Today is the last day of my ninth year teaching summer camp for Richmond Young Writers. Back when we first got started in 2009, RYW was just me and a handful of brave, intrepid students sitting around some folding tables I borrowed from a friend in the art gallery above RVA's most amazing indy bookstore, Chop Suey Books. Now, with the direction, leadership and inspiration of my magical friend and cohort, Bird Cox, RYW is a year round program creative writing program with multiple teachers, brilliant offerings and a beautiful space all its own right across the street from Carytown, in the heart of the city.
While the young writers are always shining beacons of hope, I might have needed the warmth of their rays just a bit more during the chilling political climate of this year. Writing is a tool for changing the world and the students we've worked with this summer know how to powerfully and peacefully wield the pen. I am grateful to all of our students, teachers, parents, families and the community at large for helping us create a climate in which writers of all ages can express themselves, process, create, explore, invent and heal. We are never too young- or too old- for that.
The Life in 10 Minutes students write about what writing means to them:
Writing is an outlet to express your feelings that are sometimes too complex to be spoken aloud.
Writing is what movie reviewers criticize when the events of a movie don't make sense, fail to follow a narrative continuity, or seem lazily designed.
Writing is magic in real life.
Writing is fun.
Even on the days when I have nothing to say, writing helps me speak.
Writing is the adrenaline rush most people get from a roller coaster.
Anything is possible on paper; you just have to write it down.
Writing is conjuring a spell to create a portal to a faraway land.
Being alone with your thoughts is scary, but writing holds your hand and asks you to share.
Writing is my story, your story, and our story.
Writing is a release sweeter and shorter than death.