With school out for the summer, there’s plenty of time to create! Even better than a summer vacation is the chance to use your imagination and learn clever skills that stay with you your whole life. Why not join Book City, a summer writing and bookmaking workshop for teens, taught by the brilliant Kate Schapira?  She spills more about into what to expect during Book City in our interview below.

Class starts on Tuesday, July 19 and runs twice a week for 4 weeks. The cost of the course is pay-what-you-can with a sliding scale of $10-175.  No prior writing experience required! Register today to secure your spot.

Thank you to RISCA for supporting this class!

Q: Can you imagine what it might be like as a teenager interested in writing, but possibly intimidated to share secret thoughts?

A: Not only can I imagine that, I’ve been that! It was a while ago, but I remember it well enough to say a few things that I wish someone had told me at that time:

  • You don’t have to share your secret thoughts. The things that you include in your writing can be things that the people who know you already know you think, or things that you make up. Writing has more power for both writer and reader when it feels true, but that’s not always the same as telling every bit of the literal truth, though it can be. The writers whose poems we’ll read together are all over the map in terms of how much they choose to reveal. You can do what works for you.
  • It’s really natural to compare what you FEEL like to what everyone else SEEMS like—you’re the only person you know from inside, after all—but it can be helpful to keep in mind that everyone who writes has truths they’re worried about saying out loud or writing down, that everybody has moments of more or less confidence and moments when the possible consequences of telling the truth makes them nervous, and that everyone’s truth is important to tell and important to hear, when they’re ready. That includes you, and it includes the other participants in this class too, which is why we’re going to write AND read, talk AND listen.
  • We—the class as a whole—are going to do our best to make the room in which we write together an exciting, kind, and fair room, a room where sharing your thoughts (whatever kind) feels possible to you. If you have ideas about how we could make the room more like that as the class goes on, please let us know; think, too, about how what you’re doing could make the room more exciting, kind and fair for your classmates!

Q: Is it okay if students don’t have any prior experience?

A: Absolutely! This is a class for people who write on their own a lot, for people who never do, and for people anywhere in between. The exercises/suggestions for writing will be various and easy to try. If you think you might like to write a bunch of poems that go together and make a book out of them, this class is for you. 

Q: How is collage a good entry point into creative exploration?

A: Collage lets you make up some of it but not all of it, whatever “it” is. Someone else has done the making; you get to do the choosing and arranging. If making something new is feeling a little daunting to you, or if you don’t know where to start, collage lets something else provide you with the starting point, and you can continue on from there; it can be like getting a boost over a wall. It can also help you come up with combinations of words, images or ideas that you might not have thought of on your own, which can in turn get you started on trains of thought that are your own. This is true of words, images, or a combination!


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