While braving thunderous, horizontally-pitched rainstorms on “vacation” at Ocean Shores, friend Mimmi Beck emailed me: “My middle school writing group will be reading short stories at the Gig Harbor branch of the Pierce County Library March 13. Would you like to cover …?”
Yep, but …
Beck then lined up Doug Urner, a Gig Harbor resident and Highline School District teacher with a professional photography website, canishe.com, to cover that aspect of the event.
Fourteen seventh and eighth grade Kopachuck and Goodman middle school boys and girls are in Beck’s group; one is from Harbor Montessori. This local writing workshop has published several books on amazon.com, sold books at the Peninsula Art League Art Fest and hosted local coffee shop reading events. Their Amazon book, “Riddle Me This,” is a collection of two-minute mysteries and riddles in circulation among local middle school classrooms. They gathered at the library earlier this month and read short stories they’d submitted to the Pierce County Teen Writing Contest. Contest results are not yet known.
“Writing is the only way I can express myself about how I feel and what makes me tick,” said Goodman’s Ashley Lauren Ryan. “When I write, who I am is hidden in pencil. My laughter and tears stain the paper forever shared with others.”
Harbor Montessori’s Gaelan Steele thinks “the best part of writing as a group is the ability to share ideas and help each other decide how our stories will come out. Few things excite me more than an amazing idea for something that happens in a story.”
“I really enjoyed writing when I was younger but I never thought I would be able to share my writing with others, let alone have my writing published in books,” said Kopachuck’s Reina Knowles. “Writing club gives me the opportunity to flourish and grow as a writer.”
To classmate Jonathan Feng, “Writing is a great experience, especially with a group of friends. It adds a whole new dimension of ideas and makes everything come to life.” To classmate Emma Beck, “Writing is a lot like painting or playing music in that you share something of yourself with other people.”
“Writing is a great hobby of mine but was overwhelming, stressful and tedious at times when I worked alone,” said Goodman’s Mitch Huber. “Participating with friends who share my passion helps me be more interested and comfortable. A supportive community makes it easier and more fun.”
Schoolmate Travis Hand loves to write. “My group puts in hours on end to create stories. We build friendships and trust writing together. Words are not the only things that go into the paper.”
“When I write, the whole world opens up for me,” said Goodman’s Kira Rosenlind. “I can use 26 symbols to make readers cry, hope and think. Writing with a group is like using all of your senses; you are able to see the story in a multitude of ways. We are able to turn reality into fantasy. As the saying goes, ‘Writers are children who never really grew up.’”
“I love writing because it lets you express your feelings though a character that other people can connect to,” said Kopachuck’s Ellie Skiffington. “I love being in this club because you hear stories from people just like you and never feel like you’re the only one who writes for fun.”
“If someone searched my history they’d find ‘how to kill a character without anyone knowing’ and ‘baby names,’” said Goodman’s Hannah Thomas. “Working with a group of young writers is fun and exciting. We create memories.”
“I like writing in a group because you get all kinds of different ideas for your stories,” said Boone Jarvis of Goodman MS. “I have a story about pirates coming out in 2017. Many ideas for that story came from other members of our group.”
To learn more about the group, to borrow a classroom set of books by the young authors or to invite the young writers to read their stories, email firstname.lastname@example.org. To see other photos of the young writers in action, visit canishe.com.
Hugh McMillan is a longtime contributing writer for the Gateway. He can be reached at email@example.com.