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Emma, Teen Submission


I bolt upright in bed, looking wildly around. 

Nothing. Nobody. My face is wet. I reach up and wipe away a mixture of tears and sweat. That dream… Still shaken, I slide my legs out of bed, and sit on the edge of the mattress. I take a rattling breath, and lower my head into my hands. It was her. Again. I groan, and look around my room. Nothing. I almost expect her to leap out at me, her hair swirling, her eyes glowing. It’s as if she’s asking for something. Pleading for help. And yet…

While she terrifies me, she also draws me closer to her. Each night, a kind of fascination with her. The enigma. 

“What is she?”, I murmur to myself, lifting my head to look out the window.

“Who is she?”

 There’s a storm again. I stand up, and walk to the window to look out. Not much to look at on the ground. Just endless fields of grass. But the sky…

Something about the night, and the storm, just drew me in. The flashes of lighting, the rumble of the thunder, felt to my very bones, the roiling clouds. But I only stood there for a moment before turning away. I was cold. Wearing boxer shorts to bed hadn’t been a good idea. I slid on my jeans, and shuffled to the bathroom. After flicking on the light, I squinted at my reflection in the mirror. At least I still look the same. Sandy hair, blue eyes, big nose, and then the dark circles…

I rub my face, as if that would remove the lack of sleep from my appearance.


Jerking, I spin around, back pressing against the countertop. Nothing. But I could have sworn…

“Eli, come.” 

There was nothing here…that I could see. She was here. 

“Who—what are you?”

I eyed the ceiling, as if she was floating above me. She could be anywhere…next to me, above me, below me…

“I’m waiting” 

I wanted to say no. I would have liked nothing more than to say ‘No, I’m done, leave me alone.’. But I didn’t. I pulled on a sweatshirt, slipped on my old broken down trainers, and went outside. Somehow, I knew she was out here somewhere. In the storm. I stood on the porch, and looked out at the fields. The grass was being blown about by the wind, causing a soft rushing sound. 


Again, that voice…

I set off into the land sea, not even bothering to pull up the hood of my jacket. Searching for her. I hunched up my shoulders against the cold drops of rain, already shivering. Lightning dashed across the sky, soon chased by his brother, Thunder. Wading through the soggy grass, I keep my head in a constant swivel, trying to catch a glimpse of whatever I was chasing. 

“I’m here!” 

My whole body jerked, as if I had been struck by the very lightening that lit my search.

“Where? Where?!”


I turned in the direction of the corporeal voice, and plunged through the grass. I ran, the rain pelting against my face, and trickling down my neck. In fact, I almost missed it because I ran. The only reason I saw it was because of the lightning. It struck, no more than a quarter mile from where I was. The shock ran up through my bones, and made my teeth rattle. My soaked hair stood on end, and I tripped and fell to the ground. I was awed by the sheer power of the storm. Flattening my hair, I stood. And there she was, right in front of me. Her eyes were sad, and they stared into my very soul. I couldn’t bring myself to look away from her. Lightning flashed again, and the wind picked up, causing her hair to flow in streams behind her. 

Flash, boom.

Lighting, thunder.


This is the first excerpt from Emma's short story, "Across the Storm".  On why Emma writes, "The reason I write is because the world around us is filled with so much emotion, and all it takes is the right words to unleash it." Please check back to continue reading Emma's work. 


*photo (c) PublicDomainPictures


Violet, Standley Lake Teen Contributor

Twisted personality -

Beauty and elegance

In its thin, delicate petals

And the vice of a thorn.


Waves of color

Adorning the headdress

Of this sweet rose.

The thorns -

Like guards,

Prepared for an attack

Best weapons at the ready

To protect the fair radiance

Of the princess

Up above.


*photo redredrose (c) Sarah, Aug 24, 2008.

Audrey, Teen Submission

Audrey submitted these photographs that she took of still life moments in Colorado.  She notes, "I've always loved taking more natural photos rather than something with people in them. So, I like to focus more on landscapes and nature photos"




If you love photography then the library has a ton of beautiful oversized books that feature photography and art...come in and get inspired!

Aisha, Teen Submission

he sits on the rim of the balcony

legs dangling over mismatched posts of 

poinsettias and yellow roses

distant eyes fading out towards 

the city lights. bright, they flicker out one by one.


the taxi cabs and flashy cars inch along

the streets spilling with fascinating people

he watches the tops of their heads

gold amber brown black gray red white hair

damp with rain. dripping, it falls ever so softly.

he stands atop these metal beams

staring forward at shut windows

glass panes covered in scented marker scribbles

the shadows of people conversing surrounded

by blurred yellow. muted, their voices nonexistent. 


a cat pauses on the roof with lithe paws

its silhouette arching and shaking

the raindrops flick forth and fall onto the crowd

dirty tears of acrid city air and the weight 

of the people. weary, they slip away into the sewers.


he lays against the rigid pavement

staring at gloating imprints of the stars 

airplanes blinking unnatural colors and hues

the moon silently cradling his broken, broken heart

cut with pain. empty, it shivers into oblivion.


the lights flash brighter red and brighter blue

doors snap apart and buttery screams melt and fade

purple bathrobe soggy from scratched knees kneeling

she wraps him in her cold arms and wet tears

frozen in guilt. unending, they pool into her patchwork heart.


quiet, quiet, quiet, the broken boy

loud, loud, loud, the shattered mother

pulse, pulse, pulse, the watchful city


the clock strikes three.



photo (c) Martin Garrido, flickr creative commons, 2011

Cheyenne, Lakewood Teen Submission

I Am Malala is the inspiring story of Malala Yousafzai, the girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban. Malala's story starts with her father's dream of starting a school, which shows that her passion for education is genetic. Malala also ventures in to talk about her life before the Taliban, which is shockingly challenging, much having to do with her father's school. She talks about the beginnings of the Taliban in Pakistan, and how even before she was shot, she had a powerful voice through her blog and copious speeches. She addresses the mistreatment of women as the Taliban's power grew. In the concluding chapters, she gives third person details of her shooting, mainly from her family's point of view. The book ends with her miraculous recovery and new life in Birmingham, England.

I give this book 4.5 stars out of 5. I highly recommend reading it  for book reports, however, it is a fun read all by itself.

Mykenna, Columbine Teen Submission

 Mykenna on her inspirtaion for her illustration...

"I wanted her to be a cute and spunky, shojo-styled girl.

If you love Mykenna's illustration you might check out the manga series, Alice in the Country of Clover: Cheshire Cat Waltz. His name is Boris, and despite his human form and piercings and tattoos, he is not your typical punk teenager. For he is the Cheshire Cat, complete with cat ears and a tail, and a penchant for riddles. Boris is madly in love with Alice, and Alice is vulnerable and lonely. But will she fall for the Cheshire Cat? 


*story synopsis from goodreads.com


Violet, Standley Lake Teen Contributor

You shadow my every thought.



Am in awe by you-

     The music we make,

          The harmonies we create,

               The legends we write,

                   The miracles we put to shame.

You dominate my existence.

We are

          A tangle

                    Of bodies and souls

          Lost in one another

                   Ancient ruins; we explore, discover history

          Make history.

You are my fire

          My passion;

You are my adventure.


My soul aches for yours.


*Artwork by Mona via flickr, creative commons


Meghann Henry, Teen Outreach Librarian

Kayleigh, Standley Lake TAB

In three words...Who, Are, You?

The unknown being

What's awesome about the town you live in?

It's small, It's rural.  It's not very populated.  It has a lot of back alleys, and places where you can go and look around.

What sucks about it?

What sucks is that we have nosy neighbors.

What's the weirdest thing you can think of to say write now?...now?!?

Jacque the Parrot

What are you obsessed with...why?

Adventures and exploring new places.

Got anything to say about the library?

It's really fancy.

Each month we are featuring an awesome member of our Teen Advisory Board (TAB). You might be wondering, "What is TAB and how can I become one of these AMAZING people?!?!?"  TAB is a group of teens who meet monthly to discuss how the library can best serve teens, to plan events, and most importantly hang out and have a good time. Talk with the Teen Librarian at your location to get involved. 

Heather, Belmar Teen Submission

Our next contributor to the Levithan Project has stepped up to the plate to write "Chapter 2". If you haven't read the story starter then click on "Chapter 1" to see how this crazy project started.

Chapter 1

...the dust of my disastrous life had almost cleared--when the last person I expected to see sat down beside me...

Chapter 2

     Kyle. Let’s talk about Kyle. I’d known him almost ten years ago when we were small and he would throw sand in my eyes when Mrs. Barker wasn’t looking. He had that mischievous smile that made teachers believe it was always his fault, and even if there was no proof, I was sure it always was.

     Not that he was a bad kid, of course, but problems seemed to come to him like ants to honey. Once he seemed to have superglued himself to the ceiling, and a doctor had to surgically remove a layer of his skin to get the paneling off him. Another time, all the kinds of food he hated spoiled without warning—the exact instant he entered the lunchroom. It was impossible to blame him, it’s not like you can make food spoil at will, but he never denied his guilt. Not once. He just smiled that mischievous smile and moved on.

     I hadn’t heard of Kyle since we went to different middle schools. Seems he’d gotten mixed up with some druggies, and I hadn’t heard anything after that.

    Now, this rugged, dark-skinned guy with that same mischievous smile sat beside me, and casually started talking. I knew it was him. And I knew he was up to something.

     “Hi Marcie,” he said. “What’s up?”

     What are you supposed to say to a question like that? Oh yes, I have just managed to ruin my whole life forever. My family will never forgive me for what I’ve done. And, let’s not forget the killer, it’s very possible that the United States of America is going to sue me, lock me up, and throw away the key. Yay me.

     I fell back on my usual response.

     “Not much. What about you?”

     “Oh, just out and about,” he replied. “I saw you on the bench, and thought I’d stop to say hello. Do you want to go to 7-Eleven with me?”

     Call me a bimbo. Joining a possible drug-addict on a whirlwind adventure to a convenience store, possibly to hold it up, for all I knew, and get myself even more arrested. Maybe not my wisest choice, but it was a chance—and I took it.

      “Why not?” I sighed, and followed him. I absent-mindedly patted my pocket to make sure my phone was still in there. I only hoped I’d remembered to charge it before my parents had effectively kicked me out. “How did you find me, anyway?” I asked. “I hardly recognize you, Kyle—how would you have remembered me?”

     Kyle laughed a little, and there was that smile again, a beacon of trouble that I was reaching for again. “It wasn’t an accident,” he said. “My boss sent me to find you. She has a few ideas for you, about your problems.”

     I froze. He knew?

      “Relax, Marcie. We already know everything. No family, probably no money, either. My boss thinks he might have a job for you.”

     “I’m not working for a drug lord!” I exclaimed. He gave me a funny look.

     “We don’t sell drugs, Marcie,” he said. “Far from it. In fact, we sell…


To continue this story email your submission to [email protected].

Aurora, Belmar Teen Contributor

So, right now I'm reading Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn. These two have worked collaboratively before, with Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List, and the more well known Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. Now, I've read each of these authors individually and, I am sorry to say, something is simply lacking. There is something completely magical about two authors, each with their own style and process, working together on a novel. 

Of course, I have no idea how it really works, but I imagine that someone gets an idea, writes a few pages that will later transform into the first chapter, and then sends it to another writer, generally a good friend. The story bounces a few more times, and voila, an amazing novel is born. 

Naturally, this is a gross oversimplification, but the concept exists. These books that are co-authored are not limited to one writer's imagination. The ideas bounce back and forth, stretching and growing beyond the bounds of one singular imagination. By collaborating, authors create journeys that they alone could not travel and we, the readers, are the sole beneficiaries. 

Now, rather than just going on about how amazing collaborations are, I thought we could do a bit of an experiment. Call it, "The Levithan Project". I'll write a short passage and I challenge you, my fellow blog posters/readers, to continue the story. Keep it fairly short, between 250 and 1000 words, and email your continuation to [email protected]... Let's see where this story can go! 

Currently Untitled

          Don't you think it's interesting how the smallest disagreements, the most minute details seem to have such an overpowering ability to completely ruin our lives? I mean, look at World War I...or was it the second one? I'm not too good at history. The point is, in World War Something, Austria and Serbia were fighting over the Black Glove, or Hand, or whatever, when suddenly Russia got involved, and the next thing you know, Germany had lost and everyone was dead. I mean, how did everyone get involved? How did it get to be such a big mess? 

          Do you remember when, in elementary school, you would stand in a circle and randomly grab everyone's hands, forming a human knot? Then, when you are attempting to untangle yourselves, that one kid (Tommy, I am talking to you!) always managed to make the entire class trip and fall, ending in one giant pile of seven-year-olds? Well, that's kind of what my life is like right now. Just one stupid little mistake, going over little Jessie's arm instead of under...well it feels like my entire life has collapsed into a heap around me.

          Naturally, there is only one thing to do when life gets this complicated. I went to the park, and sat on my favorite bench. I watched the dads trying to teach their toddlers how to be star baseball players, the college kids playing Frisbee. I stared at the sky, bright blue, except to the east, which was colored in with the faintest brown smog. I took a deep breath of the sweet fall air, trying to forget. I retreated into my bubble, and I had almost calmed down--the dust of my disastrous life had almost cleared--when the last person I expected to see sat down beside me...


Well, that's all for me. I Can't wait to see what you guys do with it!

P.S. It's called "The Levithan Project" instead of "The Cohn Project" because a) it sounds cooler and b) David Levithan seems to write more of these collaboration projects. He also worked on Will Grayson, Will Grayson with John Green.


More Levithan Project...

Chapter 2


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