In Her Own Words: If I Were A WriteGirl

In Her Own Words: If I Were A WriteGirl

Essay written by WriteGirl mentee Janel, 12th grade:

Three years ago, if anyone had asked me to read my poetry aloud in front of an audience, I would have laughed and politely declined. I was hardly comfortable sharing my written work with others, let alone getting up on a stage and performing the poetry I had scribbled into my journal and tucked away for safekeeping.

This all changed when I joined WriteGirl.

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WriteGirl Words Under the Tree

WriteGirl Words Under the Tree

At the annual WriteGirl Skylight Books public reading on Saturday, February 15, approximately 20 teen girls bravely stepped up to the podium to read from their journals and WriteGirl's 12th anthology, "YOU ARE HERE: The WriteGirl Journey." A captivated crowd heard poems, essays, and short story excerpts about everything from love and self-identity to heartache and the color purple.

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Excavating the Secrets of Creative Non-Fiction

Excavating the Secrets of Creative Non-Fiction

On Saturday, January 25, over 100 WriteGirl mentors and mentees got an intimate view of the La Brea Tar Pits and Page Museum during the Creative Non-Fiction Flash Workshop. This two-hour workshop explored many different types of creative nonfiction writing, including personal essays, memoirs, blogging, and literary journalism.

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Hello World! A Mentor/Mentee Interview

Hello World! A Mentor/Mentee Interview

Carly Pandza (mentor, 25) and Zoe C. (mentee, 18) have been a mentor/mentee pair with WriteGirl since February 2012.  They meet once a week and at monthly genre-specific writing workshops. They meet for about an hour and do all sorts of writing from poetry to short stories.

In honor of National Mentoring Month, they decided to interview one another about their personal experiences and opinions as writers and as a mentor/mentee pair.  This is their interview.

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It’s Here! WriteGirl’s 12th Anthology Launches

It’s Here! WriteGirl’s 12th Anthology Launches

If life were a straight line, it would be easy to stay on course. But life is full of twists and turns and unexpected bumps.

In YOU ARE HERE: The WriteGirl Journey, 161 women and girls share their stories as they navigate their way through small moments and big adventures. In clear and unwavering voices, they tell us about where they are, where they’ve been and where they still hope to go.

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Teen Girls' Lyrics Come to Life in Song

Teen Girls' Lyrics Come to Life in Song

Held at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy in Downtown Los Angeles, 160 WriteGirl women and girls learned the art of songwriting from the industry’s best women!

Special songwriter guests including Bonnie McKee (Wrecking Ball, Roar), Allee Willis (Boogie Wonderland, Friends Theme), and others shared their expertise and guided our girls to create their own songs.

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Room for More Dreamers

Room for More Dreamers

Blog post written by WriteGirl Mentee Amanda, 11th grade:

"A year ago, Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani teenage girl, was shot by the Taliban for standing up for girls' education, and, against all odds, she survived. Malala’s story sparked a fire that burns across my horizons with the plum passion of a dragon hearth and tenderness of a soft lighted candle."

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No Character Limit: Truth & Fiction from WriteGirl

Written by WriteGirl mentee: Sharmin S., age 14

The No Character Limit (http://writegirl.org/publications.html) book launch and reading at the Mark Taper Auditorium was quite noteworthy. Many amazing teenage girls shared their wonderful poems and short stories. Many parents even joined in to experience the wonders of a pencil put to paper.

Before the reading a wonderful author, Cecil Castellucci, taught us phenomenal ways to prove a point to readers without having them fall asleep. So instead of saying, “My nickname is Charmin Ultra Strong and that name makes me feel powerful and mighty.” I’d say, “One early morning at the mere age of ten, I fell off the stairs of a courtyard and scraped my knees. I suddenly felt a sharp burning sensation and did not want to stand up. From a distance I heard a friend shout, “Charmin Ultra Strong! You’re okay! Get up Charmin Ultra Strong.” I immediately stood up and ran back feeling strong and powerful.”

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This example shows there are many ways to tell a story. Try this, write a sentence. Now try and expand that idea into four sentences. You never really know what one sentence can create. Before you know it you might be writing a novel.

“No Character Limit” Book Reading

Written by Angelica H: age 19

I enjoyed reading a poem from the book, “No Character Limit” entitled “Two Muses” written by Zoe L., age 15. Two Muses My muse was once tall and fire-haired, passion embodied, courted only with tears and supplication, and low-calorie sweeteners, watching Firefly, smelling of tea tree and overscented soap. She left in September in search of a sadder life, and a better therapist. My new muse is six-foot-one and a half, dressed in black wool, unwittingly inspiring. Ah! Two Muses, like music to your soul don’t you think? If you thought this poem was good just come to the “No Character Limit” Book Launch this Saturday to hear more soothing rhythm poems straight from the young girls who wrote them. Come and enjoy being around these powerful young minds and hear their bold voices. Hear the pain, love, and the truth they pour into their writings. Let the words flow and then you will understand you should never underestimate a girl and her pen. WriteGirl Book Launch, “No Character Limit.” Saturday January 12, 2013 at 2:30pm. Event takes place at the Downtown Central Library – Mark Taper Auditorium, 630 W. 5th Street (Between Flower and Grand), Downtown Los Angeles.

Name Name Name!

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Written by WriteGirl mentee: Joanna C., age 16

What’s In a Name?
Pens on Fire Creative, Writing Experiments for Teens from WriteGirl,  pg.81
There are moments that you want to change your name, don’t like your name, or wish for someone else’s name.
Write about your name: first name, last name, middle name, nickname, names you were almost called, names you wish you were or weren’t called.

My friends, family who aren’t close to me, and other new people call me Johnie, Hannah, Anna, Alla, Jojo etc. Sometimes it gets annoying  because people don’t adequately get my name and  spell it wrong. My name is Joanna. Sometimes I wish I could change my name to Paulette or some other unique name. It would be awesome to be different from other girls with a name that is not common and not often heard. My name is special to me and I love it because it means God’s grace and gift. When I was born the doctors said to my mom, “ Your daughter is not going to make it through her first year of life”, this was unbelievable news to her about her first child. Now I am still here alive with every body part, a gift

 

Write About Food and Family

Diana G., age 16

Pens on Fire, Creative Writing Experiments for Teens from WriteGirl, pg 14

Write about family through exploring food and family gatherings. Use the plethora of food stories from your family to write a creative nonfiction piece. -Write about a favorite recipe. -Write about your grandmother/mothers cooking. -Write what food brings to your family.

One thing that really brings my family together is food. Every time we have family gatherings there is always food. My family is from Honduras so it surprises people that we always have food from different cultures at our gatherings. We have Mexican food, Chinese food, and so many others. Most of the time my grandmother and godmother cook, while my aunt and my mom are in charge of the desserts. For Thanksgiving, everyone helps out, it is the day we have food without limits. My grandmother makes her famous turkey, I love to watch her prepare it but I am still not exactly sure how she makes it. We also have ham, which one of my uncles is in charge of bringing. My godmother helps out with sides, like rice and potato salad. My mom makes the most amazing flan I have ever tasted. Everyone in my family loves it! My aunt has fun making and decorating cupcakes for any occasion. I think my family can go on forever talking about the food we make and love. Even if we have small get togethers for a birthday or any other event there is plenty of food. To my cousins it does not matter how everything is cooked, they just love to eat it. As for me, I love being in the kitchen watching every step of how food is made because I always learn new things and someday I know I will be an amazing cook. I believe that in my family, food is very important, it helps us connect.

WriteGirl Welcome Day Experience

Ariel S. Age 16

I knew I was at the right place as soon as my eye caught the green, blue, and white balloons always present at WriteGirl workshops. I entered the building and the wonderful people at registration immediately welcomed me. Each mentee was given a nametag sticker, which also included a place to write your favorite genre of writing. I wrote journalism. It’s been a new passion that I recently pursued by joining my school’s newspaper, The Bamboo. Then it was off to the table piled with new journals. There were so many options. I was contemplating a simple black notebook or an orange striped journal or a pink one, and then I saw a baby blue journal adorned with what looked like dogs in watercolor. That was the one.

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I joined the other mentees who had just arrived at a table set up for us to “break in” our new journals. First I covered my journal with bling, emoticons and other stickers. Then I thought about what to write. The first entry in a journal is usually very stressful for me. I turn extremely nit-picky wanting things to be perfect. There were so many different options and so many different ways to start I wasn’t sure where to begin. Luckily there was a list of activities. I wrote an entry in my journal about what the change is like for me from an angry mood to a happy mood.

Then I wrote about a specific memory for each finger. Most of the descriptions had to do with my hardened hands due to my hours of writing without a pencil grip.

After working on my journal, I took a survey and had my picture taken. Then, I picked out a number from a tin can that would determine my fate for the day. The number correlated with one of five tables each with a different writing activity. I ended up at a table were our writing activity was to use our name as inspiration. I wrote about a childhood memory I had of writing my name:

I remember changing my handwriting constantly. It would change sizes and shapes. At one time my handwriting was getting smaller every day. My teacher joked about how my handwriting would need to be read with a magnifying glass by the time I got to college.

The next hour or so I moved on to various tables with exciting and unexpected activities. My favorite table had toys scattered all over it. It looked so festive. We were prompted to set up a scene with the toys. There were green dinosaurs, small cottages, ducks on wheels, pigs, and more! I chose a small cottage, a giant lamb, and a duck on wheels.

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We were then able to spin the wheel of genres. The wheel prompted us to write about our scene using whichever genre of writing the needle landed on. I spun and got autobiography.

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So I wrote about an awkward experience a giant lamb had with a rolling duck on wheels.

I was too big to go inside the cottage so I stood outside. After a while, a duck on wheels strolled by. I was so scared and confused! Where was I? Who were these creatures? And most importantly, why was the duck on wheels?

As the day came to an end, we carried out a WriteGirl tradition called “threads.” We gathered together in a circle and wrote our favorite thing about the day on brightly colored index cards. All in all it was an extremely fun day! I met new girls and I was inspired to write about things in ways that were unusual, new and interesting to me.

Write What You Feel and Feel What You Write

Inspired by page 24 in  Intensity: The 10th Anniversary Anthology from WriteGirl

Inspired by page 24 in  Intensity: The 10th Anniversary Anthology from WriteGirl

by Diana G., age 16, and Joanna C., age 16, WriteGirl High School Interns

Think about a feeling you don’t know how to express to another person. One idea is to write them an anonymous letter. Write when you are so mad that you feel like you are going to burst. Write about a conversation that was confusing to you. Let the things you wish you could say out loud flow onto your paper. Another way to write about your feelings is to use metaphors. (A metaphor compares two unrelated things.) A person who is intrusive and annoying could be described as a pesky little rat. If someone is being sweet and making your day, think of something that makes you happy, for instance Starburst candy – compare the person to the tangy sweet taste of a cherry Starburst.