This post was written by Alice Pencavel, a mentor in our Digital Media Mentoring Program, who attended our Mentor Training II Workshop on Saturday, January 25.
One of the most difficult aspects of writing (certainly for me) is patience. Bombarded with digital distractions, the youth of today are often criticized for their lack of focus, their impatience. My experience as a mentor with the Girls Write Now Digital Writing Program offers ample evidence to the contrary.
Jamerly is very patient. We move through poems line by line. We discuss intention, phrasing, perspective, sifting through every word. Her re-writes demonstrate persistence and thoughtful consideration.
Meeting weekly, we make time to discuss other worldly issues as well: gender, politics, religion, dreams. Technology has not killed the art of live conversation as our dialogue feels relevant, present, and thought-provoking. Her participation and steadfast point of view reveal a desire to reflect actively, to consider the world around her, and to incorporate her curiosity to the writing process.
I grew up in a world wherein the internet didn’t exist – and then it suddenly did. As we struggle to negotiate our lives amidst a rapidly evolving digital world, the younger generations enter into it knowing nothing else. How to incorporate digital advancements as part of the writer’s palette is a question they are better fit to interrogate. This is a very opportune time to have created a Digital Media Mentoring Program for young women.
Guiding a young woman has inevitably made me reflect on my own identity as a woman writer in the context of the world today. A great disparity between men and women still exists. Screenwriters, novelists, television writers – across the board men dominate in numbers, swaying our collective unconscious as a culture, making it more difficult for women to dream their futures.
Jamerly, on the other hand, has big dreams. She is not the slightest bit daunted by statistics or subliminal cultural expectations. There is no question whether her voice should be heard or not: it will.
The most satisfying aspect of my experience as a mentor has been getting to say “yes.” Yes, you can write in any genre; Yes, you can submit to that organization; Yes, you are a writer.
Hope is contagious, and I feel lucky to participate in a program that fuels it in abundance.