This blog post was written by Girls Write Now mentee Gia Deeton. The workshop was on January 28, 2017.
At Girls Write Now, the craft speakers don’t stand on a stage above everyone else — they communicate with us. When I heard that Tavi Gevinson, founder and editor of Rookie Magazine, was going to visit Girls Write Now and speak to us, I gasped — and fell back in my white fold-up chair. I’m an avid online reader of Rookie, but I never had a Rookie Yearbook, which compiles photography, art, and writing by teen girls from the magazine every year. My mentor, Lindsay Zoladz, who interviewed Tavi over the phone a couple years ago, generously gave me her 2013 Rookie Yearbook a few weeks before the workshop. It was a work of art, and I tried my best not to crease any pages when I read it cover-to-cover.
The morning of Tavi’s workshop, I slid the 2013 Rookie Yearbook into my backpack hoping that she would take the time to sign it. I came home from the workshop gaining more than just a signature. Tavi came in to speak about her writing career. The word “career” made her crack up, bringing her down from the pedestal that I’m guilty of putting celebrities on. She’s a girl who wants to make the world a better place, just like all of us in the audience. She encouraged us to be weird, to be unafraid of creativity, and to write for ourselves before writing for other people. One of Tavi’s quotes was so valuable I had to write it down: “Writing is a way of saying ‘I exist’ and I want that for everyone in this room.” It wasn’t an hour of listening to someone talk about herself. It was a conversation, even after the Q&A was over. Tavi took pictures with us, signed my Rookie Yearbook, and answered personal questions from an entire line of teenage girls, all because she really cared.