When I was in junior high, I was as horribly awkward as we all are at that age, only maybe a bit more so for having been homeschooled for a few years to add to my general lack of talent with grocking other people to begin with. I did better with books than with other kids my age, who, as much as I wanted to get along with them, were by and large utter mysteries to me.
Fortunately for me, one of the teachers I had known in elementary school, before my mom decided to homeschool me, ran a writing group at the junior high. I don’t remember if he invited me to attend or if I was coerced into attending by the extroverted girl who adopted me as her friend for no other reason than that she was cool with weird, being a bit weird herself. Either way, I starting going, and the Monday afternoons spend giggling over our co-creations of silly revisionist and pun-filled fairy tales was one of the highlights of that period of my life and I’ve always had it in my mind that I’d like to provide the same kind of safe writing space for other teenagers that might benefit from an eye on their stories.
Last fall, I coordinated with a teacher at a local middle school to help me find students and a space to create a low-pressure creative writing group. We met in the wee hours every Thursday morning, and it was a delight to watch them polish their ideas with one another. My role was primarily to act as a sounding board, tech support, and caterer of food for thought. Six of the students stuck with me right to the end, and so far, four have bravely published the most polished pieces of their work on our little website:
I would be delighted if you’d care to join me in giving them an internet round of applause for the work they did and wishing them luck with their future writing endeavors.