Tina K. Russell

April 15, 2008

Mentors

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Tina Russell @ 4:31 pm

With Mentors at Their Sides, Girls in Need Write Their Stories and Find New Lives – New York Times

Please forgive a really long excerpt (you, the readers, as well as The New York Times):

The reading was hosted by a nonprofit group that pairs high school girls from disadvantaged backgrounds who want to be writers with women who are authors, journalists, playwrights, poets and editors. The group produces an anthology of student writing each spring, and puts on several public readings.

The readings are often the first chance girls get to read their own words in front of an audience.

“I was so nervous when I stepped onstage,” recalled PinChang, a junior at Flushing International High School. “I was shaking. But now I feel like I can say or do anything.”

Maya Nussbaum, 31, helped found the group, Girls Write Now, 10 years ago when she was a senior majoring in creative writing at Columbia University.

Shelly Taylor, 26, and Carmen Li, 17, meet at the Vandam Diner in SoHo on Thursdays for ice cream floats and poetry.

“We were really lucky to be paired together,” said Ms. Taylor, a published poet from rural Georgia who works as a bartender and a writing coach at Empire State College. “We both write poems that sound like prose, and we’re both very random, very outside of the box, as people and as writers.”

The two are the first writers in their families.

“Where I’m from, if you tell your mom and dad you want to write poems for a living, they have no clue what that’s about,” Ms. Taylor said. “It can be very isolating. I never had a mentor until graduate school. That made all the difference.”

I may be in college–and not all that disadvantaged–but I’d really like something like this. Does anybody know of… anything? (I’m from Oregon, y’all…)

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