No one else in the neighborhood had signed up: only Gerald Dirkley and his wife were that traumatized by their smashed mailbox, and they gladly covered all the shifts, pacing up and down the street from ten to dawn with their industrial flashlights and three-ounce cans of pepper spray.
Through my door frame, my dad threw a half-eaten banana, just starting to brown, young in its death.
I watched mercury go into retrograde; that month, I avoided four-way intersections and making toast.
The giraffe in the grass eyed our cameras, crumpled, clearly suspicious but unable to hide the gleam of sweat and life that encased its newborn body.
Beebee lay in his treehouse, noted the path a spider took as it crawled above him to the hum of a chainsaw, and waited for the world to end.
These black arrows step too fast for the clouds and too slow for the rain.
Each time a cat or a human or a leaf crossed onto the family’s property, Milo would race to the door, leaving claw marks like cave drawings; it would all have to be repainted.
To Sean, it seemed as if the night had drawn a curtain between him and the other boys, as if dense trees stood there; he gripped the knife tightly.
With each stride, his watch glinted against the sun like an airplane on a bleak sky.
I live an hour ahead of you, but we sleep in the same bedroom.
Don’t watch me when I’m eating.
If ever you find yourself at a lack for writing ideas over the summer (which we, kindred spirits to your creative mind, certainly hope you will not), we offer you this: write your own Pencil Shavings and submit them anytime. We are opening the submissions manager for Pencil Shavings only—all summer.
Remember: A “pencil shaving” is a single sentence—silly or serious, narrative or declarative, poetic or frenetic—written in response to a topic chosen by the editors, such as “greetings” and “baldness” and “residue.” From the collections of shavings submissions, the editors compile the most interesting assortments and post them here Write as many as you want, and if you like them, send us your favorites. Some of the ones I’ve come up with in the past have proven perfect launching points for longer pieces (plus, they’re a lot of fun).
The spark words (yes, in the plural) for the summer are “Ace,” as at the start of the month, and “Pocket,” which is brand-spanking new! We wish you all the best in your writing endeavors and cannot wait to get back to publishing your prose and poetry in the fall. Thank you, writers, for all of your hard work, and you, readers, for reading. You are a constant source of encouragement for us editors, as well as for the extraordinary teenage writers who allow us to showcase their work. Have a wonderful summer (and send us your Pencil Shavings)!