I was a creative writing major in college, so I'm no stranger to story prompts. In fact, I've always really liked them. There's just something about the way a simple fill-in-the-blank sentence or two can force you to dig deep, flush out the thoughts swirling in your head, and then turn them into words on paper.
I've never, in all my years of writing and editing and workshopping, however, seen a response to a prompt quite as beautiful and poetic as the one written by a 10-year-old boy named Benjamin. Benjamin has autism, and when he was given a school assignment to write an essay called "I Am" using 18 pre-written prompts—including things like "I see," "I hear," and "I feel"—the result was a breathtaking look into the mind of a child who lives every day of his life feeling different—or as he put it, "I am odd, I am new":
So honest and heartbreaking! Benjamin initially shared his haunting words on his Facebook page a little more than a year ago, where the story of a boy with autism who feels like he just can't fit in quickly went viral. And today, Benjamin announced via another Facebook post that his poem has been turned into a song!
Check it out:
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_mjPEXBjQ00" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen][/iframe]
So incredible! Benjamin, you are a true poet with an open, loving heart. You may be different, but what makes you different is what makes you beautiful. Keep writing, kiddo—the world needs to hear your words!