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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write something in the YOUNG ADULT or TEEN genre (06/07/07)

TITLE: A Letter From A Teen
By Paul Potenza


A Letter From A Teen

I don't hate you mom and pop...but always there was the music. It cut through me like a knife. I don't make that statement lightly having been through three operations for tumors on my intestines before I was out of my teenage years.

And I know that I don't talk a lot to you but you have to know that I love you. Please don't ever forget that.

It's just that I'm not sure that you get it. I know that you guys have been through a lot too.

Mom raised me without a father for the first eight years of my life, and she did it while putting herself through nursing school AND working at a bus station snack bar aboard Camp LeJeune.

When Pop finally DID come along, I just couldn't trust him at first. But the dirty old slob wormed his way into my heart by being faithful to my mom forever. I think that I loved him because he was full of music. Man, that guy could play a guitar. He taught me the opening riff to "Smoke On The Water". I must have played that riff a million times.

And the poetry.

It filled me with wonder and understanding and despair and newness and life and death.

A lot of my friends took the long walk. I've been at the edge too. I've often wondered what it would be like to walk off.

Don't be scared. I'm not stupid.

This letter is not about you. It's about me and what I feel. There's a lot of things that we can't talk about.

Sex is one of them. It sits on my head like a giant elephant with a flag in it's trunk and when we sit down to talk, I just can't understand why you are so clueless.

You always tell me that I can talk to you about anything but to be honest with you, I can't. Not about this.

So I guess I'll just keep truckin'.

I feel so alone.

If I hang myself tonight, will it make any difference to anyone tomorrow?

Don't panic...I'm not suicidal...

It's just that there's a lot going on in my life that I can't tell you about.


You did O.K. bringing me up. I won't let you down.

Mom...I Love you. You're my BEST friend. There is NO ONE in this world that I can turn to that could make me feel special like you do.

Pop...I know that you looked for the poem that I wrote when I was having my surgeries...Thanks for that. Thanks for giving me the music.

I guess it's my turn to give.

"Smooooke on the WAAATER...Fire IN the SKY!"

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This article has been read 639 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jacquelyn Horne06/15/07
I'm a little confused here. Your parents probably know what you are saying about the music, etc. But as a reader I don't have a clue. However, this is a good letter to someone who does understand the implications.
Joanne Sher 06/15/07
I definitely wanted more here! More detail about the back story of this, more on what the teen is going through - but that is a sign of a well-written piece. Keep writing!
Kristen Hester06/19/07
This letter seemed very authentic. However, I wanted to know more. Nice job. Keep writing!
Victoria Weathers06/19/07
The letter seemed to assume I knew more than I actually did. The idea is good. The voice was real. I just had a hard time getting some of it.
Deborah Porter 07/23/07
Hi Paul. Forgive me for contacting you this way, but I don't know if you have the private messenger. I've sent you a message, but if you don't get it, could you send me a private message immediately, with your email address. It's about your latest Challenge entry. With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)