I sometimes fancy myself a writer…and then I meet a 9th grade student who gives her definition of a “writer” and I realize that not even on my best day am I as gifted with words as this remarkable young lady.
The brain, the one that never stops analyzing and manufacturing new material is both a blessing and a curse because while it can bring you so much joy and satisfaction, it also reminds you of the life you don’t have, and the people you’ll never know and the love you don’t feel. It creates a whole novel out of nothing, and there’s no way to turn that off, so meaningless exchanges that strike you wrong become giant scenes of drama and angst that antagonize you to the point of anxiety, but since others don’t think the same way you do, they don’t understand why you’re so upset because your worries aren’t even real, they’re literally all in your head or on the paper in front of you.
They’re not real, it’s not real, it’s something coming out of absolutely nothing, but to you it’s everything and it kills you when someone strikes down the things you have spent hours thinking about because to you, your mind is your biggest asset, it’s the source of what makes you, you, it’s your art form, the way you express yourself, so seeing someone label it as invalid feels like them saying your existence is nothing. Sure that graffiti on the wall or the words on the bathroom stall may be insignificant to most, but to you it’s so much more because everything in this world has a story of how it came to be, and while most just see the present, you have the capability to simultaneously recognize the past, present and future, and morph it into a source of entertainment. If you don’t understand this, then you must not be a writer, but if this is striking a cord with you, and the words I am saying are making you feel a buzz within, sparking the inspiration and making your brain kick into overdrive, your fingers itching to get their hands on a pen or keyboard to write what’s occurring within you mind, then you are a writer. Gabriella Dennany
I met Gabriella and her mother at last year’s book signing when they approached me, tears in her mom’s eyes, saying that because of the Josh Crews Writing Project, she was publishing her first novel and working on her second. At that moment I was overwhelmed with emotion and knew that all the hard hours, put in by so many, was completely worth it.
Fast forward to last night, our third annual Josh Crews Writing Project ‘Author Book Signing,’ where Gabriella was invited to be a speaker and set up a table with her novel ready for purchase. She had communicated so well what other’s in the room feel in their hearts and souls. It was another intense moment for myself, as I felt directly connected to my friend Josh as she spoke. During one of Josh and I’s last conversations about his book, he was explaining the complexity of his plot, his arms thrashing wildly, conveying the passion of his story. He was like a mad scientist creating life but struggling for the words to make it live. That memory is burned forever in my brain.
But last night could not have been possible without teacher/Creative Writing Club Leader extraordinaire Abbey Cooke. She and the other amazing teacher/leaders: Erin Edwards BES, Michelle Eaton OKES, Christopher Knox RES, Marilee Palot WES, Joy Sanfilippo ITMS, Kim Pack ITMS, Dr. Kelly Grillo BTMS proudly watched their students with pen in hand and patiently wait to scribe their name on one of their very own books. For some, a “dream come true” in the palm of their hands.
The evening also featured an entertaining skit written and performed by the BTES writers, providing the opportunity for some of the students to realize their gifts extended beyond the page and onto the stage, another young published author, Sage Sackett, who wrote Uncle Namaste and the Meditating Monkeys, available on Amazon and Marian Tomblin, an author who writes local historical fiction for children.
It was another memorable evening that will be written into history.
To get involved with the Josh Crews Writing Project or other amazing programs offered by the Flagler County Education Foundation.
A small glimpse into life with Josh.
This year’s video of the project and the people involved 🙂