Where the F did the last few months go? You feel me?
It's the start of a new month so I'm doing this poem-a-day thing as part of Tupelo Press's 30/30 project to raise money for indie publishing. It's a good cause, and a great way to generate some new work.
I just finished up teaching two online summer classes and also just spent two separate weeks in July with two separate groups of amazing high schoolers from the Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop, a program I've been teaching in for the past 15 years! (Thank you, Nancy Zafris, for the gig. Thank you, David Lynn, for the gig.) It's my favorite thing -- sitting with a bunch of teenagers reading stories and essays and poems and talking about stories and essays and poems and then writing stories and essays and poems. In this sizzling Los Angeles July it's definitely how I get my 'bounce' back.
For all the naysayers who say poetry is dead, reading is dead, and "kids today, they just don't. . ." I say NOPE NOPE NOPE today's teens are dope! They write with such authenticity and vulnerability and urgency, and I remember that feeling myself, as a teenager (way back in the dark ages of the 80's) feeling like poetry and writing were saving my life. They did save my life. No matter how tough things got, I had my notebook, I had my pen.
I grew up in some tough times and was lucky enough to have my Creative Writing teachers and theater teachers who told me to get out there and let my voice be heard. (Thank you Mr. C, Katherine Harer, Peggy Shumaker, Rich Yurman, Lesley Wade, Jack Bedell, Femi Euba for believing in me and kicking my ass out to the streets to rumble with words!) And good friends who said "send that shit right out! Don't give up!" (Thank you Nabila Lovelace, Samantha Simpson, Andrew Grace, Richie Hoffman, Jimmy Baca, Adam Clay, Jake Adam York and more).
See? When you think about it, you have a whole tribe around you cheering you on! You have to have people around you who believe in you, believe in your work, and believe that writing has the power to change the world. And if you don't have anyone, I'll be that person for you. GO WRITE, RIGHT NOW.
And after 25 years of teaching, I am so grateful for my students. I love you. Drop me a note. Let me know how your writing is going.
Wanna write some poems with me this month? Head over to the Super Secret Writing Squad facebook page or pop on here and I'll try my hardest to roll out a few prompts that might inspire you. My mantra this month is ONE GIRL REVOLUTION. What will your revolution be this month?
Let's do the damn thing.