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Eerie to visit your birth home to wander the clutter of memory & change. 1960's: Sleepy mountain town, 640 people, 32 farms. Now: wealthy weekend community. Among the gone: Danny's Shoe Repair. Push the heavy glass door, the jingle, the smell of leather; Danny looks up from his bench. A smile; a greeting in Italian as he rises, removes his green apron & comes to see what you've brought. "Tsk. Tsk." An admonition to take better care. "Treat your feet well, and you will live well."

Unrelenting dry heat shrivels plants, kills grass, shrinks berries. Rain please? No? Selective watering, hauling buckets to outer gardens, plants shake with joy. But not enough. A tease or salvation? Rain please? No? Bugs thrive, grubs, caterpillars consume leaves, fruits overnight, despite tiresome vigilance and gleaning. Rain please? No?

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@GeoffreyGevalt @katebowles @lauraritchie @Tdorey I know teaching is not a numbers game (despite what those in power might say as they crunch data points) but the number of young writers you have reached with YWP is something to celebrate, Geoff. Opportunity changes lives, and your project has provided opportunity for many (and will continue to do so, I am sure). Stay connected, won't you? Congrats on where your path has taken you, and the lives impacted, and where the path will still take you.

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@GeoffreyGevalt Agreed! Sending good wishes for whatever it is that comes next and hoping you continue to keep us updated on whatever that is/ turns out to be. @dogtrax
@katebowles @lauraritchie

Lights out.

After a heart warming dinner with the Young Writers Project board, after hearing startlingly kind words sent me from young writers on how much our little project has meant to them, I shut off the office lights for the last time after 12 years as director of YWP. If I could, I would tell the 110,000 kids YWP has touched how much their soul-baring, their ideas & observations, flights of fancy & moments of bewilderment enriched our lives. @katebowles @lauraritchie @dogtrax @Tdorey

I've announced it officially,, as of July 1 I'll be stepping down as director of Young Writers Project, to write my own stuff for a change and do unknown fun things. The organization,, will live on, led by Susan Reid another writer/editor & someone I've worked with for years. ... I hope to spend more time on here and build my small circle of pals, but know how much I have appreciated your support and encouragement for my work with young writers.

And while I'm here, @lauraritchie, was so sad not to catch you in England, particularly as we made it to two of my nerdish mecca's: 1) Jane Austin's house and 2) "As You Like it" at The Globe... such a wonderful treat to see Shakespeare honored by good acting, imaginative adaptation and a knowledgeable audience in, oh yes, a replica of the actual theatre. Hope you are well.

I have been long absent from this space as I wind down my work as director of Young Writers Project, a task that grows larger each day. @lauraritchie @katebowles @dogtrax I am not sure what lies ahead, whether my psyche can stand not pressing, pressing pressing at a job. I am tired, that I know. A summer off and then, who knows? And what of social media? Will writing be enough? On this day, though, I've tweaked an old story of an old story of D-Day. Have a read:

@Tdorey @lauraritchie @katebowles @ShorterPearson ... 1. have u had a chance to read what I put in google doc? 2. I need more time -- mid January work? (gnash, gnash) What we're getting is really strong.

@Tdorey @lauraritchie @katebowles ... More: Joined YWP in 7th grade; now getting master's in poetry: "I am so appreciative of what YWP offered me that my public high school never could. ... a creative outlet, a chance to meet new people, a place to go that felt safe and like home. It made me feel like my writing was valid and important, and like a creative pursuit was something that I could pursue. Honestly, YWP, and the other opportunities I discovered through it, got me where I am today."

@Tdorey @lauraritchie @katebowles Honestly, I don't know what to do with all this... skimming through the survey responses so far, I'm blown away by the depth of their thoughts & experiences:

"YWP, in many ways, saved my life. My home situation was terrible, I was alone, severely depressed, and for the most part friendless because the nature of my mental health problems drove my peers away. YWP was a safe haven for me. It was my family." This person now works in NYC and is doing great.

@Tdorey @lauraritchie @katebowles @ShorterPearson Amazing video conference with 8 former & current members of community. Recorded it; will edit out the chit chat & boil it down. So far, 7 thorough responses to our latest survey. With previous survey, good material to show impact of small network on identity, confidence, writing skills & ability to succeed later BECAUSE of the environment, interaction & smallness. AND shows difference in community 2006/7 vs now.

@Tdorey @lauraritchie @katebowles ... Have to share this (first survey result I looked at) "YWP was an emotional and mental haven for me where I could share my writing with other people who appreciated it. It helped me grow. Not only am I stronger communicator and writer because of my experience on the site, I am a more confident and emotionally resilient person because of the support and friendship I received during this time of my life...."

@Tdorey @lauraritchie @katebowles I have written some stuff on the googlie doc. mark it up as you see fit. ... we are interviewing a few kids via video conference tonight. I will have some of those comments and some of the survey responses ready for some of the parts at the bottom of the document (I've inserted some stuff in a couple of areas already.) cheers, g

@katebowles @lauraritchie @Tdorey @cogdog @ShorterPearson @dogtrax

How about a hashtag?

Here's my entry -- a 3,100-word snippet of a new fiction piece I am working on that is being performed this week on stage. IT HAS AUDIO, so you can read along & listen to Thursday's performance ... Or close your eyes drift back to Lyndon, Vermont, Jan. 1, 1892 & imagine the 17-year-old character, Carrie Alice Bickford.

Enjoy. Comments welcome, of course.


Want to be inspired by teens' creativity and soul? Go to http://the The October issue of Young Writers Project's The Voice is out!

@cogdog @Tdorey @lauraritchie @dogtrax @katebowles @ShorterPearson Am quietly reorienting, tweaking https:/ focus: visual design, navigation & commenting. Officially named, 41 users as Community Leaders; encouraged them to comment. Shifted our own comment modeling to conversational from academic. Personally email new users & writers whose work we highlight on front page. Numbers: Avg daily human visits jumped to 600 from 400; avg time per visit to 7 m. from 4. Comments UP

Teachers: Young Writers Project, a small non-profit in VT, celebrates the small and offers you private web sites centered on community storytelling within your classroom with content and support. Excellent for grades 5 and up. A great space for projects, practice writing and a storytelling initiative. Info here: (login as guest/guest) thanks @dogtrax @katebowles @lauraritchie @Tdorey for feedback and spreading the word. (works on College level, too!)

@lauraritchie @katebowles @ShorterPearson @Tdorey @cogdog @clhendricksbc @tellio Well, gang, we at Young Writers Project have been hard at work & have just published the summer issue of The Voice -- some amazing stories (several from our Summer of Stories Challenge that's just gotten underway), photos, and a little sound. This issue was put together by OUR INTERNS -- two amazing students from Champlain College. Do check it out! Enjoy.

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