This post was written by Corrine Civil, mentee and Robin Marantz Henig, her mentor.
Each time I attend a workshop at Girls Write Now, I am greeted with a bagel and an amazing experience, like finding out I can write slam poetry or a memoir about pranks my uncle played on me in 2006. Being part of the program, I am a promoter of creative freedom, making art with just a pen and a prompt. My voice matters, and anyone else’s voice does, too.
I am a senior at The Young Women’s Leadership School of East Harlem, a great all-girls school that has put me on the path to college. I was raised in East Harlem, and have lived there all my life. However, I could never really find a place where people shared my interest in writing.
When I discovered Girls Write Now, I immediately knew joining would be my first proactive step in becoming a better writer. I applied to the program with barely any polished pieces of writing to show, and did not know what to expect. But I was accepted, and finally surrounded by others who understood my passion. Joining a writing community has taught me so much about my identity as a writer. Sharing my work with others was never really an easy task, but meeting with Robin for an hour to talk, write, edit, and breathe in the smell of coffee has made me become open with my writing. By giving me compliments and constructive criticism, she has helped me build confidence and appreciation for myself and others.
Like all the other GWN mentors, Robin is a professional writer with a lot of experience. She is a journalist who specializes in writing about science and medicine, and like me she is a little wary of writing fiction. She has also written nine books, the last one with her daughter, Samantha, who was a GWN mentor herself in 2011.
One highlight of the year has been the public readings that Girls Write Now sponsors every spring, so the mentees can read our work aloud. Performing my pieces twice on stage in front of strangers and family has fostered my ability to take risks. I may not be the next Toni Morrison, but I have grown so much since joining Girls Write Now, and I do not foresee an end to this growth as I move on to college – which I just found out will be at Columbia University, Class of 2019 with a full, four year QuestBridge Scholarship!
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