Who is the little girl in the picture? Are the firemen in this picture happy? Regretful? What were their dreams?
On Aug. 1 and 2 at the Aurora Regional Fire Museum, I'll be teaching middle schoolers how to write in a six-hour, two-day short story writing workshop called Your Extraordinary Story.
When young authors find creative confidence -- creating the characters, plot, voice and details, editing their work -- they can tackle just about anything. Write a story. Be an author for life.
This is the third year for Your Extraordinary Story. It started with a friend (thank you, Alex!) whose daughter liked to write. I put a flyer together and, boom, we had a workshop at the Aurora Public Library.
I had always wanted to encourage youth to write because I meet many adults who tell me they can't put a sentence together. Honestly, I attribute this to someone in their life who planted the self-limiting belief. Was it a teacher who scrawled "F" across the top of an English paper? Or someone who said, "That sounds ridiculous" to a poem or story?
Writing is like anything else -- with encouragement and practice, you can be truly great at it. And it's so exciting to shape ideas, like clay, with words. Writing is everyone's tool.
I do one YES for Youth workshop each summer and upon request (we launched YES Corporate for companies earlier this year- super fun!). Writing makes a difference. Here's proof.
Every Tuesday this past school year, I took YES to remedial readers at Washington Middle School in my hometown of Aurora. Guess what? The My Genius Now program, which connected the arts with remedial readers, saw reading scores go up! I was excited about this leap, but not surprised. Reading requires confidence too.
These young authors inspire me. They trust their intuition when they create. They are brave. You have to be brave to write. You're sharing ideas, a story arc, a character's hopes. You choose words from a pool of thousands. You choose whether these words are quiet or loud or melodious or staccato. You're prioritizing arguments along a line of thinking. You are blossoming out the story with vivid detail.
Children do all of this without thinking, without fear. They trust their inner creative.
Back to the picture. One can only imagine their lives. And that is the place where ideas are born. The imagination. That's where photos like this one endure.
Courage. Words. Creativity. Confidence. Writing. YES!!!
To register for Your Extraordinary Story, go to Eventbrite. For more information, contact Michele Kelly, co-founder of K+L Storytellers, at (630) 697-2652 or firstname.lastname@example.org.