a few flowers poke from in-between the stones. For a moment I had forgotten how beautiful a forest could be. Previous forest were nothing but old short straggly pines, looking as if they had almost been stuck in the ground like tooth picks. But in this forest every tree was different but blended seamlessly. I felt around and realized that I was bare foot, on a small patch of dirt leading onto the path. Forest was everywhere and the only place I could go was forward. I had no idea how I had gotten there.

I took a quick look around and started walking. The rocks were hard, but round and fairly easy to walk over.

The path went down, then straightened out and took a right. And then a left. I realized that this could go on for miles and there was nothing I could do about it. I tried to look through the trees but it was impossible, all I could see was a bend of road and another sharp turn. I leaned against a maple and closed my eyes. I was not tired but I almost did not want to leave. It was so much  more peaceful than what I was used to.

“Hurry before it’s too late.” A voice said.

I jumped to my feet and looked around. Nothing but forest and began to run.

“Who are you?” I shouted

My voice was engulfed by the sound of running water, and I ran left into a out cove off the main path. Not paying attention to where aI was going, I tripped on a root and fell flat on my face like a idiot. In front of me was a river blocked off by white stripped trees and black stones. To the left was two small water falls that splashed into the pond like river below. the ground moved up left and to to a flat black rock, split into different peaces by pipes of water that ran threw it. The rocks lead down to the second level of river and reached out to the middle of the pond. The pond river thing reflected green from the sunlight, but not a unhealthy green. It was an emerald color.

I took a last look around and began to climb across, making my way threw the icey cold water to the other side and sliding down to the farthest rock letting myself sit for a moment.