Since we began meeting in 2009, we’ve been a nomadic workshop.
We’ve held meetings at apartments and in backyards. We’ve patronized a long list of businesses: Borders, the Block Gallery, Sapa’s/Patra’s/Levity, the Daily Planet, and Half Lounge. On sunny days, we’ve met in City Hall Park.
Thanks to The Young Writers Project, we’re shedding our nomadic ways.
Geoff Gevalt, director of the young Writers Project, has offered us the use of this space (pictured) free of charge for our Wednesday workshops. At our meeting last night, we seated 16 people comfortably, enjoyed beer, wine, and soda, and had a great conversation. There’s plenty of light (Half Lounge’s dim lighting is great for mood, not so great for actually seeing words on a page) and no background noise.
At the Young Writers Project headquarters, there’s plenty of light, no background noise, and comfortable seating. Plus, there’s a Chinese restaurant next door, and the General Tso tofu is damn good. It’s also across the street from The Old Northender, a bar that I’ll simply call “interesting.”
We’ll still use Half Lounge on Monday nights and other evenings throughout the week as needed. But our Wednesday meetings will now happen at YWP headquarters.
Why give this space to us for free? Geoff is looking for adult writers to serve as mentors for YWP writers. Mentors would use the Young Writers Project website to read and comment on the work of young people. And he wants BWW writers to fill this role.
Why is it important for these kids to receive your thoughtful feedback? The kids who participate in YWP are bright and talented. According to Geoff, their teachers tell them “Nice work!” and move on to help kids who are having a hard time. That’s where you come in. It’s up to you, an adult writer, to challenge and inspire these intelligent and creative kids. Your encouraging and thoughtful responses will help them embrace what they’re doing well and improve what works less well.
Sound familiar? It should. It’s what you do every week with your peers at BWW workshops. The only differences: the YWP mentoring is online, not in person, and you’ll be working with young people, not fellow adults.
I’m very thankful, both for the space, and your commitment to the BWW community.