This moment was a week in the making.
The pieces had been written. And rewritten. And revised, and probably rewritten again. Now it was simply the writers, their completed (and astounding) work, and a sleek wood podium behind which they would complete their journey as participants in the Young Writers’ Workshop.
As they did yesterday, the writers spent most of their day reworking the pieces they planned to present this afternoon. When they weren’t writing, they were practicing reading their work in the Beach Museum gallery room, where the actual reading would take place.
“A good writer supports other writers in their work.” – Program Director Katherine Karlin
The goal of practicing was not only to make sure the writers sounded confident as they read the words they’d worked so hard to produce, but that they looked the part also. Speaking in front of a large group of people—especially when most of those people are strangers—can be nerve-wracking. But our writers weren’t just speaking: they were sharing their triumphs and vulnerabilities, to the largest group of people some of them had ever read to. It was a big moment, and most importantly, an earned moment. We wanted to make sure each writer knew that, felt that, and showed that when they read.
It seemed that our practice run had just begun when it was time for the reading. Parents, siblings, (even grandparents) filed into the gallery. The high, exciting energy eclipsed any last minute nerves any of our young writers may have had. The comfort of a familiar face or two, even in the midst of many that were unfamiliar, put everyone at ease.
One by one, our pen-wielding heroes took to the podium and read their work to the audience.
They were animated. They were endearing. They were confident. Each had embraced a new part of themselves they’d slowly become acquainted with during the week, and wore their new roles with pride. We hope that this pride will continue to shine as the writers leave the four walls of the Beach Museum, that they will hold onto what they’ve learned this week and expand on it in their own time. Being a hero can be hard work, but each and every one of our writers have proven that they are up to the challenge.
Young Writers, if any of you are reading this post, I leave you with this: May your pencils remain as sharp as your minds, and your paper as fresh as your ideas. Also, if you ever need someone to take a photo for your future book jackets, I’m your guy!
We will have one more post going up on Monday, to feature more pictures from the reading!
~ Dustin Vann, Program Assistant
Young Writers’ Workshop Class of 2015