Explorations in Storytelling

On Writing

Writing about writing

Just Write It

This is more or less a spiel about Young Writers Project. It's a spiel, too, on the need for us all to just, write.

In August 2006, when Young Writers Project came to be as a nonprofit, I created a Web site and within weeks it was out of control AND had become a community. Before Facebook and Tumblr and Twitter and Instagram, this was a social media site before anyone had heard the term.

The site, the community, was based on trust: No moderation, treat people with respect. For teens, respect and civility means safety, the safety to take creative risk, the safety to write how you really feel and think and not worry about getting slammed. The activity exploded with posts and commenting and collaborations. I was, in all this, an afterthought, a ghost, as in "who's gg?" Cool.

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I always feel like I'm in a rush, swirls of wind and color and noise all about me, trying to keep up with the voice within to do this and then that and then the other thing. Everything always seems so damned urgent. Why is this?

So many ideas…

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The Photograph

I remember the first time I saw this photograph. I was in the library in high school. My assignment was to do some research about the time and conditions surrounding The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Even then, I loved Steinbeck's writing, the power of his subjects, his characters, his descriptions. And I was deeply moved by Grapes of Wrath.

Like so many photographs, this one can lead to personal connections and writing.

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The Mailing

Young Writers Project is a whirlwind today. We are gearing up for our fantabulous Celebration of Writing this Saturday -- a full day of workshops, a Celebration with a keynote, youth readers and door prizes, live streams, a roving youth news crew and lots of chocolate and great food.

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A Photo Story -- How audio can unlock storytelling.

In 2010, concerned that teachers don't have enough time or equipment to pull off complex digital stories with their kids and still achieve quality,  I decided several years ago to show the teachers how to do something simpler -- a photo story. Get a powerful story from an elder, a compelling photo and podcast the text (add music if time for tone).  I created a model and asked them to do the same -- when teachers write with students or share personal stories the impact on student engagement is profound.

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