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Girls With Pens at The Writing Barn

This was Girls With Pens first time at The Writing Barn, and it was a very special week. The beautiful location and peaceful environment offered extra inspiration to an already extraordinary group of writers.

The girls created stories about everything from dresses made of live butterflies to anthropomorphic wolves to a school full of snakes wearing Donald Trump toupees.

I hope the girls enjoyed themselves as much as I did. They are full of talent and bursting imaginations.


A Tour of Lila’s Mind

by Lila Clifton

You want to start in Pizza. Army crawl through the stuff, then cannonball into Surfing. After you are done there, fly into Winning. Zipline into Family, run into Friends and Sea Foam Green. Swagger through Trash Talk. Teleport to Dogs and Animals. Stay as long as you want. After you are done there, cartwheel to Weird Stuff. Dance to Even Weirder Stuff. Strut into Electronics but keep an eye on the time. We have four more places to go. Skip into How to Use Stuff. Twirl into boys, then run into water if you are going to puke. Walk into playing and then you are done. If you are still hungry, flip into food, but if you aren’t, teleport into your favorite room and play in it until it closes. Then you have to go into Sleeping.



By Marisa Martinez

I’m on my own. Mom died when I was five and my dad is locked up in Tallahassee State Prison for committing a crime he’s not responsible for.

He came to me in the night while I was scavenging for food through deserted alleyways. I had found a tuna melt with mold growing on one side. “It will have to do,” I thought. I picked off the mold and threw it back into the dumpster. I heard a muffled shuffling through a narrow crack in the walls. I hid behind the rusting dumpster and held my breath. I counted to what seemed like 20 minutes and continued my search for food. But something interrupted me. At first I thought it was a voice in my head, then I realized someone or something was speaking to me. I couldn’t get caught, no, not again.

I hated the foster homes. I still have the bruises on my hand after I stole food from Ms. Preston’s kitchen. I swore that day I would never go back to foster homes. I was an orphan surviving on my wit and intellect to keep me alive.

“Sasha.” This time the voice whispered but a little louder than the first. “I need to speak with you about something regarding your father.”

Yes, someone was definitely speaking to me.

“Hello,” I stuttered. Sweat fell from my neck.

“I need to speak with you in private. Follow me.”

So I followed his shuffling through the night until I found myself at an old building on the west side of town.

“Where are you?” I whispered. “What are you?” I asked again.

“That’s not important, but listen, what I am about to tell you may change your fate and your father’s life. Please, Sasha. Your father’s life rests in your hands.”

To be continued . . .


Go Away

By Emily O’Brien

Your very existence makes me feel as though there are nails being driven into my brain. I am repelled by you like an insect by bug spray. You are as appealing as a prehistoric Cheeto sitting under a dusty couch, as a rotting piece of chicken in the back of the fridge, as a dirty raccoon with rabies digging in a foul smelling dumpster. I loathe you more than anything for you have hurt me more than anything ever could. I never want to see you again, you insignificant piece of trash.


My Name

By Hazel Tounsand

Hazel smells like hot chocolate on a winter’s morning: sweet, smooth, and warm.

Hazel tastes like pure caramel drizzled over an ice cream Sunday.

Hazel sounds like the phone ringing in a lonely house, like a wolf call that signals the others.

Hazel feels like a new bedspread, butter, and golden strands of hair.

Hazel looks like a little house on top of a hill, the bright sun, and an old blue car rusting with age.

When I cry, it’s like a thousand birds with no wings, a silent scream, a mouse in a trap.

When I laugh, it’s like a church bell ringing, a clown, and a red velvet cupcake.



by Emma White

Everything hurt. Her arms felt like they were being torn right out of their sockets. Her legs felt like they were being crushed by thousands and thousands of planets smashing together, all of her organs feeling squished together in the tiny shadow that was her body, but that’s what the void does to you. It makes you hurt. It keeps you alive though, keeps you alive just enough to endure more torture, a torture that makes you hurt because you can’t play with a dead thing, right?


I Love Myself

By Carey Beth Wooley

Corey, Marry, Clarry: they all smell like imposters when strangers try to pronounce my name. But my name, Carey Beth, smells like Niagara Falls and an Irish farm. My name tastes like homemade chocolate chip cookies: warm, fuzzy and sweet. My name sounds like a rushing wave of mystery and winter. My name feels like a warm blanket wrapping around you and then dropping you in the deep cold ocean. My name looks turquoise and bright, shining with possibilities. I am like a perfect day interrupted by a sloppy, eager, happy, awkward mess. When I cry I am a raging hurricane. When I laugh hard, I snort and I am the loudest person in the room. I like myself. I’m worth a lot and you can’t tell me that I’m not, because you can’t see inside of me.


A special thank you to Akiko White for the on-going supply of fabulous baked goods!

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