About four years ago I was invited to visit a class of 7th graders in my town. Last Friday night, one of those 7th graders, now in high school, invited me to a performance of student poets.
I was blown away.
These are Young Adults of incredible bravery and honesty, and their verse ranged from difficult topics like slavery, divorce and the fallout from a recent broken heart to a fabulous tribute to the woes of the Trix rabbit. I cap the words Young Adult because the children that I remember from 7th grade had grown up, not just physically, but they had clearly come into their own, displaying poise, wit, and confidence. Incidentally, I’m not sure they’re even aware of how impressive they are.
I was really honored to hear them speak, and quite pleased to see that their literary ambitions had thrived. I was also inspired by their work. Seeing all of these students so many years later and realizing that I had an impact, however small, in their lives, reminds me that what I write has to be as honest as the speakers that night, and that I must be brave every day when I sit down to work.
Thanks for inviting me, Laura. I understand your trepidation, but I hope I will hear you perform someday.
Remember these people? Seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it?