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.
Carly: What have you learned from me during our time together?
Carly: Take this seriously. I’m Barbara Walters here.
Zoe: I’ve learned more about being yourself and not caring about what other people really think of you. Cause you’re a very spastic human being. You’re enthusiastic and colorful. I thought because you are older than me you wouldn’t be as colorful, but more black and white.
Carly: I didn’t know that I came off as spastic, but I’ll take what I can get.
Zoe: What have you learned from me?
Carly: I think I've learned very similar lessons. You remind me of myself when I was younger and remind me of who I am now. You're so busy and your schedule is so ambitious like mine was when I was your age, which is why I find it so important that we meet because we take refuge in working together.
What do you love about writing? And where do you get your inspiration?
Zoe: I love it because it’s a way to get away to a different world. I get my inspiration from everyday life, movies, life at school, or things going on with family and friends.
How did you get introduced to WriteGirl?
Carly: There were a couple of months when I was in between jobs and searching, and I remembered in college how I was involved in a lot of social justice groups and how giving to others was missing at that moment in my life. I wanted to get involved with a cause I cared about so I went on idealist.org; it’s a website where you can search for non-profit organizations or specific causes. I typed into the search that I was passionate about writing and women, and WriteGirl was the first thing that came up. I read about the organization and knew it would be perfect for me. It combined two things that I care deeply about - female empowerment and writing.
What’s your favorite type of writing and why?
Zoe: Nonfiction. NO - fiction fiction fiction. (Laughs) I love being able to create a different world through fiction writing. A world that doesn’t really exist. I like to mix reality and fiction and taking things that happen in everyday life and adding something that wouldn’t happen in real life into it.
How did writing get introduced to you or become part of your life?
Carly: In 4th grade, I had a teacher named Mr. Kilroy. He’d give us writing assignments where he'd start or end a story and we’d have to fill in the rest. Most of the other kids would do the bare minimum of writing and I found myself stapling 7 to 9 pages to each assignment. I was hooked. I wrote poems, stories, novels. In my mind, novels were me filling up my journals and numbering the pages. Writing was my refuge. I wrote in my journal all the time. I still do.
How have you seen your writing evolve? What’s something in your writing that you feel you need to work on?
Zoe: My writing has gotten more detailed. I’ve started working on putting more dialogue into some of my pieces. And some pieces trying to take out dialogue and add more details.
Something I should work on most is getting things finished. I start things and ignore them and then start another one and then ignore. I end up starting all these stories and never looking at them again.
What about you?
Carly: I've seen my writing evolve from less literal meaning to more abstract, metaphorical meanings. Something I could work on is adding in more description. I write screenplays, so I love dialogue. I don't like describing details, so when I need to go to prose, I’m not used to it. I don't vividly create a world. I also really need to work on finishing things as well, because I have journal after journal filled with stories that I have yet to finish.
Well thank you Zoe. I think we’re done.
Zoe: No, thank you! That’s our show folks.