Monday, March 31, 2008

Don't Forget the Kids...

"Adolescents are not monsters. They are just people trying to learn how to make it among the adults in the world, who are probably not so sure themselves." ~Virginia Satir

A few months ago, there was an article in my hometown newspaper about a writing group that had formed at one of the local high schools near where I grew up (not my alma mater, but close by). I thought, well, that's cool...I should drop them a line and congratulate them, and tell them about my own success as a writer.

It took me a while, but I finally did. And this is the email I got in response:

Thank you so much for the beautiful card and note that we received this past week. Some of the writers in the...group have seen the card and were so moved. The others will see it on Thursday when we meet next. I heard comments like, "Oh my gosh a famous writer knows about us now" and "Let's get her book and write with her." This was really huge to the kids to be recognized this way.

You, like others in our community, are showing the students...that you value their gift of writing and that our group is important to those outside of the school. Most of these children have not excelled in sports or other areas and have really been somewhat lost in the hustle and bustle of high school life. This group has given them a home to share their thoughts, their losses and their dreams. I can tell by what you wrote that you understand how important having a place like this can be to someone who writes.We are all so excited about your upcoming book. Please let us know where we can get a copy, and if you are in the area, maybe we can meet...

So this is my latest message to anyone looking for different kinds of promotion: consider making contact with the high schools in your area. I don't think it really matters *what* you write (OK, maybe erotica would be out). I do think the fact that you're a writer, and that you've struggled to express yourself on paper, appeals to people of any age. And I believe (being a teacher myself) that giving kids someone to talk to and maybe look up to, is valuable in more ways than one.

Check and see whether or not your local school has any kind of creative writing group - even a newspaper. Writing for any audience requires similar talents. Send an email or a letter. I bet you'll be surprised at their response. And hey - it's one more way to get the word out about your own work (in case you're out of the loop, pre-teens and teens talk to their friends. A lot.)

Cool, right?

8 comments:

Marianne Arkins said...

That's so neat! And she's right, kids outside the spotlight of sports or other "glamorous" areas of school are often overlooked. You must have made their day.

And, hey... how's it feel to be a "famous author"? *G*

Mom said...

That's wonderful that you have given something special to these kids. Hopefully you can make contact with some of them at the summer appearance you plan in Homer.

MaryF said...

How cool! I know it would have made a difference to me when I was in a group like that!

Sarita Leone said...

What a great way to begin a week, with a smile. :)

Dru said...

That is a great letter and I bet it made the kids feel so much better to have a famous writer contact them.

I admire all the marketing and promotional efforts you're making on behalf of yourself and other writers.

windycindy said...

What a lovely gesture. The fact that most of the teenagers had not found a nice in high school is important. I would not have thought about it like you did. Kudos to you! Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

Virginia said...

What a sweet letter you received. That is a good way to get the word out, through schools. I would say that letter made your day.

Allie Boniface said...

Dru, That's a nice sentiment...thanks :)

And yes, to everyone else: that email definitely made my day!