Winner of the July 2019 Writing Contest!

Written by Maria Manevich

Our prompt for July 2019 has been:

The protagonist receives a box that had been locked for 20 years. What happens next?

Prompt 19 07

This month picking a winner was harder than usual. So many good stories to choose from!

Before we declare the winner, here are two stories we couldn’t pass on praising.

This month’s honorable mentions are:

  • “Extra Inhales” by Jana Gypsy Jo, featuring a very interesting protagonist and great indirect characterization
  • “January 19th” by Julie Squires, with its realistic presentation of truly dramatic events

And now, without further ado, the winner of our July story contest is… “Still Growing Up” by Hope Olivia!

We were impressed by how much Hope Olivia has packed into 352 words, especially since the story manages to present two such distinct voices. She made us care about the characters. And she made us smile.

Great work, Hope Olivia!

You can read the winning entry below:

Still Growing Up

By Hope Olivia

It has been twenty years since I was fourteen. A teenage girl with a plethora of crushes, countless mistakes, and just learning how to grow up. It seems forever ago that I wrote this letter to my future self and placed it into the memory box that my class planted in the ground.

I’m staring at the envelope with my name written horribly in cursive writing. What did I write in this?

“Hey, you okay?” I jumped as my old classmate asked me.

“Oh of course, why are you asking?”

“Your hands are shaking a little and you haven’t opened your letter yet.” At that moment I looked at my hands and she was right, my hands were shaking, why? I took a deep breath, and carefully opened the letter so not to create any rips. I unfolded the letter and started reading.


Dear Future Hope,

I’m not sure when you will be reading this, but I hope your doing okay. I mean not perfect, but okay. It’s currently sunny today and the last day of eighth grade. I’m going to be honest I’m a little scared to enter high school, but I’m excited. I can’t wait to join clubs and grow up…

God why was I rushing?

… and make my own decisions. After that I go to college. Wow I’m so excited. Ok enough stalling. The real thing I wanted to say is, stop. Stop worrying about everything. I know you. You stress and get upset. You always forget about your happiness. So stop. Stop for a second and breath. Relax, close your eyes, and listen. Listen to everything around you and not your head for a second.

Love yourself,

Past Hope

I reread the last few sentences countless times. I look up and around me and see my past classmates discovering past objects that were buried with the box. An old uniform, a picture of my class, and many other inside jokes. I laugh to myself. I feel like a little kid. Happy and excited again. I still have so much to learn. I guess I still am growing up.