There have been a number of great charity efforts of late from the writing community.
We've had Lost Children, Uncle Mildred, Off The Record, Brit Grit Too and the generous offer of a donation from Pablo D'Stair following his flash fiction competition. Many of them are donating to charities relating to young children.
Yesterday I was invited into a Primary 5 class to talk about my writing in the slot I usually spend with a small group on phonics games.
I got out a pile of magazines and books to show them and began at my own beginning, a childhood when reading and books didn’t make a lot of sense to me. It reminded me that my last teacher at primary school, Pop Woolly, had re-kindled in me a love of stories by using the BBC radio programmes and by reading great stories aloud to us using his rubber-band voice.
As far as I could, I related my experiences to their own school lives. I explained aspects of the writing and re-writing process, about submitting to magazines, cover design and about the new-fangled world of e-publishing (which will no-doubt have changed completely by the time they’re young adults). I could even point out that we'd made an e-book with the 6 year-old class about a year ago.
Right the way through, I tried to pass on my enthusiasm for the subject. Let them know how much it means to me. Showed them how little saplings from small acorns grow.
If you pop over to this link, you’ll see the responses of some of the children.
They asked great questions at the end, the kind of things that wouldn’t be out of place at a major literary festival. I also think they left with a bubbling energy about the subject that might well change their attitude to aspects of their schooling. It could be that I’m the Pop Woolly that some of them need. I certainly hope so.
The literacy support offered by the charities I mentioned earlier is invaluable. The building blocks of reading and writing can lead to the creation of fine structures, but can also empower people as they get by in the world.
I wonder what you have to offer. If you’re here, it’s likely you’ve a talent for something to do with writing. You may also have an amazing collection of something, be an avid knitter, a scientist in the day job, a plumber, nurse, builder, artist or fundraiser. Whatever you have, maybe you’ll consider popping over to one of your local schools and offering to give a little talk. If you’re enthusiastic and passionate, you can pass that on to the young people of your world and get them to see some of the opportunities that exist out there to which they might so far have been blinded.
I’m sure the schools would be happy to have you.
It was easy for me. All I had to do was to walk up the stairs and along the corridor. For whatever reasons, making such an offer yourselves might not be easy or comfortable.
I don’t post this to preach, I just want you to think about it. Go ahead, punk – make a difference.