At first, he was busy fixing mocha drinks for everyone and chattering about everything. He wasn’t sure he wanted to stay for the after school writing group at Inside/Out Youth Services.
Then he sat down and played a writing game with the group a few times. His first contributions were goofy, a little off topic, and intended to get a laugh. Then he worked to make his additions really connect with the stories we were creating out of random characters, scenes, and props. Not so many edgy jokes.
Finally we settled into writing poems using the fill-in-the-blank templates Poetry Heals carries around in binders. These templates help writers look at their feelings. He picked ‘Relationships,’ and added,”But I don’t write anymore.”
So I chimed in, “I’ll scribe for you. Take a look at the whole poem and see where you want to go with it.” A few seconds passed.
He snatched up a pen, “I’ve got it, now.”
And for ten minutes, the room was quiet as four writers and two Poetry Heals mentors wrote.
“I’m stuck on this one,” he nudged me to look at an empty blank in a line.
“Ok, what happens if we change ‘parent’ to ‘friend’, does that help?”
“Got it.” and then two minutes later, “I’M DONE! I want to read first.”
As the other writers wrapped up their work, he fiddled with a word or two. But he was almost bouncing out of the chair before he smiled and proudly read his new poem. We clapped, snapped our fingers, and did jazz hands. He beamed.
As others read, he listened hard. He smiled and clapped for them.
“This is actually fun! Can I have a few more of the fill-in-the-blanks? These are really good to work on…..stuff. I think I’ll go back to writing. I wrote before my break up, I wrote for her. But I haven’t since then. Thanks.”
He processed some of his life’s troubles and is willing to do it again. At Poetry Heals, we call that a big win.