Locavore Lit LA engages students with diverse authors of all genres who inspire them to write their own stories and poems. As the program’s mission is to spark a love of reading and writing this is the most gratifying outcome for us. We are always happy when the students jump right in and appreciate the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings in words. We look forward to expanding this website to provide a place for young people to submit and share their original writing.
Here are some examples of student work from the classroom:
Student Stories from Fairfax High School
Angelina Coppola visited the visual art class and spoke about her story “Haze,” guiding students through a creative writing “free write” exercise.
Writing prompt: write about a place you like to go to by yourself and describe it using your five senses:
I love to spend time in my room by myself. It is my safe place, my wonderland, my own universe. My room is always cold, the sheets of my bed are as well, just the way I like it. The cold water I drink at midnight, the scent of fresh linen like it just came out of the dryer.
It’s quiet because all I hear are cicadas and the occasional police siren. Outside our gates is dirty and dangerous. Yet I feel safer here than anyone else. The smell of potatoes and meat, followed by the sweet voice of my grandma. It’s a sound so soft it makes you want to cry.
A place I like to go by myself is the bus. Before Covid-19, I very much enjoyed taking the bus ride home, and always hearing the familiar motor hums and released pressure of the vehicle. The smell of gas and the dirty rubber tires have slowly gotten more comforting than unpleasant the more times I step on. I often see some familiar faces that take similar routes, or new faces that I will only see once. It’s nice to people-watch sometimes since how they portray themselves can be very inspirational. On both hot and cold days, the bus can act as a little safe-spot, since I usually cool my hands on the smooth, icy metal poles or warm up against the slightly fuzzy chairs. I’m not sure what I would taste on the bus, that would be more concerning than anything, especially since I find it rude to eat in a car or bus. I also enjoy simply being alone with my thoughts, because I rarely have time to be away from my family or people who just make me feel suffocated.
Excerpts of Student Stories from James A. Foshay Learning Center
Prompt: Write a deleted scene from one of your favorite shows or choose a place and an emotion and write a story incorporating both.
Queen’s Gambit. It’s beauty, not all just strategy, you know? Contact with the icy Queen sends a flutter down his fingertips. After contemplating whether to move to her left or right, up or down, diagonal, but as the Queen stands there, looking out onto the board of 64 little black and white squares, with the smell of rusted plastic she herself was created from, she realizes she is more than just beauty but strategy too, a little part in the bigger story. The spoon that carries the food that eats, and at times, there are sacrifices that must be made, but it’s incomparable to the surge of satisfaction of a game well played, the sound of the timer ticking “Checkmate.”
There is this little store in a corner. It isn’t big. It’s yellow paint is already chipping, the floors aren’t a clear color, the lights are a bright nauseating white, and the place is worn down from age. Its scent is of meat that you can smell, only slightly, but the rest of it is this empty scent that I can never identify. The taste of the products isn’t anything special because they can be bought anywhere, but that place is irreplaceable. A little market that can be replaced by most is one of the most alive places that I’ve been to, not because of the noise from the customers but the slight shuffles, the cracking of plastic, and the beeping of the cashiers make it feel like an alive place without loud noise. Touch is the last sense and the place isn’t remarkable but the feel of the place is a jewel in a quarry of rocks because everything there feels like a trace of nostalgia to it or a strange wonder that begs to be discovered.
In this diner, the smell of fresh coffee is like a welcome sign. Kids yelling like uncivilized citizens and parents running around to calm them. “Honey, come back,” said a mother to her child. The child yelled back and said, “NOOOOOO!!” This diner has workers that I’m on first-name basis with. “Hey, Alondra,” I said. Alondra looked back with glee and said, “There is my favorite customer, the usual number 15?” “Yes,” I replied. The taste of the warm coffee on a cold winter evening is just what I needed to start my meal. I grab the menu which is sticky as always with maple syrup and begin to read off the pie selections. Then I see the usual late night truckers come in. Their odor is always like a lumberjack in the woods. They are very kind to the workers and leave great tips. This diner is a welcome sign.
The train ride to USC is pretty calming. I can’t really smell anything and I’m typically listening to music. I always go by myself and just stand and observe everyone else. If I had to compare it to anything it would be “the calm before the storm.” The storm being walking into class and the calm would be walking by myself. As for taste, my mouth would still taste like mint toothpaste, and my hands are always in my pockets.
Prompt: Write about a physical problem and a physical solution to it.
I cannot sleep. The more time that goes by, the more I cannot sleep. I first think it’s something in my mind that won’t let me sleep, but it isn’t that. Everything in my mind that I can think about that won’t let me sleep I already dealt with, so it isn’t that. My body and my mind are so tired, yet I can’t go to sleep. Perhaps it’s the position that I’m in, so I switched from sleeping on my back to my left side, then to my right. Both didn’t work, so I flipped to my back. The more time that passed, the more I felt tired. Then I realized why I couldn’t sleep. It was very simple. I flipped my pillow to the cold side and—boom—I went to sleep.
Rolling out of bed everyday is really annoying. The sun shining through my dark curtains showing the little white specs of whatever they are dancing in the morning sunlight makes me happy for the slightest second. Then I close the curtains and put on a hoodie, jeans, and shoes, I go to open my door and turn the ice cold knob. The turning feeling I used to get in my stomach is slight now, and I’ve honestly given up on caring. I went to the bathroom and brushed my teeth and washed my face, then I scanned my brown face. I notice my curly hair, my eyebrows, button nose, fat cheeks, forehead, and hope that I look nothing like my father. Even though I’ve never met him or seen a picture, my mom always looked at me like I wasn’t supposed to look like I did. I grab my phone and earphones, turn on “This is a Match into Water” with the volume so high my ears ring after the music stops.
“Creek, creeeek,” is what the house says as if it’s an aching elderly person, but I guess it is. This house is so old the cream paint is more of a light tan color. If I were to try and sneak in or out of this house, I would be found out in a second. The outside is worse. If I had friends, I wouldn’t bring them here. There’s withered brown leaves all over that belong to the twisted tree, and where green grass is supposed to flourish is now a patch of brown and tan that when stepped on sounds like cracking bones in the front yard.
My adoptive mom, Sheral, hates the tree. She thinks it’s ugly, but I really enjoy admiring it from my room window. The dark brown, almost black bark that when peeled shows the softest brown and tan swirl design ever. The long, bending, and twisted branches with bunches of yellow leaves look like souls trying to give flowers to the heavens. There’s beauty in the strangest places. I look to the clouds trying to see sunlight and blue skies. It reminds me of hard but happy times. Looking up in green grass and appreciating the moment—the warm, crisp wind lifting the small hairs on my arm while slightly pushing my fly-aways in all directions. The sharp grass stabbing my thighs and filling my nose with a burning scent of freshly cut grass, and the sunlight giving the world some of its yellow glow—making everything look gold. The heat combined with the wind felt like a cushiony hug that melted all of the bad feelings away. But now all I see is clouds and all I smell is smog. I walk on concrete and dodge dust-filled winds. Everyday is the same routine—I’m sick of it. The pain in my chest is becoming very hard to bear, but the pain in my chest is also a reminder that I’m still able to feel.
Short writing by students at Foshay Learning Center
Prompt: Take a line from one of the poems we’ve discussed and use it in a poem of your own.
She is what most people call a figment of my imagination
People say she not real
But I disagree with them
They ask what’s her name
I say it’s a human name
They ask what school she goes to
I say a different school
They ask how she looks like
I say like a human
They ask how we met
I say randomly
They say she not real
But I know she is
They find out
That’s she wasn’t real
She said “my baa-baa would tell me if I were to catch a falling leaf and make a wish it would come true,” looking up at the tree with a smile on her face.
Bull! “I thought you were supposed to make a wish on a star.”
“Well, does that work? How many of your wishes came true?”
“Well, none, but I don’t know, it’s maybe cuz—”
“It’s cuz you’ve been doing it wrong, trust me.”
They caught the leaves and made their wishes. She looked at the withered old leaf with a tear streaming down her face.
“I guess that wasn’t right either…huh, Lee.”