En route to Day 1 of three days of the Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project 2015 Edition, I met a lady interested in signing her daughter for one of my children’s workshops. Her daughter’s seven; I don’t usually do workshops with children that young. Buuuut It got me thinking, why not put together a workshop specifically for younger children.
Like Wyatt Cenac “I’ll think about it” (ha, loved this moment on Jon Stewart’s farewell show). Sidebar, off topic… but all things considered, funny, right?
I’ll think about maybe doing something before the summer’s out; I’m re-thinking a lot of things lately, what’s one more, right?
This entire project is something I’ll have to re-think in any case at the end of this run. From 12 to 15 participants in 2013, I had a grand total of one, count ‘em, one, participant on Monday.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was a really good session…
Using stories like Shakirah Bourne’s This Foot is Mine, King Obstinate’s Wet You Han’ (one of my favourite workshop pieces), we explored various narrative and broader literary elements, identifying and discussing how the writers approached point of view, use of imagery, dialogue, foreshadowing, establishing setting, etc etc He (yes, it was a teenage boy) really liked Bourne’s story and gave me a side eye for doubting that he/his generation would know the old Obstinate calypso).
Our discussion of Martin Espada’s Two Mexicanos Lynched in Santa Cruz, California, May 3, 1877, got us looking at political/protest poetry, including Strange Fruit (the song popularized by blues singer Billie Holiday) – both deal with lynching – and from that got us discussing the incidents sparking #blacklivesmatter from which we got into him drafting and redrafting a poem (pulling back on the clichés and vagueness, sharpening the focus etc etc) around these issues and then feeling moved to offer up for critique another of his poems. He impressed me not just with his talent but with his maturity (in being open and responsive to critical feedback, in realizing that writing takes work and being prepared to put in the work).
So, yeah, it was a good session, so, yeah…can’t say I’m not disappointed though that there wasn’t more interest…but I’ll take that for what it is and go back to pack.
In the meantime, the plan is to be at the library on Tuesday afternoon 12:30 on and Wednesday afternoon. If you’re in Antigua, mid to late teens, with an interest in writing, there’s still time for you to come out.