“Insurance Isn’t a Glamorous Job”: The Young Writers Tackle Memory, Photography, and Sensory Detail

The second day of the Young Writers’ Workshop challenged the young writers to think about memory and photography. Before the day’s events began, the young writers were asked, “If you could take a picture of anyone or anything, who or what would it be?”

The writers said they would capture images of Olympic gymnastics, the bottom of the ocean, and The Who performing in the 1970s among other images. Afterwards, the young writers played a game of Two Truths and a Lie; the purpose of this activity was to get the writers thinking about character building, memory, and the emotions attached to memories. The writers deceived their peers by telling them they had three dogs, loved peanut butter, and played all the Legends of Zelda games.

Next, the young writers were tasked with finding their favorite personal photo. As the young writers shared their favorite photos, they described the people and pets in the images, explaining why the photo is important to them.

Our visiting artist today was photographer Doug Barrett. Doug showed the young writers how to incorporate narratives into their photography. He emphasized the importance of having a message in mind when taking photos so viewers can connect with the image.

The young writers took ten photos during Doug’s visit then chose their favorite three to share with the group. When asked what inspired them to take pictures of certain objects, the young writers explained they took pictures of things they could write about later such as steps leading into shadows or berries that reminded them of a loved one.

After lunch, the young writers received a virtual tour of the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art from Kathrine Schlagek, Associate Curator of Education. The Beach Museum is one of the co-sponsors of the Young Writers’ Workshop; in previous years, it has acted as the Workshop’s meeting space, and its exhibits continue to act as a source of inspiration for the young writers. Today, the writers viewed pieces from the Beach’s 2×2 Exhibit, some of which are pictured below. 

Kathrine asked the young writers to think about the tone and emotion art can create with color, shading, linework, and symbolism. By comparing two images of owls and deer, Kathrine explained how one image can be interpreted, stylized, and reimagined by different artists for different purposes. 

Next, Tolu led a meme exercise. The young writers were challenged to find images that depict how they see themselves vs. how others see them; they were also encouraged to create a meme juxtaposing the two images.

How others see Jibran
How Mira sees herself (left) vs. how others see Mira (right)

Later in the afternoon, Dustin asked the young writers to choose their personal photo or a photo they took during Doug Barrett’s visit as a prompt for a story or poem. The writers were encouraged to incorporate sensory details into their writing to bring their pictures to life in their work.

“My ant brother, my friend, don’t die on me!”
“One flower, one petal. It is done.”
“Insurance isn’t a glamorous job.”

The young writers ended the day by answering the question, “What’s your alter ego’s favorite picture?” Whether they were drawn or written, the young writers’ responses did not disappoint!

That’s a wrap on day two of the Young Writers’ Workshop. Feel free to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram so you can follow what the young writers are up to the rest of the week!

See you tomorrow!

Adri Gordey

YWW Program Assistant

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