2018 Summer Writers Workshop student writing

Each year, 826LA invites middle and high school students to take part in our Summer Writers Workshop, an immersive five-day workshop to explore different forms of writing and build their confidence as writers. Led by renowned Los Angeles poets, writers, artists, and 826LA staff, this year’s Summer Writers Workshop focused on themes of futurism, reimagination, and identity. 

Our 2018 guest workshop leaders  Doug Brown, Theresa Sotto, Tara Burns, Erin Christovale, Ashaki Jackson, Muriel Leung, Michael Reyes, Theresa Sotto, and Stacey Vigallon challenged students to expand their writing through myth and folklore, art and introspection, and less traditional forms of poetry. Read on for selections of student writing from this year’s Summer Writers Workshop on both sides of town.

Lesson One… 
Natalie S.














The abandoned.
Yazmine G.

The abandoned street diner where no
cars drive-in. The blinking street light
that has a meaning.
All is bland
All is unspeakable.
But the night gets longer and the days get shorter.

“All the stars are closer”

All is old and the 80’s are gone
and devices are in. There is no
looking back at what has been done.
Everything stands still, nothing moves.
Grasshopper jumped away
everything left.
Everything dies inside.

“All the stars are closer”

But nothing holds back.
Everything showed
even the blind.
The light was a sign.
A sign of hope.

Wasteland After the Ink Spots
Wyatt A.

The waste land before my feet unsettles me
The land that was once here haunts me
The dead man’s grave lays in front of me

I’ll never forget what happened that day
I called it off yet the bombs still came
I never wanted to hurt you my love

“I don’t want to set the world on fire, I just want to start a flame in your heart”

The men were marching to their doom
The choice was never theirs
The army never had a chance against their weaponry

By the time it hit the news it was too late
By the time you knew, you didn’t have the time to get cover
By the time I knew, I didn’t get say goodbye

The screams on the news
The dreams that I had… All faded

“I don’t want to set the world on fire, I just want to start a flame in your heart”

But the future awaits me
The future breaks me
I want to go back, yet I can’t
I want to fix everything
I want to…
I want the chance to say goodbye

“I don’t want to set the world on fire, I just want to start a flame in your heart”

Am I? 
Gabriella R.














How to Be Your Best You! 
Maddy T.

Inspired by Megan Whitmarsh and Jade Gordon’s exhibit OURCHETYPES at the Hammer Museum

1. Stop wondering if you are good enough.
2. Don’t push compliments away.
3. Let love from others into your life.
4. Take time to talk about your day.
5. Be proud of your taste in music.
6. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, including yourself.
7. Love others immensely.
8. Take care of your mind, body, and soul.
9. Don’t waste your time waiting hours for someone who wouldn’t wait five seconds for you.
10. Remember that it’s okay to feel down sometimes because you’re strong enough to make it through anything.

1. Your are good enough. You are good enough for everyone in your life. You are good enough for yourself. Take all your insecurities and doubts and silence them with some Britney Spears and endless hours of dancing in your bedroom.
2. You deserve every smile, compliment, and bit of recognition that you recieve. You are so worthy of love and acknowledgement for all of the greatness that you’ve achieved.
3. It’s time to stop thinking that you are unworthy of accepting love. You’re a magnet and are completely and utterly worthy of accepting all the love you attract.
4. It’s ok to rant about how amazing, awful, or just “okay” your day was. Keep a diary journal and write, write, write, write your stress away!
5. Embrace the aux! Shake off any anxious thoughts or feelings that may be clouding your mind, take a deep breath, and let your funky music play.
6. You are a completely different person than you were last year or will be next year. You’re full of experience, knowledge, and love and everything beautiful, unique, and extraordinary about you is different than anyone else in the world. You’re one of a kind and you should never limit your greatness by trying to become someone else.
7. Anyone would be lucky to receive the love you have to give and you’ll find that the love you pour out onto others will fill you with happiness, exuberance, and completeness.
8. Deep breaths, essential oil, exercise, and laughter will relax and make you the happiest version of you that you will surely fall in love with. Seriously, don’t forget to laugh A LOT!
9. Cut out the toxicity in your life and replace it with genuinity, acceptance, and good vibes. Never let anyone try to put out the intense, beautiful, and awe-inspiring flame that makes you you.
10. You are strong, powerful, and capable of making it past any obstacle that you may be facing. Some days will not be easy but you should never give up because all of your struggles will be worth it in the end. Also, if no one has said it to you today, I love and believe in you.

FIFA World Cup 2018 
Andres M.














See photos from the 2018 Summer Writers Worksohp on our Flickr here.

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