My favourite quote from the workshop is from a peer critique: “You create a world in my mind that I want to play in.” I so agree. I witnessed powerful writing. I met honest, interesting people. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
We started the workshop by talking about what they liked to write, which sparked one woman to read from her notebook. The others headed upstairs to get their writing, and we shared and critiqued their worldly observations, cleverly plotted stories, and death metal lyrics.
We then did two writing activities that I’d prepared. One was writing from a prompt using words selected from my word box of powerful and interesting words. We also wrote story scenes from photos by Gregory Crewdson, who captures a “single-frame movie” in each shot. Both times, we shared our writing and discussed technique.
We then critiqued more from their independent writing. I also answered their questions about the submission and publication process, giving a summary of how it all works. I suggested books about writing that could help further their craft. We discussed how to set up a writing group as well.
It was a fascinating group, and all the youth were strong writers who I encourage to continue writing. Everyone, particularly people who may be marginalized, need their voices to be heard.