Here’s what we’ve been up to this past month via Zoom! If you are interested in bringing a program to your school or organization, email Jennifer Chauhan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Write-In & Share at the Asbury Book Co-Op
We had an incredible time writing at the Asbury Book Cooperative on Friday, September 25! We are so grateful to the writers who came and wrote with us and to this amazing community partner for their support. We wrote in response to prompts about our past, present, and future—moving from recollecting to reflecting to imagining. Writers shared stories about loved ones, about perseverance and self-love, and about their greatest dreams. We were so inspired by their bravery and openness to be vulnerable with us. This is what writing is all about! We look forward to more writing workshops with Asbury Book Co-Op because where is a better place to get together in person and write than a book store?
Teacher Writing Collaborative
We kicked off the school year with our first Teacher Writing Collaborative class on Thursday, September 24. Usually we begin with writing, but given the hectic start to the school year, we took the entire hour to share. First, how we are feeling and coping, but then we moved into sharing lesson plans, virtual platforms, and other strategies that we are using to help build community with our classes through writing. Our Teacher Writing Collaborative is open to teachers of all grades and backgrounds and you can drop in for one or all. Our next class is Thursday, October 8. Register here.
PWN Teen Instagram
At the suggestion of our Teen Ambassadors, we have widened the scope of our Bridge Ink Instagram account by turning it into “PWN Teen.” Teens can now find everything they need to support their writing life right on our IG—resources, inspiring prompts, reading recommendations, and more! We are even hosting weekly Teen Takeovers, during which one teen shares a week in their writing life on our story. (Each Takeover is saved as a highlight bubble on our profile.) Join this amazing community of teen writers on Instagram by following us here! (If you’d like to join our Teen Ambassador Program [ages 13+] or are interested in how to become the next Teen Takeover on our IG, please email program coordinator Lisa Hartsgrove at email@example.com.)
Shore House (Long Branch)
We are so excited to invite you to our Shore House Writers Celebration! Join us on October 8 from 5 to 6 p.m. at 266 Broadway, Long Branch, for a live reading of our latest anthology, Beyond the View. Parking will be available at 279 Broadway, Long Branch. If you can attend, please RSVP to Susan Mazzeo at firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday, October 1. We would like to express our gratitude to the Monmouth Park Charity Foundation and New Jersey Natural Gas for giving us the “Accomplish More Together” grant, which made this project possible. We hope to see you there!
Red Bank Public Library
With the Red Bank Public Library this month, our writers delved deep, brainstorming a list of things we “cannot tell.” We then zeroed in on a particular item and pushed further, writing the story of who, what, when, where, and why. We also read excerpts from Georgia Heard’s lovely book on writing, Writing Toward Home, Tales and Lessons to Find Your Way. We discussed famous authors such as Susan Sontag, Virginia Woolf, Joan Didion, John Steinbeck, and Franz Kafka and their personal take on the art of journaling. Each student identified with an author’s philosophy that most represented their own philosophy. Then we tried on the six-word memoir for size after reading the New York Times article “The Pandemic in Six-Word Memoirs.” There was much laughter about Zoom and what one wears (or doesn’t) as well as the many different sides of spouses we are now introduced to. We love this group!
“Womyn’s Worth” mentoring program at Lunch Break
This month with the remarkable women of Womyn’s Worth, we opened up with the prompt “I am here and I am …” We examined our prose and circled “feelings,” and then we put those feelings in order of importance. The most important feeling was centered on a blank page with a constellation “brainstorm” emanating from the feeling. What was the common thread? What was the narrative in the constellation? Some of the responses included: “Desire to improve and elevate me and everyone else around me”; “I want to stay in tune with the purpose of my being”; “I am at the start of the new me after completing all the stages of grief”; “I have a purpose”; “If I can visualize it, I can attain it.” For inspiration, we read from Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming, and the poem “Each World” from the book Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jaqueline Woodson. As always, these women INSPIRE!
Teen Writing Group
Our Fall Session I Teen Writing Group just started and we are already raving about our teens again. One teen leader opened the first class by making sure she had everyone’s names correct (pseudonyms acceptable!) and correct pronoun preferences. She did a great job setting the tone of support and safety. The other teen leader had to work but still managed to show up on Zoom for the group while also managing customers at a coffee house. These teen leaders always prioritize Teen Writing Group and we are so proud of both of them! We have two students who are shy in the group this session, but with the gentle guidance and encouragement of our teen leaders, both felt comfortable enough to share a little bit of their work or process by the end of the FIRST class! These teens rock! If you’d like to learn more or sign up for our next session of Teen Writing Group, click here.
Friday Lunchtime Write-In
Every Friday, we meet on Zoom from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. to write in response to prompts on a designated theme. This month we’ve explored themes on memories and problems. After generating our drafts, we spend time sharing what we’ve written. We always enjoy hearing one another’s pieces and have formed an inspiring, supportive community of writers. Join us for our next Lunchtime Write-In to discover what our upcoming theme will be! All proceeds support our community outreach programs.
Through our mission as a nonprofit organization, we assist in removing barriers to participating in our studio classes by providing full and partial full scholarship seats as well as payment plans. In our spring and summer sessions, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the need for financial assistance and therefore have met that need by offering more scholarship seats. Since March, we have provided 36 adult and 21 youth/teen seats totaling more than $10,750 in scholarships. We know the students who did not have to leave or who wanted to take classes are incredibly grateful for this support. For information about our scholarship program or to become a valuable donor providing these seats, please email Jennifer Chauhan at email@example.com.