The Essential Question that guided our projects’ focus was:
What makes writing worth reading, and why should we do it?
The essential answer is that honesty and personal experience make writing worth reading. This is true whether we are writing fiction, nonfiction, or memoir. We should pursue writing in order to share our experiences with others who might learn from them.
At the conclusion of the project, students responded to questions related to the identified Standards:
“Malia and Allen’s teaching allowed me to craft more resonant, detailed images by paying attention to the world.”
“I learned to trust myself and what I have to say as a storyteller.”
“I learned how to time stories, write from different perspectives, and generally improved my writing skills.”
“I learned how to step outside of my comfort zone in a safe and loving environment.”
“I took big steps to overcome my fear of writing novels.”
“I learned: How do Chanel our own emotions into writing. How to write a catchy first page. How to self-publish. How to bind a book. How to get an audience.”
It all came down to the dance. After months of isolation due to COVID the students asked one night if they could do karaoke. I helped them set it up under the back portico of the Scovel Center. The karaoke evolved into a joyful dance night that was completely unplanned. So many of them told me later it was the best dance they’d ever attended.
What did it have to do with writing? Nothing, directly. But the students were so comfortable and supportive of each other that I’m certain it will be a fond memory they will draw on for years.
Getting back into the pre-COVID groove will be difficult. So much has changed. Students everywhere are showing some reluctance to reenter the world. We’re finding this a particular challenge for Writers at Harriman 2022.