A visitor typing on a large blue IBM typewriter at the American Writers Museum in Chicago, IL

AWM Story of the Week

Every week, the AWM is excited to bring you stories written by our visitors in our Story of the Day exhibit. Check back weekly for new stories, and visit the Museum to try out our typewriters and possibly be featured here!

We’re so happy you decided to spend your birthday with us, and of course we understand.

I am here because I am turning

eighteen today, and I don’t

want to be eighteen yet.

I’m not done being a child yet.

I’m not done being unclean.


So I came here, because I thought

if anyone could understand what I

mean by this, they’d be a writer, and

here they are: an army of understanders.


I am here alone because my family are either

less interested or busy or

not in my best interest. They are

supportive and kind and

want to make this day a big deal.

My sister woke me in the middle of the

night. She didn’t mean to — just turned on

the light. But that was enough. I have

trouble sleeping on a good night, so when she

woke me I was angry. But when she heard me say

“Turn off the light,” she beamed and said

“Happy Birthday, buddy!” To which I replied,

“Turn. Off. The light.”

She called me a name but did as I asked, and I

probably deserved it, cause there are kids

without that kind of love waking them up past

midnight, and my sister was

drunk from a night out with a friend — which I

was invited to — so she couldn’t help herself.

But I persist in my refusal of birthday

wishes. I’d rather be sleeping. I’d rather the light

stay off.


So I’m here today, not to escape

aging (because at eighteen, that would be

ridiculous); I’m here because I’m lonely,

and an un-accepter of love. Is this

the right place for me, then? With all of these

authors, their histories, their heartbreaks and

scrolls of words?


Either way, I’m happy I’m here. Soon,

I’ll look through the rest, buy a book

from the lovely author I just met, and

I’ll turn eighteen, I guess.

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