I’ve been thinking about the toll that lockdown is taking on young people in particular, and about how little we get to hear from young people themselves about the effects of this strange, frightening time. I know I keep saying this but YOUR VOICES ARE IMPORTANT and we as adults need to listen to you and to pay attention when you speak. So I’m asking in this post to hear from you about your lives now: what are the details of the ways in which they are different, and how can you articulate your own experiences and perceptions of this time? Has the passage of time itself been affected for you? Are your dreams different? What about friendships, and the ways in which you observe and participate in the world around you? Has your world become smaller, or conversely has immersion in social media (maybe even doomscrolling) made the world unbearably larger? How do you connect and communicate with people? Are there aspects of the world which have become more apparent because of lockdown, whether tiny details or huge social justice issues?
I have a strong sense of injustice for young people when I read about unpredictable, constantly changing plans for schools and exams, and especially when I see that the views and feelings of young people seem to be being completely overlooked in the ongoing discussions and constant conflicting pronouncements. You guys are the decision-makers of the future and it is your lives which are being decided on at the moment. So this is a call to you, as young writers, to speak out. In any way you like – it doesn’t have to address anything I’ve mentioned here, but it can if you want. I’m sure there are things about being in lockdown when you’re young that I haven’t even thought about (which means that other adults may not have considered them either).
And of course, if the last thing you want to do is think about lockdown, this can also be a space where you can explore your imagination and write about whatever is in your head.
Rhyme Rag remains open to young writers from all over Ireland, so spread the word and look out for the many brilliant new selections due to appear on the site soon.
I look forward to hearing from you!