Young Writers

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:

KMS Rough Drafts

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.

3 thoughts on “Young Writers

  1. Melissa
    These are really awesome writings. How old are these kids…13-14?? Each story has a distinct theme/style/format which holds it all together. Great dialogues and description. I really ‘got into’ reading each one. Definitely works to be proud of. What a wonderful gift to give these young authors…your time, energy, enthusiasm and respect. Bravo!

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  2. Nice! I’ll tell people on Twitter and my vast horde of followers will surely explode your servers with bliss.
    I remember you wrote a scene about an alien monster with six-fingered hands. Did I draw a picture of it? Or only imagine that I did?
    And who was awkward? I’ll see your generalized anxiety about theory of mind and raise you all that time I spent pretending to be Gollum in the hallway.

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    1. :) Thanks for sharing their work. They worked hard on their stories.

      I don’t know if that would have been me–I wasn’t much into writing about aliens at that point, but maybe? I don’t have any records of anything I wrote at that point in time–most of it is lost to changing media formats. I do remember you drawing pictures inspired by some of the stories that came out of that group, but I think the only bit of print that I might still have hanging about somewhere from that time period is a copy of your poem about the crash of the Starship Veyboon(?). Do you remember that one?

      I had forgotten about you pretending to be Gollum. Thank you for reviving that memory. :) I think we were a delightfully awkward little group in general, with our black hole lockers and our swapping names for assorted parts of speech game. Getting through adolescence is probably mostly about having a critical mass of friends whose awkwardness is close enough to your own that you don’t register as awkward to one another.

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