Why Do Some Young People NEED to Write?

Why Do Some Young People NEED to Write?

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Sometimes, parents of our campers tell us they are at a loss to understand their child. Brothers, sisters and cousins play hockey and soccer. They go to the same camps their parents went to as children. Then, there’s the young arts enthusiast. The child who wants to play music, act, make films, paint… or write. For some parents, this son or daughter may be tougher to understand. What drives them? Why do they need to do what they do?

For these kids – the ones who stand out as being different in a family – going to an arts camp or taking creative workshops in the evenings after school can be life changing. It’s not only a way to develop their interests and talents. It’s a way to find their tribe.

Here is a poem written by Tess, who took writing programs with us this summer. I don’t think she set out to explain to others why kids like her need to do what they do, but the poem goes a long way to explaining what drives creative youth – and if you have an arts enthusiast in your family, maybe it will help you understand who they are.

I Am A Writer

I am a writer.
And while that may not sound simple,
I assure you, it is, because what it simply means is,

I have been making up stories since before I even knew what the word story meant.
Crafting characters and conflicts into a jumbled mess.
Having names that aren’t my own,
living lives that I couldn’t even begin to imagine,
but those I tried to.
And that entire worlds are trapped inside my lungs,
and with every piece written it becomes a little easier to breathe.

It means that everything is a work in progress,
one step forward and two steps back.
That plot and punctuation are my daily bread and butter.
It means that when inspiration strikes at midnight, I have to follow it,
and see where it takes me – not just a want,
but a need as real as breathing.

It means that I want others to feel as deeply as I do;
to laugh and cry and gasp along with my characters and me.
It means loving people who aren’t real,
but are lifelong friends all the same.

It means that words arc out of my fingertips like waterfalls,
and I couldn’t stop the flow even if I wanted to.
It means that while writer’s block is like a frustrating 4 walls,
it also forces me to think outside the box.

It means that I am simultaneously content and never satisfied with what I love.
It means that one day I will forever leave an unfinished sentence behind,
when my life becomes just another story.

It means that I am a writer.
That, quite simply, a writer is who I am.

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