In the spring, Lilah came to me giddy with the news that Gail Carson Levine was going to teach a free writer’s workshop to teens this summer. This news had been posted on her Goodreads account for a week before Lilah discovered this. Immediately I called the library in Brewster, NY to see if it was possible to add Lilah to the class list. It was late Saturday night, but I wanted, no, I needed, to get Lilah into this class. How amazing would it be to kick off your high school experience with a class led by Gail Carson Levine??!! I called and left a somewhat frantic message on the library voice mail, begging and pleading for Lilah to be added to the list.
The library called me back Monday morning to assure me that Lilah was first on the list. They did not know that Ms. Levine posted this class and while I was panicking we would be on a wait list, they were chuckling over the urgency of my voice mail. We waited and eventually July came and Lilah never lost her eager anticipation over taking this class.
Here’s the thing. In the past I would have thought that this was good luck, a serendipitous event, a fortunate coincidence. I know understand that through God all things are possible and his plans are not always our plans and he has plans for us to prosper. This was there for Lilah to discover not because she randomly clicked a website, but because she had something to learn, about her craft of writing and about herself as a writer and God placed this opportunity before her and gave her the free will to accept or decline.
There is no doubt in my mind that armed with an idea and a laptop Lilah could be an author. Her OYAN novel clocked in at just over 20,000 words with a complex plot and a unique use of first person/third person. Until now, Lilah has never wanted to hone her craft through outside lessons. She has been content to write on her own in my writer’s workshop. Well, my writer’s workshop is NOTHING compared to Gail Carson Levine’s writer’s workshop. As I dropped her off for class #1, I stood in awe of these girls who were giving up a hot summer afternoon to sit in a hotter museum with notebooks on their laps and wonder in their eyes. Each week they tackled something different: dialogue, conflict, poetry including personification and iambic pentameter. They had to write from prompts, usually three typed pages sometimes beginning a story, sometimes ending a story.
Lilah now has a binder with six weeks worth of work, edited and commented on by a renowned children’s author. She is now armed with a bit more confidence, skill, and awareness of all there is to learn in order to write well. The hours she gave to this class were hours of self discovery, education, and challenge.
Should Ms. Carson Levine offer this class again, I’m sure I will be leaving a frantic message once again on the library’s answering machine and driving the hour+ drive to Brewster, New York, waiting on my girl, and wishing I were able to have had this experience at her age, heck, at any age!