Artist Spotlight: Diego Torres-Carrión

Artist Spotlight with Diego Torres-Carrión

An interview series designed to highlight the creativity, drive, and skill of the amazing students at Denver Writes, “Artist Spotlight” poses questions about writing and the writing life to authors age 8-15 and includes an excerpt from the author’s poem, story, play, comic, or essay—created in our studio at Back Space.

 

Diego Torres-Carrión

Diego_Torres-Carrion 

Diego is an nine-year-old writer who attended the August 2014 Summer Camp, “Adventure Tales and Survival Stories.”During the weeklong camp, he authored the short story “Hunt of the Monsters.” Check out his interview and read his story here!

Artist Spotlight: Julian Tittmann

Artist Spotlight with Julian Tittmann

An interview series designed to highlight the creativity, drive, and skill of the amazing students at Denver Writes, “Artist Spotlight” poses questions about writing and the writing life to authors age 8-15 and includes an excerpt from the author’s poem, story, play, comic, or essay—created in our studio at Back Space.

 

Julian Tittmann

Julian_Tittmann 

Julian is an eight-year-old writer who attended the June 2014 Summer Camp, “Adventure Tales and Survival Stories.”During the weeklong camp, he authored the short story “COMPUTERIZED.” Check out his interview and read an excerpt from his story here!

 

 

Artist Spotlight: Molly Blevins

Artist Spotlight with Molly Blevins

An interview series designed to highlight the creativity, drive, and skill of the amazing students at Denver Writes, “Artist Spotlight” poses questions about writing and the writing life to authors age 8-15 and includes an excerpt from the author’s poem, story, play, comic, or essay—created in our studio at Back Space.

Molly Blevins

 Molly_Blevins

Molly is a 10-year-old writer who attended the June 2014 Summer Camp, “Adventure Tales and Survival Stories.”During the weeklong camp, she authored the short story “CAKE.” Read an excerpt from her story here, as well as her interview! 

 

 

Writing Workshop: Six-Word Stories (7/12/14)

6-word-stories

We got together to write about true stories–but we could only use SIX words to do it.

To warm up, we read examples of six-word stories from Not Quite What I Was Planning, Revised and Expanded Deluxe Edition: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure by Larry Smith (2008) and were surprised that an entire story could be told with just six words. Two of our favorites:

Perpetual work in progress. Need editor. (Sherry Fuqua-Gilson)

Watching quietly from every door frame. (Nicole Resseguie)

We talked about how we felt like we knew the people who wrote them–we understood exactly what they meant. With only six words, we were able to conjure up an image of each writer, and we were inspired to write our own. Here they are. As one volunteer says, “These are incredible. They’re so touching and poignant and poetic and wow.” We hope you enjoy them!

Julia T., age 10:

The things people do not think.

Watching for clues, clues of murder.

Life, death, war, peace, magic, ME!

Best friends through life and death.

Watching, waiting, observing. Stealing a cookie.

Sneaking into sister’s room. Oops, caught!

A blank page, why give in?

Pencil of gold, paper of dreams.

Mom! You know your ring? Well…

Jab, poke, lunge, the final point.

Chocolate? Veggies? What madman made this?

Flashing silver, fading footsteps, a scream.

Who needs instructions? A chainsaw apparently.

Dark crimson dripping, a knife clattering.

Silence, the holocaust is finally over.

Safe, my guard dropped, arrow flying.

Cup of life, blood of immortals.

Solid things fade, memories are forever.

New friends, new ideas, all fun!

 

Ella B., age 11

I fell. I forgot to cry.

A flaw in my flawless plan.

Cobblestone streets, far away from home.

Out of my shell. Nothing changed.

Your appearance becomes others’ thoughts.

Doors to open, more to close.

Spinning freely, no rules be told.

Funky, spunky, forever we will write.

Pencils and paper, ideas spark imagination.

 

Ellen R., age 10

Follow sensible rules. Break unreasonable ones.

Brother’s room. Steal underwear. Soak. Freeze.

Love. Betrayal. Bloody stumps. Broken heart.

 

Liv H., age 10

Mom! Mom! Liv ate my chocolate!

What? It was just sitting there.

Foil knife vs. pickle = sister-love.

Books, chair, alone, quiet. Ah, paradise.

Not bad, good. Not normal, weird.

Bad poem, odd decision, really Apollo?

 

Jonas S., age 7

I don’t like pears, everyone does!

I went camping in the mountains.

 

Rowan H., age 9

Regret is guilt, but good cookie.

Chocolate shake good, veggies a no-no.

Coffee shop above, imagination down below.

Boys are awesome, girls are better.

Expressing feelings in words, Denver Writes.

 

Ellie S., age 11

I’m here, can you see me?

But dad! I didn’t do anything, ugh.

Too many holes to poke through.

 

Lilia S., age 11

Out of laughter comes deep memory.

Pencil poised, paper there, ideas not.

Clown’s balloon against sky’s blue backdrop.

 

Kat E., age 13

boy lied. girl cried. love died.

sacrifice to make, heart to break.

breath of life, death by knife.

loved her, but he left her.

as skies turn gray, happiness fades.

big city full of little expectations.

it’s all fun and games until…

pen and paper, become the dream-maker.

 

Phoenix M., age 10

The pen breaks, black ink everywhere.

Laughing, playing, bouncing, until I fall.

Big eyes, nose twitching, running away.

I run, I trip, I scream.

 

Kevin Peterson (volunteer)

Nothing said to nobody in particular.

In constant need of creative validation.

Don’t overthink it, just write it.

Six words can say so much.

I asked. My cat said nothing.

I said: ‘I think that’s right.’ Or ‘I think that’s right,’ I said.

Cold rain falls on midnight roads.

Icy rain falling over dusk roads.

Fluffy snow settles on quiet roads.

 

 

Summer Writing Camp — August!

Seven students, one lead instructor, and many volunteers braved the heat this August to explore Denver with an eye for storytelling.

On the first day, we read “The Blue Jar” by Isak Dinesen and brainstormed ideas for the heroes and heroines of our stories. We completed a scavenger hunt around Baker and learned how to give our characters backstory.

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This photo was taken by a blogger, Linnea Bullion, whom we met at Sweet Action. We love it and we think it captures the kids perfectly! You can check out more of her stuff on her website or on her tumblr site.

On day two, we listened to “The Distance of the Moon” by Italo Calvino, discussed the importance of setting, and visited the Botanic Gardens to find details for maps of our own imagined worlds.

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The third day, we read “Baba Iaga” by Joy Williams and visited the Museum of Nature & Science to gain inspiration for our story’s villains and monsters—we also created our own survival guides.

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On Thursday, we watched Jim Henson’s The Labyrinth—a favorite among the students—and learned to map out plots using the Fichtean Curve. Finally, on the last day, we talked about the revision process, made our own book covers, and students read their stories aloud to a captive audience.

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The adventure tales and survival stories born from this camp feature everything from space ships and time travel to magical powers and talking palm trees. The next bestseller is here, among these pages! (COMING SOON: Read them here!)

 

Keep your ear to the ground for information about next year’s summer writing camps with Denver Writes. And in the meantime, check out our monthly workshops and afterschool tutoring. We can’t wait until next summer!

 

~Laura Miller (Lead Instructor)

 

Published: Our Anthology from June Summer Camp (2014)

Adventure Tales & Survival Stories :: Summer Writing Camp :: June 14 – 18, 2014

Thirteen kids, one student intern, one lead instructor, and many volunteers trekked through Denver looking for inspiration for our adventure tales and survival stories. Laura Miller, our lead instructor, designed this cover for our anthology. Isn’t it cool? The images come from the villains and elements found in our stories, and were created by us kids. Check out our stories here!*

June Summer Camp COVER FINAL (1)

*Please note: You can print this in booklet format if you’d like — just save it as a pdf and choose the “Booklet” setting in Adobe Reader when you go to print. Having a duplex printer is necessary, but if you don’t, Office Max does! There are a lot of pages, and Denver Writes is working on printing these out and binding them in an interesting way so we can send a copy to each summer camper. Stay tuned June Summer Campers!

In the meantime, enjoy this online copy.

Summer Writing Camp — July!

Oh my goodness did this week fly by! 11 writers (all girls) joined us in a week filled with LOTS of writing, MANY adventures, and TONS of great conversations! We built a lovely little writing community, and we trekked all over Denver to get inspired for our adventure stories.

We visited the Maps and Atlases room at the Denver Public Library and sat at the Legacy Table (photo below). Hannah, our resource librarian, took extra good care of us, and went above and beyond to answer a question one of our campers had about paper towns in Colorado (what a great question, Melina!) Hannah even wrote about it, and you can check it out here. Thanks, Hannah! We can’t wait to visit the library again soon! And if you haven’t read Paper Towns by John Green, we highly recommend you do.

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We went to the Colorado History Center and learned more about the Dust Bowl. Before we went, Sarah, our lead instructor, read excerpts from Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse and we talked about the words Hesse chose to describe the Dust Bowl. We thought about interesting and effective ways we could use words in our own stories to reflect setting and character. The History museum was so much fun and we loved exploring the Denver A to Z exhibit:

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Everyday we spent time writing, sharing, and providing constructive feedback for one another. We created our own prompts, including, “Would you rather ____ or _____?” and sometimes the writing from these prompts ended up in our adventure stories. Check back soon for our online anthology!

On Thursday, we went to the Botanic Gardens to see the Chihuly exhibit and oh my goodness wow! We talked about setting a lot this day, and were inspired by his amazing glass sculptures throughout the gardens.

1407SWCgardens

 

Do you notice that we’re all wearing the same shirt? Annie and her mom, Sarah, made these for us! On the front they say “MDPL” and have a typewriter below, and on the back, they chose individual fonts for us, which, oddly enough, perfectly match our unique personalities. Thank you both for the shirts! They will be treasured for a long time!

On Friday, we chose our favorite excerpt, or excerpts, to read to our family and friends at our Publishing Party that evening. Then, we created books with an excerpt from everyone, plus photos from the week. These book binders will be loved for a very long time, we think. And, we’ll miss each other. It was just too much fun!

We could not have done so much this week without the help of our incredible volunteers. Matt Costa, thank you for being our “go-to” for EVERYTHING! Binding books, picking up tape, taking out the recycling, helping us with our writing, navigating the RTD — THANK YOU! Jeannette Barrow, thank you for joining us on Tuesday and for sharing your love of writing with us! Please come back again soon! Alyssa Duomo, thank you for figuring out an easy way to bind our journals — seriously, that was SO helpful! And thank you for spending the day at the Botanic Gardens with us, too.

Of course, Sarah Anema, our lead instructor, was fabulous! She kept us on track, inspired and challenged us, and made this week one to be remembered. She was funny and fun and gave us more writing time whenever we asked for it. Sarah, THANK YOU! We love you, and so does Denver Writes!

Does this sound like fun? Guess what? There’s one more camp in August! Ages 8-15 (we’ll figure out how to break into smaller, age specific groups) August 11th – 15th. We need 10 people to sign up to have the camp, so if you’re interested, fill out the application (here) and send it or email it by AUGUST 1st!

 

Summer Writing Camp — June!

DWBlogNameChange

We just finished up our June Summer Writing Camp — Adventure Tales and Survival Stories! 13 kids from Denver (who all love to write!), 1 fantastic lead instructor, and 4 happy volunteers trekked all over Denver looking for inspiration for our stories, and we can’t wait to show them to you!

We went to the incredible Maps and Atlases room at the Central branch of the Denver Public Library — seriously, have you seen it? If not, call the library and go visit it asap. It’s amazing. We got to see the oldest known maps of Denver, which were fascinating. Many students used the maps as inspiration for the setting in their own stories.

Maps&Atlases

We got to visit the History Colorado Center and experience a simulated Dust Bowl storm. Students thought about what it would be like to survive in a scary situation — what would they need? How would they stay safe? What scary situation/villain/conflict would happen in their story? We also got to make our own rope and practice our ski jumps — some of us did better than others (on the ski jump). We didn’t want to leave, but we had to so we wouldn’t miss our bus. It’s so much fun taking a group of kids to a museum and having to force them to leave because they really want to stay!

Here’s Clary and Phoenix practicing their rope-making skills:

COHistoryCenter

We also visited (and had a blast at) the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys. On Friday, Adam visited us and taught us how to make our books, and students created their own covers. Our anthology from camp will be published on our website soon, so please check back!

And now, we gear up for our July camp for kids ages 12-15 (July 14-18). We can’t wait! If you’re interested in attending this camp, please contact us and we’ll send you the application.

Here’s to reading, writing, and finding your creative space!

New Name, New Site!

Hello Friends, Family & Volunteers of Metro Denver Promotion of Letters!

If you are reading this blog, you must’ve noticed our big news, but we wanted to explain it a little more clearly to you.

We’ve changed our name!

Metro Denver Promotion of Letters is now Denver Writes. After many months of planning and working, we’re ready to launch Denver Writes into the world. We will never forget our roots, so you’ll still our MDPL logos around our spaces and pages, but all of our programming will live under the name Denver Writes.

Our mission is to provide kids in the Denver area with a creative outlet through writing, and Denver Writes embodies exactly what we do and how we do it. Our new name is short and sweet, and we hope that all of you—volunteers, participants and parents alike—will love it as much as we do.

All of our programming will stay the same (or, rather, continue to get better and better!) and nothing in our space will change except our logos and name. We still believe that serving the community and being an accessible outlet for creativity is incredibly important, and we will continue to work to make this happen.

If you have any questions, concerns or comments about our name change, please e-mail us or leave us a comment.

We hope to hear from you soon!

Kait McNamee, Chair of the Board