Young writers

BULLETIN: Teachers and parents, check the new teaching tool on the website page for teachers. I offer it with summer writing in mind. Also, Kathy Temean just put up a new activity for kids on their own page so look at that one too. Thanks, Kathy!

Many of you are good about reading poems posted by young poets and their teachers and leaving positive comments. I hear from many of our young poets (and their teachers and parents) who tell me how much your support means to them. We never know who will grow up to join the next generation of writers and thinkers.

Remember back to when you decided to become a writer. Maybe you just always knew you wanted to write, but other writers I know had their moment of insight because of something that happened, something that was said, some note of encouragement from the right person at the right time. If you read the interviews and articles published during April by Tricia Stohr-Hunt, Greg Pincus, and others, you saw a variety of reasons why those authors turned to writing.

Last Thursday I attended the Writers Hall of Fame banquet to honor young writers from this area, some as young as elementary school, others graduating from high school. These thirty-four students were the winners in a contest that attracted 5,500 entries. I was one of the readers who stood at a microphone reading selected work by the authors and watching the pleasure on their faces as a large, appreciative audience listened intently to their work — THEIR WORK — being read aloud.

The writing was simply wonderful. The audience left that evening with an appreciation of how sharp young writers can be when they learn to write well and develop the patience it takes to keep trying. Eight of the graduating seniors were awarded college scholarsihps to help them continue to develop into the writers they want to become.

Does this kind of encouragement work? Maybe not every time, but for some it may be that “moment” when they see their future. They will write. The president of Writers Hall of Fame, who presided over the banquet last Thursday, is Amos Bridges, a talented and successful journalist for Springfield News-Leader. Some years ago Amos was one of those college-bound recipients of a Writers Hall of Fame scholarship who stood proudly at the annual banquet while someone read his winning work.