Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Writers Camp

We're home once again from two days on the road. I'll write about Monday in another post--today is still fresh in my mind and wanting to get written.

"Can you do a presentation this summer for our writers camp for high school kids?"

"Sure," I said. "Sounds like fun."

That was how it started, back in February. Today was the dayfor my presentation. I've done many writing workshops for children, but doing one as an author/storyteller for 85 students for three hours? Nope, that one hadn't made my list yet.

We started early. At 8:00 am I left the motel in Princeton, West Virginia and headed to the high school. (Let me say here that if there was a way to steal that motel bed and pillows gracefully, I'd have hitched it to the bumper of my car and dragged it home. How often can you say that about a motel bed? Comfortable doesn't begin to describe it.)

The first part of the day was in a high school auditorium that was being used for summer storage of a motley collection of stuff--drums, chairs, sparkly outfits, you name it. Which I figured was fine because for most kids it probably just looked like their bedrooms. For an hour and a half I talked about my journey to storytelling and writing, weaving in stories, poems and a ballad.

Then we moved to part two: 30-minute presentations to three groups in separate classrooms. During this time I talked about where I get writing ideas and inspiration, how to get published, and good websites for prompts. I read a little from some of my stories and poems and answered questions. Each group was slightly different but I tried to cover the same basic information for all of them.

I left with a slightly sore throat from so much talking, and a huge respect for these kids who are giving up two weeks of summer vacation to learn to be better writers. Some of them return year after year until they graduate. Many of them already have publishing credits. Many were poets, but there was a good mixture of interest areas, from SciFi to realistic fiction to fairytales.

While preparing for the presentation, I considered what my writing background has been, and it is surprising how much writing I have done, and where it has been published. Nothing grand, but small bits here and there in different types of publications. I will never be rich and probably never sustain myself by writing, but at least I am doing the thing I love so much.

That was my message to the students today: write. Write as much as you can, write whatever you can, but write. I waited too many years to start making time for writing; now I find I can't get enough of it. And while I still cannot devote the time I would like, I am at least writing often, and that in itself is a goal realized.

So look out, writing world! There is a whole generation of young writers chomping at the bit and ready to add their voices to the chorus. I for one am glad to welcome them to the fold. They ensure the future of writing for years to come.

5 comments:

Janet, said...

Susanne, that sounds great. I bet I could have learned something. Wish I had started out that young with my writing.

Brad Mills said...

Awesome. I took part in something similar when I was in high school in Raleigh County - Camp SAGA. It was a great experience... I met lots of interesting and creative people, had lots of fun, and was always sad when it was over. I'm glad to hear things like this are still around in some form.

Laura said...

It is refreshing to know that in this world of texting, Twitter and Facebook there are some young people who will be able to (and want to) communicate and share their ideas with us.
Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge with our young people.

Anonymous said...

I knew you could do a fine job! It is always refreshing to hear the good news about the next generation. tm

Granny Sue said...

I'm wishing we could start a similar camp in Jackson County. It doesn't seem to require a lot--space, some guest presenters, notebooks and pencils, maybe a road trip to some nearby site for inspiration. They had a grant--we could do the same here.

Thanks ofr the vote of confidence, Theresa! It was so much fun and so energizing to be with them.

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