Why Write Young?
The American greats began young. F. Scott Fitzgerald was first published at the age of 13, Emily Dickinson’s best works were composed in her teens, John Steinbeck declared himself a writer at 14, and Sylvia Plath, who began journaling at 11, was published nationally by the time she reached adulthood. As Picasso wittily said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is trying to remain an artist once he grows up.” As a lover of all things poetic, it is too often that I have seen the youthful brilliance of a writer squandered away in exchange for flawless grammar or ‘correct’ syntax. I am one of too few young adults who chooses not to shy from poetry, or heavily-encoded metaphorical language because the both were over-standardized, then picked apart piece by piece with a letter-grade at the finish-line.
So how can I spread the word that poetry isn’t scary, and that what Sylvia Plath had to say was important and beautiful? I can write to all of you, simply about writing. For today’s busy-person prompt, here’s a link to ten, ten-minute, at-home exercises you can try with friends, or with your own young writers to practice the type of open expression that led the American greats to be, well, great.
And if you have young ones at home, send them to come and write with us at TT Patton this summer for one of our week-long creative writing camps and let us help foster their growth as authors, screenplay writers, or short story composers.
Until next time,