Class of 2011,
I have avoided this. I think. But I can no longer.
You are, to YWP, a special class. The majority of you who graduated from high school this spring and who have graced this site, began this site. It was you who first found it, consumed it, contributed to it, built it and gave it the life and energy that continues on. Thank you. (And read on... I have an idea.)
I was intending to name each one of you, to give you some free association of words and descriptives for each, but I realized that isn't the point. It's about you as a group. You maintained our rule -- be civil and respectful; you set the standards -- you were prolific and diverse and funny and powerful and angsty and creative; you directed the slams; you were widely published; you populated workshops; you brought on younger writers; you helped make YWP what it is.
On a personal level, I got to know you. Each of you. I learned from you. I was entertained by you. I was amazed by you. I remain deeply appreciative of your energy and spirit and determination to get better, do more, stretch whatever envelope that society tries to put you in and express yourselves. You have no idea really, how much further your words spread and how many people you have touched.
So this is a quick note to thank you. ALL of you.
And, as is the style of this organization, I want to offer you an idea.
Last night I came across (actually Facebook TOLD me my name was used and provided me a link, I mean how weird is that?) a conversation between two of you lamenting the fact they were no longer on the "Writers to Read" list (sorry, no ceremony, new ones added; was that terribly rude?) AND lamenting that they had no place quite like youngwritersproject.org AND suggesting that perhaps we could build something... hmmm.
So I thought, what if, what if, YWP created a site for you. We've been thinking about this for a while, but ... we're already busy AND we're not sure what works. But we want to maintain the connection not only to keep you as mentors here but see what we could do to help continue the dynamic of expression, feedback, revision and audience.
The site would be something different -- a site open only to college-level writers; and something the same -- a respectful community. It would have some of the funky ywpish flavor, but some new things we've been cooking up. And the idea would be that this would be a place to continue your writing, continue connecting and build new writing friendships. What it becomes, well... who knows.
Perhaps this would be a place for you to experiment on the next level, to express what you will be going through which, frankly, will be the biggest set of changes you've experienced so far. A site that would be open for you to bring in members of your new communities.
It is an ambitious project, but then again not. I would propose having some of you become the primary web masters; YWP would just make sure it worked. And, along the way, we'd help you find some place to gain a greater audience.
IF THIS INTERESTS YOU, please contact me. Either leave a comment, send me a message, send me an email, call me, send out your carrier pigeon. We could finish it by the end of summer, but we really should meet first to see what features, attributes, design makes most sense.