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Our 3rd Teen Story Slam was AMAZING

A year ago, a few writers and I tried something daring. We asked local teens to come out and read something they’d written to a live audience. It could be a poem, a confession, a chapter from a novel in progress, or a short story. Our only rules: Five minutes of reading, PG content only. We thought we’d have an intimate circle of intrepid readers, and we were cool with that. Well, our literary event, Teen Story Slam, WENT OFF! We packed a giant house wall to wall, on the night of the World Series no less. It was a historic outpouring of enthusiasm for the spoken word. Naturally, the writers begged us to do it again.
todayWith the support of Westside Pizza and the Kitsap Regional Library, we threw another Teen Story Slam and packed the house again. Local high school teacher (and playwright) Noah Barfield was a fabulous emcee. Parents, teachers, and adults lined the back of the restaurant, while every table was packed with teen writers and their friends. The peer support was phenomenal. The stories, poems, chapters and essays read were among the finest we’ve had. Around the room, tears were shed for poignant pieces about gender roles, the loss of love, and facing grief head-on. Conversely, there were comedians among our writers, earning cheers, hoots of laughter, and huge rounds of applause. It was incredible. Each time we present Teen Story Slam, our community of student writers elevates the event beyond our dreams, displaying talent, maturity, insight, and bravery.
We allow each reader to sign his or her name impermanently on a whiteboard with a dry erase marker. Throughout the slam, teens can strike their name, nominate a friend, or move their name higher or lower on the list. With the encouragement of friends and the awesome vibes coming from the audience, a few who’d sworn they wouldn’t read pulled up stories on their phones and took to the mic for an impromptu reading. One made up a fantastic story on the spot, and others read twice! 
Westside Pizza offered half the receipts of the evening in support of our annual Teen Writing Camp Intensive in the summer. Thanks to manager Maureen and her team, 22 teens will attend writing camp next summer.
As a teen writing instructor, I’m so thankful to each student for making this special event happen–again. It gives me a such a warm heart to see these young women and men choose to come out with their parents and friends and share their creativity.
If you’re looking for a fun, community-positive way to raise funds, chat with me about how to host your own Story Slam!

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Filed under For the love of writing, Your highest potential

Sign up for Teen Writing Camp on Bainbridge Island!

We’re so excited for the 2017 Teen Writing Camp at KRL’s Bainbridge Island branch!

Calling all Kitsap area teens in grades 7-12! Join me and author Margaret Nevinski for a jam-packed week building your work-in-progress, creating new characters and stories, and strengthening your writing muscles. Every day, we’ll provide writing prompts and activities to stretch your creativity and range. We even have a special camp theme: Character motivation. (Why do our characters act, talk and behave the way they do? Let’s explore!) We’ll sharpen dialogue, delve into interactive memoir using Storybooth, and venture into ekphrastic writing with an art expert at Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA). (Bonus points if you know what “ekphrastic” means!)Starting the week  in a dramatic setting, we’ll take over the auditorium at BIMA on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday, we’ll meet up at our traditional writing headquarters at KRL’s Bainbridge Island Community Room, where we will be among the very first to use the refreshed and renovated space! Prepare to be impressed and writing in comfort and style:)

Wait, there’s more! Margaret and I will provide one-on-one consultation each day, campers will share their prose in The Writers’ Circle, and we will produce our own Literary Magazine. If that isn’t enough, we’re also hosting a A Reading and Celebration of the Teen Writing Camp at BARN! The Friday evening celebration will feature our own intimate Spoken Word event for all camp participants. Invite your family and friends to hear your stories, chapters, poems, and/or essays. Dessert will be served. 

Our teen librarian Stefanie Reddy will provide yummy snacks daily. Your work-in-progress will thank you, and that shiny new journal will love the smell of fresh ink. We can’t wait to write with you!


Cost: FREE, thanks to KRL Bainbridge Island
Where: Bainbridge Island
When: Monday, July 17, 2017 –
2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Repeats every day 5 times, and then again on:
A Reading and Celebration of the Teen Writing Camp at BARN

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Filed under Fiction Novel Writing, For the love of writing