Building Bridges / 5
Local students show off their literary stuff in the 2016 McEntyre Writing Competition
Introduction by Wayne Larsen
In what has become an annual tradition in Westmount schools, the McEntyre Writing Competition always attracts a wide variety of thoughtful and creative entries, and the 2016 edition was no exception.
Endowed by the late Peter McEntyre, mayor of Westmount from 1969 to 1971, the competition encourages young writers to express themselves on a designated topic, each designed to get the creative juices flowing. It is coordinated each year by the Westmount Public Library.
In 2016, “Building Bridges” was the topic assigned to students in grades 1 through 11.
Westmount Magazine presents the full texts of the first-place entries in each grade category, as supplied by the Westmount Public Library.
Here we present Grade 8.
EIGTH GRADE | FIRST PRIZE | WESTMOUNT HIGH SCHOOL
The kids in my class say I should grow up, but what’s the point? I don’t want to get a job when I’m sixteen, move out when I’m eighteen. I refuse! Sometimes though, I consider it. Then I realize that I would have to marry my boyfriend or girlfriend and then fight all the time. Not with kicks or fists, just words; the kind of words that take an instant to say, a second to hear and a lifetime to forget. The kind that you listen to everyday afterschool through the walls, coming from both your mom and your dad, even when they think you’re not close enough to hear. The same kind that get thrown at you in school, like a grenade that can break the barrier between you and reality; the kind that take an instant to say, a second to hear, and a lifetime to forget. Growing up means I would have to give up my cartoons, my toys, and my dreams. I would give up thinking and just resort to saying or suppressing what I want to say. Forget it. It’s not happening.
The kids in my class don’t understand me. In a way that gives me an advantage. They’ll never know what it takes to have a dream while awake; to be awake in a dream. To see what it’s like in my brain; it’s like islands in an ocean, floating aimlessly through the waters like the waves themselves. Folding, moving, rippling. Evaporating droplet by droplet into clouds that tell a story with the ideas you forgot. You sail with whatever your mind creates, on to the only things solid enough to depend on … the islands. Islands, which can sink with time, or last forever. They bobble in your head like a thought that one ponders over for hours on end until they do something about it. It takes a genius to figure out certain things in this world, but their brilliance stems from the islands inside their head. Or their ability to swim, fly and dream. I can do all three. The most fascinating thing about my brain is my ability to connect. Every island that I create, I make a bridge long enough to reach both ends of the ocean for. One day, all the islands will be connected with a bridge that’ll never break, crack or creak. But for now they are fragile. Just like me.
The people in my world are all their own person. There are no followers, only leaders. They never fight, yell or judge, but they can cry, because everybody needs to cry sometimes. The bridges allow them to travel, allow me to travel, allow thoughts to travel. Just like a blanket of stars they are connected. Like a blanket for the gods and goddesses; any god, any goddess, any belief. Below sea level, I let my feelings of anger and sorrow unfold. As they exit my body, I swim. Swim back to solid ground. Swim to the bridges. It allows me to walk over the anger instead of hurling it at someone who doesn’t deserve it. As I walk on the bridge, over the anger, I watch. Watch as the sadness and frustration sink. Sink deep into the blue that is the ocean, deep into the lowest part of my brain. But it’s still there. Just like the enormous pit of a peach being removed, only to be planted and reborn in a brand new peach with the same old anger.
Maybe it’s like the islands. Maybe all the anger and sadness swirl around in our heads until we do something about it. Is it possible that when we let our words soar in the sky and say how we really feel, the bridges collapse? Or do they grow stronger? Would you grow up?
Sometimes I wonder: Why can’t a kid just be a kid?
McEntyre Writing Competition 2017
The 2017 edition of the McEntyre Writing Competition is currently underway and the theme is “Secret Places, Hidden Treasures”.
You may compete if you go to school in Westmount (elementary or secondary, grades 1–11), live in Westmount, or are a member of a library in Westmount.
Submit your entry to the Children’s Desk, Westmount Public Library, no later than 9 pm on Friday, April 7, 2017.
To find out how to participate, please visit the Library’s website.
Concours littéraire McEntyre 2017
L’édition 2017 du Concours littéraire McEntyre est en cours et le thème est « Des endroits secrets et des trésors cachés ».
Tous les élèves du primaire (1–6) et du secondaire (1–5) qui fréquentent une école de Westmount, qui sont domiciliés à Westmount ou qui sont abonnés à une bibliothèque de Westmount peuvent participer au concours.
Tous les textes doivent parvenir à la Bibliothèque publique de Westmount avant 21h le vendredi 7 avril 2017.
Pour savoir comment participer, veuillez visiter le site web de la Bibliothèque.