Mar 27

A NYTIMES OpEd: I tried to Befriend Nikolas Cruz

This appeared March 27 on the OpEd page of the NYTimes. You can read it on the Times, here: 

I Tried to Befriend Nikolas Cruz.
He Still Killed My Friends.

MARCH 27, 2018

PARKLAND, Fla. — My first interaction with Nikolas Cruz happened when I was in seventh grade. I was eating lunch with my friends, most likely discussing One Direction or Ed Sheeran, when I felt a sudden pain in my lower back. The force of the blow knocked the wind out of my 90-pound body; tears stung my eyes. I turned around and saw him, smirking. I had never seen this boy before, but I would never forget his face. His eyes were lit up with a sick, twisted joy as he watched me cry.

MGMC Featured at Poetry Riot Tonight!


Photo by Ron Sherman
Excuse the intrusion into what is your space. But I think it important that we mentors share our own writing from time to time. And, well, I like this. I worked hard at it. And I'd like you to read it. And tell me what you think. Because like any writer, young or less-young, I like feedback. Be well. gg

As many of you know, I'm as old as the hills. Well, not quite that old, but some mornings I feel that way. I wanted to share with you my perspective on the events since February 14, 2018, which made me look at when I was 18, and I took to the streets, as it were.
Mar 19

The boy

The boy isn't sure what the thing is the man is holding. A big box on three legs with a cloth in back and some glass thing in the front.
What's a camera? he asks. 
He still isn't sure even after the man tells him, but he tells the man he's OK with doing whatever it is long as it doesn't hurt. Stand still as you can, the man says. So the boy stands still as the man gets under the canvas in back and he hears a click and sees something move behind the glass and then the man pokes his head out and says, that's great. perfect. thank you. here you go. and hands him a silver coin. He thought it was a nickle but in his hand he sees it is a quarter, a whole 25 cent that he knows will be needed in his home.
Thank you, the boy says as the man folds up the three legs and slings it all on his shoulder and walks away, waving as he heads to his black sedan parked on the edge of the field.

Creating the Protaganist

A story -- non-fiction, fiction or narrative poem -- has these elements:
  • A setting -- the place in which the action takes place. Sometimes the setting itself becomes a character or is important in shaping the characters.
  • A protagnist -- the main character, the one the reader is supposed to care about.
  • A want or neet -- the main character needs or wants something and that want/need drives the action; this could be something specific or it could be something based on an emotion.
  • An antagonist -- the opposing character, the one who is preventing the protaganist from getting the thing he or she wants/needs.
  • A climax -- the moment when the opposing forces meet.
  • A change -- after the climax one of the characters needs to change.
Mar 16

SoundCheck on Friday, March 16 -- You Spoke Out

Photos by aesythe, YWP Publications Coordinator.

Thanks to all who presented and all those who came out to cheer on the folks who presented Friday night at Burlington City Arts. Great crowd. Powerful presentations. 

pI (gg) was so entranced by the presentations of Alex and Firegirl, he totally did not notice that the camera had lost power, thus zapping the stream and recording. He's mortified really.)

Mark your Calendars:

April 12, 2018 -- 6 p.m. workshop and pizza, 7 p.m. Open Mic at Burlington City Arts.

First Lines

Editor's note: This is a resource for a First Lines XP that is part of the Story Starter Workshop in YWP Academy. Join in if you'd like.

If you take a look at really good short stories or novels, you will see that they invariably have a great opening line. The first line in any story has a number of effects -- sets tone, jumps you into the action, establishes the setting or the conflict -- but all of them lure you in as a reader. Here are some good ones.

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. --  George Orwell, 1984

This is the saddest story I have ever heard. — Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier, 1915

It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not. —  Paul Auster, City of Glass, 1985

Other Walkouts around the U.S.

National School Walkout -- NYTIMES

Students gathered at Borough Hall in Brooklyn on Wednesday as part of a nationwide protest against gun violence. Credit: Annie Tritt for The New York Times

Here are portions of the NYTIMES story on the national walkout by high school students. The story was written By ALAN BLINDER and JULIE TURKEWITZ. Reporting was contributed by Julie Bosman, Sydney Ember, Anemona Hartocollis, Sean Keenan, Nick Madigan, Rick Rojas, Stephanie Saul, Nate Schweber and Kate Taylor.

In New York and elsewhere, students walked far and wide.

The first protests showed that the day’s demonstrations would unfold in different ways from city to city. In some cities, demonstrators chanted and held signs. At other schools, students stood in silence. In Atlanta, some students took a knee.