About the zine
In times of crisis, we find ourselves turning to art and writing to help make sense of the world around us—to remind us that there is always hope, that words help bridge the gaps of isolation, and that we are never alone. Over the past few weeks, our community has come together in astounding ways to support each other, celebrate the work we have created, and imagine the world we want to embrace when we venture back outside. As a community, we felt inspired to chronicle this strange and uncertain time through what we do best: writing.
But writing isn’t all our community does; in our weekly Mentee & Mentor community chats, we learned about all the baking, crafting, meditating, Netflix-binging, and more that the Girls Write Now community is up to. So we decided to create this zine as a place to chronicle all the work we’re doing during this time— writing and beyond.
When I first began working with Girls Write Now, it was the summer of 2017 and a time that seems much simpler now, in retrospect. Our mentees are as passionate about writing now as they were then, but the rest of the world feels as though it is ever-shifting. As I look towards the end of my time with Girls Write Now, it is a very different world than it was three years ago. But it is also a world that holds love and hope, inspiration and promise; it is a world where we are coming together in joy and solidarity and using our voices to call for necessary change. It is a beautiful world, even when it is full of pain, its edges sharp. It is still standing, and so are we.
The voices in these pages—and in the Girls Write Now print and multimedia anthologies—are what make it a beautiful world. They are curious and willful, passionate and reflective. Many of our mentees have missed out on prom, graduation, summer rituals, and many more of the experiences that define a young person’s life. Like them, my own coming of age has been marked by the the events of the past four years, and especially of the past few months; I was 18 when I moved to New York City in the fall of 2016, just before the presidential election, and I graduated from college this past spring, over Zoom, at the kitchen table in my teenage home. In my time with Girls Write Now—first as an intern and later as staff—I’ve grown up alongside our mentees, and many of my own experiences have mirrored theirs. It is true, as many of our mentors say, that one learns from the mentees as much as the opposite, and I certainly have learned immensely from the voices here. As I look towards my postgrad future—where I will be serving as a Creative Writing Fellow with Artist Year as part of their inaugural North Carolina cohort—I know I will take the lessons and wisdom that I have learned from our mentees, mentors, honorees, staff and entire Girls Write Now community with me, both now and for the rest of my life. Over the past few weeks, our mentees, mentors, and staff have contributed these lessons (and more!) to this zine, and we hope it will serve as a jumping off point for you to reflect on this time.
—Spencer George, Girls Write Now Special Initiatives Assistant & Barnard College Class of 2020