All the latest news, ideas, and opinions from Denver's Independent Literary Center: lighthousewriters.org
Ed. note: Our trusty intern Laurel Smith is back, reporting on the events of last week’s camp, run by the supersonic Amanda Rea. Here’s what Laurel had to say.
For five days young writers sailed the seas of creativity. They wrote their way through brainstorms of poetry and survived the resulting flash fiction. On Friday the Lighthouse guided them to the shores of the Platte River where they disembarked their crazy adventure at the Tattered Cover, reunited with their parents and stood up to tell a packed room of curious onlookers about their voyage. But before they could tell us about the fruits of the Sea of Creativity they had a bit more writing to do.
Around forty kids went out into the heart of Downtown Denver looking for what inspires them. I was lucky enough to be taken aboard by the fifth and six graders. They watched people walking their dogs, noted the alarming amount of black spots on the sidewalk from chewing gum, and investigated the simmering smell of hotdogs. They turned these observations into poetry and stories, most of which I swear are better than the stuff I’ve read in intro to creative writing classes that I took in college.
They wrote and read their stories to each other. They even begged for more when a writer stopped short of the end. They would huddle around as she scribbled a few more words on a page, taking note of every waft of the hand and scrunch of the nose, like they were watching a sporting event.
When their time to speak came, they took the microphone and the room came to a hush as everyone tried to grasp onto every word of their thrilling stories. Parents looked at their children proudly and instructors beamed with satisfaction and I realized the tables had turned. They were the ones teaching us. They showed us the endless possibility of young minds and what it means to be inspired. Shari Caudron, who worked with the high school students, even sent along a message that her students restored her faith in teenagers.
At the end of the event, they beamed with pride holding onto their writing framed and behind glass and left with their parents.
Do all good things have to come to an end? I asked myself. I saw students clutching onto notebooks packed with blank pages waiting to be filled. Students lined up to hug their instructors and say goodbye. I saw a fifth-grader give cheeky wink followed by a wave. “See you next year,” she said.
End? No, this is only the beginning. I bet in a few years we will even see some of our high students back to sail the seas of creativity and teach young writers just like them what it means to love writing.
Laurel Janeen Smith