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Girls Write Now Q&A

We make writing fun! Join us this summer for a creative, enriching writing experience that allows children to explore their imaginations while building confidence and literacy skills.

We spoke with Jennifer Shields, who is co-teaching our “Girls Write Now” summer workshop (July 22 – 26, 1 to 4 p.m.; ages 12-14) to find out more about why this is a great program for teen writers.

Register for Girls Write Now here.

PWN: Why do you think this camp is important, especially now?

JEN: There are so many layers to the recent phenomena of women speaking out (for example, #metoo). Girls learn at an early age about the inherent dangers of being female in our society. They learn to distrust their environment and guard their feelings. This is the indelible guideline for coming of age. In Girls Write Now, we talk about our intuitive strengths and pick apart the perceived weaknesses our culture has bestowed upon us. Through writing exercises and lively discussions, we examine the big influencers, such as peers, social media (Snapchat, Instagram), school, Netflix, parents, siblings, etc. We gather knowledge and strength through sharing our writing in a positive and encouraging environment.

PWN: What do you love about having grown up as a girl?

JEN: What I loved most about growing up as a girl was the intensity and closeness of my friendships with other girls. Liza, Sarah, and Lori—my besties. At that time, girls were allowed much more freedom to love in our friendships. With Girls Write Now, we acknowledge and foster this closeness but also explore ways to support and encourage boys to form similar relationships. I am thankful for the bonds I’ve shared during those difficult years of middle school and high school. I have never laughed as hard as I did with Liza, Sarah, and Lori. Sisterhood—that is what I love about being a girl!

PWN: What moment in the classroom (in this camp) gets you excited as an instructor?

JEN: Seeing a bond of friendship quickly form among a group of strangers. To watch girls come in on the first day and apprehensively choose their seat at the table—shy smiles and a pulling inward of their bodies as they await instruction. Lisa and I jump right in with the invitation to write freely, speak freely. We commend them for coming and appreciate the bravery in showing up to a room full of strangers. Every word is confidential and stays within our circle. We give them permission to be seen and heard. By the end of the week, they are talking over one another because they are so excited to share their stories. Their shy smiles have transformed into magnificent grins and their bodies now shake with belly laughs.

PWN: Why do you write?

JEN: As an introvert, I am inexplicably compelled to write. So much of my experience of the world takes place internally. Writing—whether journaling, working on my memoir, or putting line fragments together to make a poem—is a major component of my mental health. The process of reflection and a slowing down of the world brings me to a place of calm and understanding. Writing allows me to be a better therapist, wife, friend, and mom. I would be lost without this practice.

Register for Girls Write Now here.

Jennifer Shields is a Writing Instructor & Counselor for Project Write Now.

Reflections on Visiting Writer Katie Arnold

Last week, Katie Arnold, author of the memoir Running Home, joined us for lunch at the studio to talk about her work. She answered questions about her experiences as an author and athlete and shared insight into the process of writing a memoir. After the Reading & Lunch, PWN’s resident blog writer and writing instructor Jennifer Gaites sat down with Allison Tevald, co-founder, program director, and writing instructor, to reflect on Katie’s talk and her memoir. Check out their follow-up discussion:

Jen: I was surprised to learn that Running Home is a book about grief, not just running—that the running was her process through the grief.

Allison: We’ve heard about processing grief through breath. It seems running is sort of a methodical (and accelerated?) way of expelling breath, while training the mind to quiet. Running and writing have both been proven to benefit mental health. I’m impressed with her devotion to both.

Jen: She definitely draws the parallel between running and writing. It takes tremendous discipline to practice both regularly and to push through discomfort. I’m interested in any story that explores that journey.

Allison: But the practice of running and writing are not exciting or dramatic. They don’t make for good stories unless bad things happen!

Jen: Well, she has two things working for her in that respect: she literally runs through hazardous and dramatic terrain, but she’s also exploring the landscape of grief … exterior and interior drama!

Allison: Katie said she keeps notebooks, as she calls them (not diaries, journals, etc.) without giving them the burden that the writing in them will become something. Just lets herself be present to life and records those moments.

Jen: She perused all of these notebooks and wrote about her grief until the story revealed itself to her. I think that all the work she does, the collecting of scenes and small explorations of daily events, is hugely important to her process.

Allison: One major takeaway for me was Katie’s telling of the story of her thinking memory vs. her feeling memory. How she accesses memories from her body in a way her brain can’t.

Jen: I’ve actually been a little obsessed with that since the talk. I loved thinking about where memory exists and her suggestion that it exists in our bodies—in our muscles and limbs, our senses.

Allison: I appreciated the different angle of accessing memories, and not relying on the old “sensory detail” method we preach. It was a refreshingly simple take.

Jen: She listens to her body in a very practiced and deliberate way. That’s where I think her running enhances her writing. I just kept asking myself, how we can encourage that for our students?

Allison: We’ve watched countless students have transportal experiences doing the “I Remember” writing exercise. Once, an adult outreach student was taken aback because she could suddenly smell her piano teacher, someone she hadn’t thought about in decades. Her writing about a piano lesson brought it all back, a memory she didn’t even known she had.

Jen: That is fascinating. The physical manifestation of memory is so powerful.

Allison: I usually assign my students a meditative act or non-writing activity that they think will fuel their writing, like running, walking, drawing, etc. But I’d like to find a way to stress or inspire this idea of permission or even duty to write, revise, and finish our stories.

Jen: So much comes back to giving ourselves permission. She was, in a way, very spiritual about the whole thing, no?

Allison: I kept thinking of the title of Joyce Carol Oates’s craft book: The Faith of a Writer. She definitely seemed to hold faith in the writing practice and the story that needs to be told emerging.

Jen: Which seems to square well with her running practice. She puts a lot of trust in herself that her body will get her where she wants to go. Same for her writing. She didn’t sit down to write every day with the expectation of putting together a story with a clear outcome; she set out to write what was on her mind or something she observed. That was enough. Her faith in that process and its importance was simple but also inspiring.

Allison: A common question of writers is, “What is your process?” What did you think of Katie’s answer about that?

Jen: I liked the emphasis she put on the daily habit of writing, specifically in longhand, which is another physical experience.

Allison: From tucking an index card into her sports bra before a run, to using voice to text in memos, to her seemingly strict daily schedule …

Jen: She talked about the specifics of her writing habits, but ultimately there was also a real feeling of “trusting the process” and allowing the story to move through her.

Allison: Yes! She even said that the title just “came to her” while on a run. It wasn’t yet a title, but just two words that she “wrote toward” for a while.

Jen: Has that ever happened to you?

Allison: Absolutely. I jot them down in a section of my notebook called “Snippets.”

Jen: The closest I’ve come to those fleeting inspirations is during the mundane and repetitive act of folding laundry [laughs]. But, I think any meditative activity, it doesn’t have to be running, can trigger those moments of clarity.

Allison: The key is capturing them. Well … then writing a whole book around them.

Jennifer Gaites is Project Write Now’s resident blog writer and writing instructor and Allison Tevald is co-founder, program director, and writing instructor.

Storybook Studio Q&A

We make writing fun! Join us this summer for a creative, enriching writing experience that allows children to explore their imaginations while building confidence and literacy skills.

We spoke with Leah Mermelstein, who is teaching our Storybook Studio summer camp (July 22 – 26, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.; ages 7-10) to find out more about what she loves about storybooks and teaching writing.

Register for Storybook Studio here.

PWN: What was your favorite storybook growing up?

LEAH: I loved Where The Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak. This storybook made the ordinary “getting in trouble and getting sent to your room” extraordinary. I can recall my first grade teacher reading this book to our class and telling us to listen up because there was more to this book than meets the eye. I love the idea that your dreams can bring you to new places and help you acquire new roles, but in the end nothing is sweeter than the familiar smells and sights of your home. Now, years later, I have the privilege of watching my six-year-old daughter fall in love with this same storybook. As she reads, she imagines a world where she is “the king of all things” and in charge of starting a “wild rumpus.” But she also, like me, finds solace in the ending when the boy returns to the familiar sights and smells of his own bedroom.

PWN: What storybook characters would you like to meet?

LEAH: I’ve been thinking a lot lately about balancing being kind to others with being kind to yourself. How I would love to visit with the beautiful children from The Other Side, by Jacqueline Woodson, and hear their perspectives on friendship and diversity! I would ask them how they figured out a way to listen to the adults but have their own minds at the same time. And what about speaking to the little boy in the storybook How To Heal a Broken Wing, by Bob Graham? I’m sure after speaking to him I would be far wiser in knowing when to help others and when to let them soar and discover the bigger world. It would be a dream come true to march right into the storybook Dear Girl, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, with my daughter by my side. I know “the girl” would teach both of us a thing or two about how to be strong and true to ourselves. Whenever my daughter feels different from the crowd, I lean down and whisper what I believe are the three most inspirational words in that storybook: “You be you!”

PWN: What moment in the classroom gets you excited as an instructor?

LEAH: Some students come into my classroom excited to write, while others are more apprehensive. Every child, no matter how they feel about writing, is welcome in my classroom! My absolute favorite moment as an instructor is when the apprehensive student discovers the power and joy of the written word. One of my writing mentors once said to me, “It’s not always fun to write, but it’s fun to have written.” I love bearing witness to a student uncovering the joy and satisfaction of “having written.” Last summer during my Storybook Studio class, many students had these types of moments and continued with their writing projects long after camp was over.

PWN: Why do you write?

LEAH: I write for many reasons and these reasons are constantly evolving. Sometimes I write for the sheer fun of it. My daughter and I write funny notes back and forth to each other when we have mouthwash in our mouths and we can’t speak. I’ve been known to spit my mouthwash out and cause a mess–her notes are that funny! I sometimes write to figure things out, or to think things through. There is nothing dreamier to me than starting my day alone, sipping my coffee, pen and notebook in hand. And my daughter just taught me a new purpose today. She has always had an intense fear of the jets in pools, which is getting in the way of her having fun with her friends. Lately, she has been asking this doozy of a question: How do you get over a fear you truly feel you can’t get over? Today on the way to school, my daughter said she made up a poem she thought might help her with her fear: “Jets are little spurts of water sending you love and blowing you kisses.” Oh, how I love this girl–using writing to get over fears that feel insurmountable.

Register for Storybook Studio here.

Leah Mermelstein is a Writing Instructor at Project Write Now.

A Q&A with our Teen Intern

Strengthen your leadership and communication skills with an inspiring summer teen internship. We offer two tracks: Teaching Assistant & The Interview Project. After the three-day training, you create your own schedule. We also offer community service hours! And it’s FUN!

We sat down with Sophia W. G., 16, to ask about her experience as a Teaching Assistant last summer and why she would recommend that teens sign up.

PWN: Why did you pick the Teaching Assistant internship?

SOPHIA: I picked the Teaching Assistant Internship because I’ve had a few admirable writing instructors who truly inspired me and helped me evolve as a writer. I would not be the same without their encouragement. My hope in teaching was to inspire children to be passionate writers and overall kind people the way my teachers inspired me.

PWN: What was your favorite moment within the internship?

SOPHIA: There were so many magical moments in this internship. I assisted in the Girls Write Now and Ink It Up camps. Girls Write Now was the most empowering writing group I have ever been a part of. All of the girls in the group were so supportive and strong; simply being in their presence morphed me into a more emotional writer and confident woman. Ink It Up was a rather unique group of writers. In this camp we combined art and writing into a masterpiece of words and paintings. These writers had such an abstract way of thinking; their words inspired me to go outside of my comfort zone when it came to finding my poetic voice. Hearing people pour out their hearts on paper is what moved me the most.

PWN: Did anything surprise you?

SOPHIA: What surprised me the most was how open and vulnerable everyone was. By the end of the internship, everyone seemed to have a special bond. Our words brought us together. The days we spent spilling our hearts and souls into our writing transformed me. It was just simply hearing others’ stories and finding connection in them that altered my perspective on life. The power of words brings people together. I think the experience of being surrounded by an abundance of fellow writers with my same passion gave me a feeling of belonging like no other.

PWN: Would you recommend this internship? Why?

SOPHIA: I absolutely recommend this internship because it is a fabulous way to learn how to encourage others to fall in love with writing, discover more about your craft, and meet people who share the same passion. This internship is perfect for people who want to create magic out of their words and be in the presence of magic from other people’s words.

Sophia W. G. is a Project Write Now teen intern and current teen leader of Teen Writing Group.

Ink It Up! Q&A

We make writing fun! Join us this summer for a creative, enriching writing experience that allows children to explore their imaginations while building confidence and literacy skills.

We spoke with Lisa Hartsgrove, who is teaching our Ink It Up! summer workshop (July 15 – 19, 1 to 4 p.m.; ages 11-14) to find out more about what she loves about writing and drawing together.

Read more and register here.

PWN: What do you love about filling up journal pages with ink?

LISA: There’s something deeply satisfying about filling a page and triple-so about filling a notebook. It feels gratifying, like a job-well-done. Have you ever gone grocery shopping and crossed off each item as you found it? It’s kind of like that, but bigger and more meaningful. You’re not just putting things in a cart to feed your body, but you’re putting words and art on a page to feed your brain, your imagination, your creativity. It’s grocery shopping but for soul food.

PWN: What’s your go-to doodle?

LISA: Although I love cats, the images I draw most often are not feline-related. I tend to doodle more floral designs—daisies, roses, lilies. I like drawing them because there’s so much freedom in the way they appear. For instance, daisies have a very different shape than roses. And tulips are often bright pinks and purples while hydrangeas are often pastel. There are so many variations of flowers, so it’s easy to put your own spin on what a flower could look like. I also love images that can be used to fill in gaps (I rarely leave room for white space) such as spiderwebs, eyes, bubbles. And lots of barren trees.

PWN: What moment in the classroom gets you excited as an instructor?

LISA: The AH-HA moment! When I notice a shift in a student. When I see the spark go off. For instance, I once had a student who on Day 1 of camp claimed she “was not a writer or an artist.” She took the camp at the (strong) suggestion of her parents and didn’t feel as though she belonged. But by Day 3, she was writing and sharing her work with the group. Somewhere in that three-day span, she developed a confidence in something she didn’t know she had. And I believe that had a lot to do with the group—she saw other students writing and drawing and sharing their work without judgment. She felt safe and welcome, which led to her ability to create and experiment without fear. Her first share (about her struggle to find her identity) was the spark I was looking for—that AH-HA moment. When she could see that we were all learning and experimenting together, she was able to push past her own expectations. I love when I see that bell go off in my student’s head that tells them, “I AM a writer.”

PWN: Why do you write and draw together?

LISA: It has always been my understanding that art feeds art. Especially in writing. As writers, we repeat “show don’t tell”—and what is a drawing but a visual representation of a story? I’ve been art journaling most of my life—long before I knew it was called “art journaling.” I still have pages and pages from my high school years where I would both draw and write together. (Sometimes I even bring in old notebooks to show my students.) The first stories I ever wrote were told through drawings, and still, later in life, drawings have helped me express what words can’t always nail down. So I encourage my students to explore their creativity much the same way. We spend time writing, yes, but we also spend time drawing, painting, cutting up magazines, and listening to and learning from one another. It’s incredible to see my students light up when they realize they’re allowed to draw instead of write, or to spend time coloring in the corners of their pages, or to use different mediums like chalk or pastel. Imagine how much you can express when you break down the barriers that box in your art.

Read more and register here.

Lisa Hartsgrove is the Program Coordinator & Writing Instructor for Project Write Now.

You’re the Expert! Q&A

We make writing fun! Join us this summer for a creative, enriching writing experience that allows children to explore their imaginations while building confidence and literacy skills.

We spoke with Colleen Doogan, who is teaching our You’re the Expert summer camp (July 15 – 19, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.; ages 7-10) to find out more about why this is a great camp for young writers.

Read more and register here.

PWN: What’s the story behind this camp? Why did you want to offer “You’re the Expert?”

COLLEEN: I’ve seen too many students become unenthusiastic or unsure of what to write when asked to write stories or personal narratives. Not everyone wants to write their story or capture memories on paper, But a lot of kids want to teach others about something they are an “expert” on. It makes kids feel in charge. Smart. Like they know something others don’t. I had a boy in my class this past winter who was reluctant to write a story. I suggested he make a heart map to help him find ideas. On his heart map were the words “airplanes” and “helicopters.” When I asked him what story he had about an airplane or a helicopter, he started telling me a million facts (of which I had no idea) about both airplanes and helicopters. I immediately thought, “Why am I forcing this little guy to write a story when he clearly knows a lot about his interest and could write an expert book on it?” Boom. He started making his chapters and he was off and running! Then I thought about how an experience like this could help other young writers who are obsessed with or experts on all kinds of topics: dinosaurs, baseball, fashion, cats. So we created this camp.

PWN: What topic are you an expert on?

COLLEEN: I am expert on carpooling tweens and teenagers to all different corners of Monmouth County! I must say, though, that I have been given rules by my kids on how to do this job to perfection. I find that having cool music on is key, and turning it up very loud so no one can hear one another singing is a must. I try to be polite and not talk too much because my kids tell me, “No one cares, mom!” I am also an expert in organization and multitasking. I can picture a chapter in this book being called, “How a datebook, agenda, or calendar can save your life.”

PWN: What moment in the classroom gets you excited as an instructor?

COLLEEN: I love when kids are engaged. I love when they work together and help one another. I love when we all work together as a team and kids don’t see me as someone who has all the answers, but rather they see me as someone who wants to co-author the class with my students.

PWN: Why do you write?

COLLEEN: I write to reflect. I write to plan. I write to capture memories and record things that have happened. I write mostly about my kids, but wish I could write more about the loss of my parents and how much I miss them. I will. Someday. But for now, I will keep writing about this crazy life I am part of so I can look back and say, “Wow! You made it!”

Read more and register here.

Colleen Doogan is the Education Director & Writing Instructor for Project Write Now.

Q & A with Gravity Goldberg

We are honored to have author and educator Gravity Goldberg present at our third annual “Writing on the River: A Spring Retreat for Teachers,” to be held Sunday, March 31, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Oyster Point Hotel in Red Bank. She will speak on the theme of how we can be our authentic selves in and out of the classroom. Gravity is an international educational consultant and author of five books on teaching. She has almost 20 years of teaching experience, including positions as a science teacher, reading specialist, third grade teacher, special educator, literacy coach, staff developer, assistant professor, educational consultant, and yoga teacher. Gravity holds a B.A. and M.Ed. from Boston College and a doctorate in education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is the founding director of Gravity Goldberg, LLC, a team that provides side-by-side coaching for teachers.

Our education director, Colleen Doogan, recently interviewed Gravity Goldberg so we could learn a little more about her before she speaks at our retreat.

Colleen: What do you enjoy most about your job?
Gravity: Because I’m hired to support teachers with reading and writing instruction, I lead workshops, model lessons, plan curriculum, and offer feedback. What I love most is creating a learning space for teachers to see their students in a different way. I get to bring a new perspective into the classroom, which allows us to let students be our guides. I feel the most successful when teachers trust themselves to make decisions based on what their particular students need next.

Colleen: What is your writing process?
Gravity: It depends on the project. Usually an idea gets stuck in my mind and I end up thinking about it, talking about it, and researching it for a while. I’m a big planner. I list and outline. When I begin to draft, I need long chunks of time (like 12 hours). I usually draft a whole chapter in a day and need that sustained time. Since having my son that’s been a challenge, so my process is evolving. I’ve been writing shorter chapters that fit into just a few hours. I’m also a big reviser. I’m OK with throwing out whole sections, rewriting it, and moving things around a lot. I never feel finished so a deadline is how I know I’m done.

Colleen: Who was most instrumental in helping you publish your latest book?
Gravity: My editor, Ariel, approached me with the idea, served as a thinking partner, and believed I could actually get it done within a short time frame before my baby was due. Leo was also instrumental because he gave me a clear deadline.

Colleen: Can you describe a moment in teaching that you will never forget?
Gravity: One year when I was teaching third grade, Harry Potter was new and popular and I used it as a theme for giving students their writing notebooks. I had all the notebooks in a large box, and I pretended that it was like the sorting hat. I held each notebook, put it to my ear, and pretended it was telling me who it was meant for. I called the student’s name and the class cheered. I said to the class, “Your notebooks have been waiting for you. Go write.” I still remember the level of student engagement and the excitement they felt to begin writing.

Colleen: What does a day look like when you are not working?
Gravity: As a new mom, my days are filled with playing, reading books, going for walks, and changing diapers. I find moments to listen to audiobooks and podcasts. After 7 p.m., when Leo goes to sleep, I spend time with my husband and try to catch up with emails and work.

Colleen: What is a favorite book from your childhood?
Gravity: The Nutcracker, by E.T.A. Hoffmann, because my dad used to read it to me every year at Christmas. It had gorgeous illustrations and a magical story.

Colleen: What is a quote you tend to live by?
Gravity: Be here now.

Colleen: What would be one word that you would use to describe yourself?
Gravity: Purpose-driven.

Colleen Doogan is the education director and a writing instructor at Project Write Now. Gravity Goldberg is an international educational consultant and author of five books on teaching.

How to Submit: The Journey of Contest Submission

by Elizabeth Jannuzzi

Find the Contest Opportunity

I cruise through my CRWROPPS (Creative Writers Opportunities) emails that come in. I see one that catches my eye. I’m intrigued because the contest is for flash nonfiction and I had fun writing a one-minute memoir for a previous contest from Brevity. And then I’m wow’ed by the $500 prize. I don’t really think I could win, but … it would be fun to write and fun to try. Read more

Q&A with Ray Brunt, PWN’s Newest Instructor

by Ray Brunt & Elizabeth Januzzi

Project Write Now is excited to announce a new addition to our pool of instructors. Ray Brunt has been around Project Write Now for a while now, participating in events such as our Visiting Writers Series and Voices & Verse. Ray received his MFA in Fiction from Sierra Nevada College in 2017. This fall, he is teaching Emerging Writers on Thursdays from 7 to 9 p.m. Our Writers Institute community manager, Elizabeth Januzzi, sat down with Ray to get to know him better.

Liz: Hi Ray! How was your summer?

Ray: Great! I caught up on some reading I’ve wanted to do. I guess that’s the benefit of so much rain, right? I also took a class at The Writers Studio in New York. I think it’s good to see what various writers programs are up to. I look forward to sharing ideas I’ve picked up with students in the EW class.

Liz: Would you share with us some of what you’ve read this summer?

Ray: Sure. I’ve gone back to catch up on some memoirs I’ve wanted to read or revisit such as Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Patti Smith’s Just Kids, and also her more recent, M Train. I always try to read from short story collections, as well. I just re-read J.D. Salinger’s Nine Short Stories, and also read an amazing collection by Miranda July, No One Belongs Here More Than You.

Liz: You are teaching a class this fall at Project Write Now and you are also on our board. Why Project Write Now?

Ray: I’ve been interested in what Project Write Now has been up to for some time. After attending many different events and discussing the organization with the founders, I felt this was a group that was committed to doing great things for the community. My love of writing and my previous board and business experience just seemed to be a perfect fit.

Liz: What can your students expect from your teaching style?

Ray: First and foremost, I want this class to be fun. If you’re not enjoying class, if you’re not looking forward to coming, then something is wrong. I want to make it interesting for everyone at all levels and provide encouragement and ways for everyone to advance what it is they are trying to do. There will be some writing exercises, reading assignments, workshopping, as well as brief lectures and discussions about what makes for great storytelling.

Liz: You are working on a series of linked short stories. How is your project coming?

Ray: It’s a work in progress. I’ve got about a dozen stories teed up, but I still have more editing to do and decisions to make. I’m hoping to get one or more of the stories published in the next year or so.

Liz: Tell us something about yourself that your students would be surprised to learn.

Ray: I won an award in high school for the best short story by a high school student in New Jersey and was too embarrassed to go to the awards ceremony.

Liz: Oh no! We are glad you’ve gotten over your shyness to help lead fellow writers on their writing journeys. See you around the Studio!

Find out more about Ray’s class, Emerging Writers.

Ray Brunt is a writing instructor and board member for Project Write Now. Elizabeth Januzzi is the Writers Institute community manager for Project Write Now.

Teacher Feature: Mimi Cross

 

As summer camps are in session, we’re highlighting our last (but certainly not least!) fabulous instructor. The tenth and final is Mimi Cross, who teaches Songwriting Studio.

1. What music artist most inspires you and your writing?

This questions is nearly impossible for me to answer. When I’m working on a novel, I make at least one playlist that might have as many as 80 songs on it. If I had to narrow it down to a handful of artists, I would say Pete Yorn, The xx, U2, Carter Burwell, Nico Muhly, Lo-Fang, The Killers/Brandon Flowers, James Blake … ok maybe this is impossible!

I listened to this playlist while writing my most recent manuscript. From there you can also find other playlists I’ve posted.

2. What was your favorite book as a child?

As a child my favorite book was The Velveteen Rabbit. I was fascinated by the many-layered idea that love makes things “real,” and I can still imagine the feel of the bunny’s plush fur.

3. What are you most looking forward to about this year’s summer camp?

I’m really excited about this summer’s Songwriting Studio! I’m most looking forward to meeting the participants. The teens who sign up for this camp will be setting the tone. I’ll set the pace, introduce skills, etc., but my main job will be to support the participants in expressing themselves through music and lyrics both individually and as a group. They’ll lead the way. I’ll try to keep up! I really can’t wait.

Be sure to check out our camp list and register at www.projectwritenow.org/summer-camps.

Mimi Cross is a Writing Instructor for Project Write Now.