Given this opportunity, I wanted to write something beautiful, something memorable like Andrew’s post, something that would show how moved I am by how much we have grown – from 7 or 8 or so of us in my first meeting three years ago, awkwardly sitting in a rectangle as Andrew and Paula tried to get us to take their pizza, to this year’s first meeting, with a listserv of more than 300 students and a good 40 or so of us squeezed in a classroom with bolted chairs, sitting just as awkwardly as we faced the chalkboard and not each other.
I wanted to write something that could convey how valuable it has been to be in a room full of diverse writers with distinct and powerful voices, where poetry and personal narratives and humorous quips find their way into the dialogue of our meetings; I wanted to write about how much I personally look forward to Tuesday nights so that I may pause from the rush of classes and work, and instead listen to the creative writing fabric woven by talented students here at UCLA – threads that probably would not have come together without the space the Writer’s Den envisions.
I wanted to write something to show how proud I am of our board and our members, especially in the volunteering front. In our discussions and lesson planning, you can see how dedicated each one of them is to the middle school students and to the students at our new site at Wooden High. If I could, I would paint you the early morning rides to school, the number of times a volunteer would exchange sleep just to get to their weekly sessions, and the volunteers’ at times difficult yet irreplaceable experiences in the classroom. I would draw for you how vibrant and moving our students’ stories and personal accounts are, the walls they need to break through to graduate, and the creativity and self-belief we hope to inspire.
With 2013 starting, and more writing retreats, creative writing contests, and (crossing my fingers) a panel in the works, I wanted to write something that could show how afraid I am of all that still has to be done, but also of how excited I am of all that will be done. Someone asked me this last year why I spent so much time on the Writer’s Den. And I could only answer that I didn’t know, that it was a mix of everything, that when there’s something good, you know it, and Writer’s Den was something good, that I believed in creativity and how far it can take people, that writing made me remember to be human – and perhaps, I said, like me, someone will stumble upon our club and find something that they find worthwhile.
I wanted to write something that said all of this – but sometimes it’s just too hard to find the words.
All my best,