Writing Gallery


826CHI celebrates the National!

In honour of our friends the National releasing their new album, High Violet, today we thought we'd post a couple excerpts from articles some 826CHI middle school students wrote last summer when they interviewed the band at the Pitchfork Music Festival. Enjoy!

From Mason Hammond's "Pitchfork Music Festival":

The National are headliners for Pitchfork this year. Their band name is a mistake of nature – they tried to make the name boring, so that it would be cool in a sense, yet in spite of the boring name they are known worldwide. They have played all over the US, as well as in Russia, Greece, Istanbul, and more. This is their second year at Pitchfork but they’ve been a band for ten years, while only vastly popular for two years.

Their most successful song is "Fake Empire," because of its wide use, being included in an Obama presidential campaign commercial. Their influences are Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, the Pixies, and Pavement. They think that music can be political and create political songs themselves sometimes, but they really just want their music to be fun.

From Jamari Brown's "Pitchfork Madness":

Last but not least I interviewed "The National." They tried to come up with a really boring name but at the same time make it "cooler than cool." This was the National's second year at the Pitchfork Music Festival. Their musical themes are romance, insecurity, and scaredness.

The Fat, Hairless Hamster Hits the Waterpark

Once upon a time, in the freezing cold city of Newer Mexico, there was an epic waterpark called Crocodile Palace. This waterpark had fifty million rides, including hamster rides, two-thousand foot tall water slides, and The Intergalactic Drop, which brings you all the way to Otter Space and back again. At Crocodile Palace, there was a superfan. His name was Chew-Cho, and he was a fat, hairless, green, scaredy hamster.

Chew-Cho was afraid of clowns, tomatoes, and giant bananas. But, miraculously, Chew-Cho was not afraid of water slides. In fact, he had bravely snuck onto an airplane headed for Newer Mexico so he could experience Crocodile Palace for himself. It was also easy for him to parachute out of the plane, because its cargo was clowns, tomatoes and giant bananas. But, he did not just ride the rides from top to bottom, he also loved to climb straight back up the tubes and tunnels.

His absolute number-one favorite ride in the whole park was the Devil Fire Slide. You rode upside down twenty million feet through walls of fire and ghoulish shadows. "Oh yeah, baby!" Chew-Cho would shout as he zipped through the water slide at one thousand miles per hour. When he reached the end, he would turn around and scamper right back up to the top again.

On Take Your Clown, Tomato, or Giant Banana to the Waterpark Day, Chew-Cho would normally hide underwater with his goggles and snorkle until all of the frightening guests left. This year, the day actually lasted for forty-eight hours. When he emerged from the jacuzzi he was hiding in, he was shocked to realize it was still his least favorite holiday!

What happens next?! Will Chew-Cho survive Take Your Clown, Tomato, or Giant Banana to the Waterpark Day? Will he get to ride his beloved Devil Fire Slide ever again? Finish the story yourself, and send it to [email protected].

A Cup of Milk in Space and Cookies in a Girl’s Hand

This story is featured in Houston, We Have a Poem, now available in The Boring Store

There was a girl who went to space because she had science homework. The girl went to space and the cookies said to the milk, “I hate it when we fight.”

The milk said, “I forgive you.”

Then the cookies went back to the milk, and they lived happily ever after. If you are in space and you eat cookies, you will float and your cookies will float too.

Black Holes

Black holes are
and not very
If I were
to meet
my mind
would go…


This poem is featured in Houston, We Have a Poem, our newest chapbook. The book celebrates Prom Hanks and National Poetry Month. Tevin Y. wrote this poem to commemorate both, combining poetry with Apollo 13. Stop into The Boring Store to pick up your copy.

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And the Rest Is Noise

Interviews & Reflections From The Students Of 826CHI’s 2017 Pitchfork Music Writing Intensive

by the 826CHI Teen Press Corps

Read it here >>

On Our Way Home

by Sofiya C., grade 8


by Sam W, grade 9