Start.Write.Now

Wrapping Up August Start.Write.Now: See what’s for lunch!

Jumping off of Awards alum Jesse Manning's prompt, RAL artists and writers explore the theme "what's for lunch?"

Featured image: Split by Amanda B.

And just like that, August is over! It’s hard to remember what we did other than watch Stranger Things 3 in the past four weeks, yet somehow we’re already in back-to-school mode (aka back-to-Awards mode) and saying goodbye to summer.

We started this month with a bang, thanks to the creativity of our RAL artists and writers, and the inspiration of our Scholastic Awards Alumnus Jesse Manning, and now it’s time to close out just as strong.

Since August 1, artists and writers throughout the RAL world have been busy chewing over Manning’s thought provoking–and mouthwatering–question. Thank you to all of the amazing creatives who participated in the August Start.Write.Now challenge, whether you chose to share your work with us or played it close to the vest. Our team here at the Alliance reviewed every single piece of work that was emailed in . . . and the smartest among us did so over lunch.

Now, without further ado, pull up your chair, tuck in your napkin, and prepare to enjoy a small taste of the brilliant works created by our talented RAL community in response to Manning’s timeless question: What’s for lunch?

And our lucky $25 Amazon gift card winners are…

Gift card winners are randomly selected from all participants who emailed in work

What’s for Lunch? by Kaylee C., SC

Writer’s Statement: My parents immigrated from China twenty years ago, and one way that they try to maintain their culture more than 7,000 miles away from home is cooking. This is most likely also true for many other immigrant families in the U.S. The experiences I shared in my work reflect the struggles in doing so. I’ve learned that how others view my culture is not nearly as important as how I view it.

What’s for Lunch? by Graci M., TX

Writer’s Statement: “What’s for Lunch?” is a fictional memoir that takes place in the Italian ghettos of Queens. Although I used the prompt directly, I wanted the naïve and innocent question to reveal deep and thought-provoking aspects of the character Antonio’s life without tons of needless and obvious exposition. Thanks to Jesse Manning for such a fun prompt!

Now more creations from talented RAL teens!

Cravings (Erasure) by Aminah A., CA

Writer’s Statement: I’d never written a poem about food before, so this prompt really inspired me to look outside of my comfort zone, and truly reflect on my relationship with food. The truth is, I try to eat as healthily as possible, but sometimes I have cravings. This poem, an erasure from Maya Angelou’s “The Health-Food Diner,” is my answer to the question, “What’s for lunch?”

Urban Triumph by Gwendolyn S., NY

Writer’s Statement: A “what’s for lunch?” today would be very different than a “what’s for lunch?” during the World War I era. The latter is what I focused on: during those times, many civilians had victory gardens to grow their own food. The following piece ties in this idea in a historical fiction narrative centered on the loving relationship between a young girl and her grandfather.

The Point of Leftovers by Katelyn T., UT

Writer’s Statement: I was inspired to create The Point of Leftovers from the prompt “What’s for lunch?”, because it reminded me of my and my brothers’ personal experiences from a young age. When I was younger, I remember being absolutely horrified by leftovers constantly, even if the food was perfectly good the night we originally ate it, had enjoyed it then, and it was still good. At least once a week, when we’d ask “What’s for lunch?”, we’d get a response that we were to eat the dreaded leftovers. Cleaning out the fridge was often a chore that we “forgot” to do and instead ignored everything that was in there. Sometimes for weeks at a time. So this piece is from the perspective of the food that is unwanted, gets forgotten, and is simply disliked, especially when it’s brought out again to be consumed.

Instant Satisfaction by Ava K.

Tea-time and the State of Affairs by Charlotte C., Washington, D.C.

Writer’s Statement: Taiwanese people tend to use matters of food to inquire about the well-being of others. For example, asking if someone has eaten is a way of checking in with someone. The phrase “What’s for lunch?” reminded me of that same sentiment and inspired me to write about the state of many parts of our world today. “Tea-time and the State of Affairs” is meant to showcase the tendency of people to be apathetic as well as the disparity between the wealthy and powerful and everyone else. High tea is often a luxurious event, and in this instance, the people in my poem are indulging in this extravagant meal that is not so subtly sinister and ominous. Meanwhile, their world collapses around them while they continue onwards, purposefully ignorant.

food for thought by Charlotte C., Washington, D.C.

Writer’s Statement: My poem, “food for thought” starts out with a lot of philosophical musings of the protagonist, a girl. I was inspired by the prompt “What’s for lunch?” to write this poem, which is somewhat abstract and has a surprise ending. One of my bad habits is playing with food and I thought that it would be intriguing if I wrote a poem that was intrinsically philosophical and serious but has a literal twist that is meant to be thought-provoking and amusing.

Disclaimer: The thoughts, views, and opinions expressed in the above pieces of writing and artwork belong solely to the student author or artist. These do not represent the views of the RAL Scholastic Art & Writing Awards or the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. The Alliance does not have ownership or copyright over the works shared in this post; they belong solely to the student author or artist.

Thank you to everyone who had fun participating in Start.Write.Now this summer! Don’t forget to submit your next creation to the 2020 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards when submissions open on September 12!

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