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What a Teacher Discovers in Her Summer Writing Camps

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By Samantha Strauss

Last year was our first summer of writing camps at Project Write Now. I must say that at first I was skeptical. All of my classes at the studio had been an hour or an hour and a half long. How would I keep these young children entertained for three hours in one small room? I trepidatiously asked our fearless leader Jennifer, “Are you sure these camps should be three hours?” hoping she didn’t hear the terror in my voice. Jennifer is the eternal optimist, and she has supreme faith in me. “It’ll be great!” she said, not having to fake her confidence. All right, here goes nothing, I thought. Read more

The Healing Power of Writing

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By Gay Norton Edelman

Writing was always going to be part of my life. An avid independent reader since second grade, I created my first book around the same time, a collection of elephant jokes. (How can you tell there’s an elephant in your apple tree? By the red polish on her toenails.) That was just for fun.

When I hit adulthood, writing took on life-saving power for healing past traumas and navigating present trials. In my 30s, when the ugly bits from my childhood were screaming for attention, it was all about rip-out-your-guts poetry. The only place I shared it was at a small counseling center art show. It was so raw it carried a “Mature Eyes Only” warning. Beyond the show, I didn’t let others see it. I didn’t need to. I wrote it for me. Read more

Honoring My Mom

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By Jennifer Chauhan

Since my mom passed away in September 2007, I’ve been documenting my grief in short essays written every few years around Mother’s Day. It started with “Missing My Mom” and then “Remembering My Mom.” This year I’d like to write about honoring her.

There is tremendous healing that comes from writing and sharing our life stories―especially the painful ones, those born of loss, separation, heartache, disappointment. I’ve witnessed this curative transformation in others for the past year and a half in my memoir classes.The outpouring and sifting through memories. The splitting open (as Natalie Goldberg proscribes) to speak from a point of truth. The release, often with tears, as stories are shared and held by others.

When my mom died my grief was so raw, so excruciating all I could do was scribble my pain―flashes of memory of hospice, questions about why she had to go, why now, when I wasn’t ready―into the pages of a notebook I kept tucked in the console of my car. I would pull it out during the few quiet moments I had before picking up kids from school, soccer, dance. Yet in those pages, my healing began. Read more

Voices of the In-Between

Lisa continues the practice of creating art and decorating the walls of her home.

Lisa continues the practice of creating art and decorating the walls of her home.

By Lisa Hartsgrove

I remember being 13 like it was just yesterday. It was the hardest year of my life. Hormones at their highest. Starting a new school. Constantly judging my self-worth against others. My parents not listening to me, or at least feeling that way. Not quite an adult; not quite a kid. Like many 13-year-olds, I thought I was lost. I thought I was alone.
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Why I’m Signing My Children Up for Summer Writing Camps

By Allison Tevald

My son has never liked sitting quietly and coloring or painting. The closest he came to working his fine-motor skills―which his pre-K teachers said were lacking―was making his toy trains and cars go vrooom. I wasn’t concerned. He’s clearly bright. He notices periphery details even while engrossed in pretend play of crash-burning airplanes. He articulates his feelings well, and has an insane memory.

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The Power of Poetry

By Jennifer Chauhan

For the past few months, I’ve started my day reading poetry. Each morning I awake to find a “Poem of the Day” in my inbox, sent from the Academy of American Poets or Rattle. It’s become my own form of morning meditation. Words in, breathe out. Words in, breathe out.
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