MAEVE WILBOURN, 17
Maeve Wilbourn, from Grand Rapids, Michigan, is passionate about reading, writing, music, playing guitar, collecting records, art, and growing plants. She enjoys writing poems and short stories and is a locally published author with the Creative Youth Center’s Book of Explosions. She has kept more than thirty plants alive and happy for two years, including an Echeveria Moonstone. Wilbourn’s writing takes the form of poetry and short stories, both with lots of run-on sentences. Writing allows her to fully express herself on paper in an environment where she is not thinking of how everyone will judge her work. She gets to say what she wants, when she wants, and nobody can tell her how to go about doing it.
Wilbourn hopes that all youth—including herself—can continue to be heard louder and louder. Their views and opinions are vital for the future of the entire Earth, yet they are often cast aside. There are many issues, ranging from gun control to climate change, that directly affect youth and that they frequently speak out against, but are frequently ignored. She feels that young people are a part of the past and the present and the future, and that people in power often forget that youth are powerful, too. Gun violence in schools is a pressing matter that affects Wilbourn, her classmates, and students all over the United States right now. It shouldn’t have to be said that an environment where student lives could be in danger at any time should not exist. She and her classmates have walked out, they have marched, they have sent letters, and still nothing has changed. Wilbourn pushes America to tighten their infamously lax gun laws in order to clot the open wound of improper gun control.
by Maeve Wilbourn
Over my bed hangs a painting that my great-grandmother painted of my mother playing with a dog with a bright pink ball. They’re on the beach and my mother’s hair is in a bright, pink ponytail; the dog is a scrappy little brown guy waiting for the ball to be tossed. My mom first told me about the painting ages ago. I might have been 10. She told me that her grandmother, my great-grandmother, had painted it with oils and she was about my age in the scene. I remember falling asleep thinking how cool it was that I had a painting of my own mother above my bed.
* * *
My mother doesn’t wear anything now that I would wear, but there is one thing of hers that is in my hands now– a giant 80’s red jacket with two giant pockets all made of a velvet material. I love wearing it. It looks so wrong on me and so wrong on me in this time period that it’s almost right. I’ve seen very few photos of my mom from the 80’s, from her teens and early 20s, and I know I don’t wear it the same way she did, but it reminds me of her.
* * *
My mother used to keep her records in a box in the basement and I never knew why. Of course, our record player was broken, but as I got older I got more and more curious. So I took them out and made room on my bookshelf and I propped them up like they’d always belonged there. Of course I’m only “borrowing” them, even though I have my own record player now and they are essentially mine. I always, always wanted The Cure and Jimi Hendrix and U2 and Elvis Costello on my shelves. They were so cool, and now I get to call them mine.
* * *
My mother has never been a hoarder. I know she keeps important things in safe places, unlike my father, who keeps his old photos that go back to his father as a teenage football player in an overfilled envelope in a box. Something that’s always seemed important to my mom is her mother’s and her aunt’s things, for they have since moved on. One of these things is one of my great Aunt Betty’s purses, framed in my parent’s room. It’s gold with a little gold chain handle and it sparkles in the light. Anything that used to belong to my grandmother holds importance to my mother. It’s something to hold on to, maybe not so physically as a purse.
* * *
My grandmother’s fur coat has hung in the back of my closet ever since my room became my own– a dark shape that I was never allowed to touch. I asked year after year to try it on, the answer always a no. Until this spring.
When I was younger, the no was because I was too clumsy and juvenile and I would ruin the mink. Later, my grandmother passed away and that was added to the list of reasons. If I ruin it now, there can be no repentance. But this spring, I took off my jacket and I pulled on the fur coat and I told my mom I felt like this was the outfit I’d wear when I showed up to my own funeral after I faked my death. She laughed.
* * *
I wonder why my mother kept the things she kept and I wonder what I’ll keep of hers. How long until the painting fades? How many times can I spin The Steve Miller Band Greatest Hits before it warps into oblivion? Who will keep my things after I’m gone?