Here we are


Kiera Kemppainen

The light at the end of the tunnel: 100 stories written, who knows how many to go.

These are the words I thought I’d never write.

This is my 100th story for The Central Trend

100 stories written, (nearly) 100 stressful nights spent writing. Two, going on three, years have been not merely a rollercoaster, but neverending whiplash. Every story written, every assignment given, is more robust than “bittersweet” could ever describe. I’m sure I could scour for a word that feels as though it could stretch just big enough to vaguely describe how I feel, but frankly, I’ve overworked my Google use for synonyms by now. And in the end, no type-written jumble of characters can explain my experiences. 

I never thought I was meant to write. As a kid, I enjoyed writing in school, but not to a level that I could picture myself doing it for fun. I would read my classmates’ entries in their writing journals and see that I wasn’t meant to be a writer.

This class wasn’t meant for me.

When I stumbled upon The Central Trend at roughly ten years old, I thought there was a way I could simply edit and not write. I’ve always had an affinity for grammar and spelling. In eighth grade, I was the editor of the yearbook. I pushed so hard for the leadership role so I could edit, edit, and edit. The fact that I had to write an excerpt to get into that role slipped my mind.

These are the words I thought I’d never write.”

During the eighth grade open house where teams and classes are set up for incoming freshmen, I ran into Mr. George. My mom, quite naturally for her, immediately told him I was the editor of my eighth-grade yearbook when he said he ran The Central Trend. He told me to join, and so I did.

The start was a trainwreck. For the life of me, I can’t remember the topic of my first two columns, but I can remember the big fat Cs that were handed back to me; thirteen-year-old Kiera was humbled very quickly. 

I wasn’t meant for this class.

Painstakingly slowly, I learned to write. I began to meet the word counts in thirty minutes and spin a small detail into a 500-word column. I read more of the site and immersed myself in what being a writer for The Central Trend is. And I edited. As my joy in writing grew, I never forgot about editing. 

I took pride in checking over the assignments of those in my class and soon enough, I began to take pride in my own writing. When one of the Editors-in-Chief my freshman year said my column was one of her favorite stories of the day, I finally felt like a writer. 

The feeling hasn’t gone away. My fingers itch to type as the thoughts spill out of my brain: fast, then slow, then fast again. The jumbled combination of characters in my brain found ways to flow out of my body, somehow coherently. 

From ages thirteen to sixteen, stories one to one hundred, this site has seen me grow. The bricks of room 139 have watched me flourish—whether in laughter, tears, or conversation.

I was meant for these 100 stories.