Welcome! (And what's the deal?)


So...um...here I am. And so are you.

Welcome to us.

(And welcome all the various spambots and Google spiders who are also reading this, in their way.)

And Hi! Mom. (Actually, she isn't here. She's hiking in England.)

I'm really happy to be the Young Voices writer in residence, in residence here...and on your computer when you point it at this page or when you email me your writing. (youngvoices@torontopubliclibrary.ca).




So, what am I doing here? 

Well, right now I'm typing. I just typed "Well, right now I'm typing."

But generally, I'll be doing three things:

1. I'll be hosting an online workshop right here.. So, as you send me your creative writing--if you give me permission--I'll post it online on this blog and we'll discuss it. We'll speak about what is great about it, ways to improve it, other thoughts. I'll comment on it, but, I hope, so will other young writers.

Send your work to youngvoices@torontopubliclibrary.ca and I'll post it for discussion. Remember to give me permission. And I'll be moderating the discussion and will make sure that the comments are constructive and helpful----not that any trolls will be here to be nasty, but just to make sure. Just in case Alice Munro writes a snarky comment because she's jealous of your killer writing skills.

I hope the students' comments will say what is working about a piece of writing and what's interesting about it, as well as mentioning possible ideas for improving it. "Hey, I always thought Harry Potter would be better if the main characters were all squids in sweaters, but what do I know?"

I think the best way to learn how to write (better) is to try lots of things, to read a lot, and to talk to others about writing. And to have a community of writers (even if only for a month) to share work with and talk about writing.

2. I'll be reading and commenting on poems, fiction, and other creative writing that you send me at  youngvoices@torontopubliclibrary.ca. This will one-on-one email to email. (The only people who will read it is you, me, and a librarian who administers the account.) I would like to have most of the work shared on this blog, but sometimes, it's best to discuss the work privately, or else, you might not feel comfortable sharing it yet. Let me know.

3. I'll also be posting ideas for things to try as a writer. (Hey, what if all the main characters in Harry Potter were squids in sweaters?) I'll also post some interesting examples -- writing and links to writing that I think will be inspiring. 

4. I'll answer your questions. Send them in! (If I were a squid, what kind of sweater would I wear? Which Hogwarts class would I teach?)




1. Poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction. Visual poetry. Lyrics.

2. I have about a month in residence and I'll try my best to get to all the work sent to me. It may not be possible if I receive enough to fill the Albert Hall. So, though I'd love to read your entire novel, it's best to send short things, or excerpts. We can talk about plot -- if you send in a plot summary with a chapter or two. We can also talk about ideas for things and how to plan your writing.

3. Send your work to youngvoices@torontopubliclibrary.ca -- and let me know if it's ok to post it here on the blog where we can all marvel at your brilliance, your wit, your sensitivity, and your great ability to wrangle a sestina. And we can workshop your writing. 




I plan to keep adding interesting things. (Pix of my dog? His name is Dude 'Radical' Barwin and he used to be able to skateboard. Really. My son taught him.)

And watch for Tweets via: @TPLTeens


Looking forward to reading your writing!