Dear Friends of Project Write Now:
There is nothing like hearing our young writers read their original words on stage in front of a live audience!
Thank you to the Two River Theater for inviting us to provide the “Voices of Hope” program as part of their Crossing Borders Festival, a four-day celebration of Latinx theater artists that was held earlier this month.
Each of our young writers—Nathaly S., Hané L., Nathalia G., and Joselin X.E.—wrote an original piece in response to a play they were paired with. Then they performed that piece at the start of the staged reading.
Audience members were moved and inspired by their brilliance and talent—their authenticity, insight, voices, and performances!
Here are some notes we received:
“It was an absolute JOY having [PWN] and your students involved in the festival this year. I can’t tell you how many fantastic things I was hearing from everyone who was lucky enough to hear their pieces.”
“The piece last evening was AWESOME! I loved the poetic flow and the message was so apropos to the reading. She was poised with confidence and it showed.”
We know how empowering writing and sharing our words can be, especially for our youth.
Whether you’ve taken a class, signed your child up for a class, or given a generous gift, YOU help us do this work, which is needed now more than ever.
We are especially GRATEFUL to our 2021-2022 partners for their generous gifts that helped make all of our community outreach programs possible this year!
The Shanley Family
Pamela & Ray Brunt
Victoria & Justin Gmelich
Juli & Paul Hencoski
Shanda & Stephen McManus
Kristina & Greg Phelan
The Chauhan Housley Family
Betsy & Harrison Newman
The Perskie Family
William G. Bassler and Associates
The Burke Day Family
The Chauhan Shing Family
Dr. David Gentile & Dr. Kristin Gustafson Gentile
Elyse & John Kehoe
Bob & GiGi Schumm
Ellen Snare & Paul Medford
Romy & Douglas Weine
FRIEND OF PROJECT WRITE NOW PARTNER
Karen Endres DeGirolamo
Carol & Joseph Schumm
Jessica, Maya & Luca Cichalski
Kathleen & Bruce Gibbons
Vera Adler Hoffman
From all of us at PWN, THANK YOU!
Bridge Ink 6.4
We are thrilled to release our newest issue of our young adult online literary journal, Bridge Ink—Volume Six, Issue Four! This issue features teen writers from Hong Kong, California, Massachusetts, and of course, New Jersey. Their voices speak to the struggles teens face today—love, longing, and hope for the future. We hope you will check them out! Find our latest issue at bridgeink.org.
Family Based Services Association of New Jersey
Every summer, we provide a four-session program to the teens of Family Based Services. This year we’ve introduced the importance of journaling by gifting each student a journal and then guiding them to write in response to reflective prompts. We are grateful to the students for welcoming us into their space and trusting us with their stories!
Let it Flow: Yoga & Journaling
To conclude our summer outreach programs, we spent the morning at Surfrider Beach Club, providing a yoga and journaling workshop for parents of children with disabilities. After doing some gentle yoga stretches, led by Miwa Fiore, we embraced the gorgeous summer day, tuning into our senses using the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding writing activity. As we shared what we wrote, we moved deeper into our appreciation for our humanity—our struggles, our joys, and our gratitude. We love that we’ve created such a supportive community that holds space for one another.
Long Branch STEAM Summer Program
We are so grateful to have been invited to provide summer writing camps to 5th graders in the Long Branch STEAM summer program at both Gregory Elementary School and Amerigo A. Anastasia School. Our focus was on curiosity, exploration, mindfulness, art, and well-being. The students were excited to engage with us and respond in their journals to topics on kindness and happiness. They also enjoyed our writing and drawing activity based on the The Circles All Around Us book we read to them. We had so much fun and look forward to coming back next summer.
Every Friday, we host a one-hour writing workshop on Zoom during which we write in response to prompts on a designated theme. This month, we explored the themes: “Left,” “Road,” “Table,” and “Give.” Though writers never have to share, we always enjoy hearing one another’s pieces and have formed an incredible, supportive community. Join us for our next Lunchtime Write-In to see what our upcoming themes will be!
This month at Senior Space in Red Bank, we read a short essay by Jessica Handler, “Notice.” We also wrote to Michelle Obama’s quote: “Becoming is never giving up on the idea that there’s more growing to be done.” We had a lively discussion about what parts of ourselves we express the least and why.
Shore House (Long Branch)
This month at Shore House, we had TWO teen interns teach with us! First Sitara told the members about artist Phil Hansen, who developed a shaky hand after practicing pointillism but he didn’t let his limitations stop him. Instead, Hansen used non-traditional mediums that allowed him to be more creative and unique. Sitara shared Hansen’s quote—“Instead of telling each other to seize the day, we can tell each other to seize the limitations”—and we talked about how our constraints can encourage us to be more creative and flexible in our thinking. Then we practiced writing with constraints—a limited word bank, acrostic poetry (each line starts with a letter that forms a word), and tautograms (where every word starts with the same letter). The members came up with some incredible writing! Then we had Tim, who discussed the process behind creative writing—how we take from our own experiences to make something new and fresh, even if it turns out to be fiction. He used photo prompts that he generated with an AI and music prompts for us to listen and respond to. It was interesting to see the different perspectives that came from these prompts. The song, for instance, had some feeling like they were in a meadow, some at a funeral, and some dancing in love. It was a great lesson not just for craft but also to remember that everyone comes with a unique point of view. We love bringing our interns to Shore House!
The weather was gorgeous, and the writing and conversations even better for our Sidewalk Smiles writing workshop this month! Thank you to Gilda Rogers of the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center for hosting us and sharing her “Sidewalk Smiles: Tried & True Affirmations to Live By” cards. Each participant selected the affirmation that spoke most to them and then wrote in response to it. We loved the stories that emerged—about family love, seeking adventures, the rhythm of life, being grateful, and plumbing (yes, plumbing). We are now turning this into an annual summer event, so be on the lookout for next year’s date!
Teen Writing Group
Teen Writing Group had a great session this summer with FOUR incredible teen leaders taking turns teaching lessons throughout the class! We loved how eclectic the class became with so many unique perspectives in the Zoom room. Some leaders focused on idea-generating, some on the process of revision, and others on the introspection that is born from writing creatively. We’re so grateful for their voices! Our next session of Teen Writing Group begins Thursday, September 29; register today!
The Write Time
Our summer class just for teachers concluded this month. We loved having the dedicated time and space to just write (and share). We continued using the prompts in Abigail Thomas’ Two Pages to write between classes and then we read and wrote in response to a short flash piece from Creative Nonfiction’s Sunday Short Reads. Our Teacher Writing Collaborative will return this school year on select Thursday evenings from 5 to 6 p.m. ET. All teachers are welcome! Register here.
Write Out Loud
We had such a blast at our special Write Out Loud event at the Asbury Book Cooperative this month! Thank you so much to Jessica Yurkow and Ian McAndrew, founder of The Public Typewriter Project, for bringing gorgeous restored typewriters for us to type on. And thank you to all who attended and read in our open mic. Below is the story written by all participants in attendance, one line at a time. We love our writing community!
“I woke up this morning to a brand new season—a fifth one, actually. It was the eighth day of the week in the thirteenth month of the year. The wind was stronger than it had any right to be. Suddenly, all of those old stories didn’t seem so quaint. The path became known to me while ancient fairies sang me a song of how this came to be—the day that didn’t ever exist. It started when my words floated from my page, refusing to commit to the sentence I was trying to write. The earth grounded my presence, embracing feet as if they were extensions of the mycelium connecting deeply rooted truths. The truths swallowed me into the darkness of a fear I refused to admit out loud—a truth that would never pass my lips, yet echoed in the fairied songs; a truth that swallowed me whole and trapped me in a timeless time. Once unmoored from time, as I found myself that day, I knew this new season was the exact right one for me. A season full of new experiences and ripe with possibility. One I cannot ignore. The rotten fruit at the bottom of my fridge … delicious.”
We will continue our Write Out Loud event on the second Tuesday of the month. Register here for the next one on Tuesday, September 13.
Through our mission as a nonprofit organization, we remove barriers to participating in our studio classes by providing full and partial scholarship seats as well as payment plans. Since the pandemic began, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the need for financial assistance and therefore have met that need by offering more scholarship seats. In 2021, we provided 63 adult and 21 youth/teen seats totaling nearly $14,000. So far this year, we’ve awarded 60 seats totaling $12,740! For information about our scholarship program or to become a valuable donor providing these seats, please email Jennifer Chauhan at email@example.com.