“And what, you ask, does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right.” -Ray Bradbury
SHARING THE GIFT
There are many stipulations one could attach to claiming the title of “writer.” Finishing a manuscript, perhaps. Getting published. Both important and exciting milestones. But I choose to believe that title belongs to anyone who sits down and writes. Regularly.
I actually do most of my story-creating while not sitting down. I’ve found I’m far more creative while in motion–running, walking, folding laundry, etc. But eventually, pen must meet paper. Or fingers meet keyboard, in my case. Then the magic happens.
While I absolutely love the process of telling stories, my passion lies in helping others tell theirs, in watching as they learn to love their process and find their voices. I’m an English teacher, so I get to do this literally every day. And each week, I get to do it even more when my intrepid band of student writers meets with me for writing club.
I have known some awesome experiences in my lifetime, but nothing compares with mentoring a room full of young people who are all eager to share their stories and own their authorship. Leading them is inspiring. It’s exciting. And it’s my favorite part of what I do. We write together.
So glad you could join me.
Kelli Fitzpatrick is an author, high school English teacher, and activist from the rural town of Beaverton, Michigan. Her short story “The Sunwalkers” was selected as a winner of the Star Trek Strange New Worlds 2016 writing contest and is published by Simon and Schuster. Her flash fiction appears in Flash Fiction Online and KYSO Flash, and she took fourth place in the 2016 international NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge. Kelli’s critical essays analyzing science fiction media have been published on the Women at Warp blog and in anthologies from ATB Publishing and Sequart. She founded and advises the Beaverton Student Authors Guild, an after school writing group for teens in her community, where she mentors young writers in various forms of written expression. She volunteers for local organizations, serving on the board of directors for the Beaverton Activity Center and the Saginaw Bay Writing Project. She is an avid promoter of public education, public libraries, gender equality and representation, and support for the arts in all their forms.
Above photo credits: The photo of the interesting shells, stones, and beach glass is one I took while exploring the shores of the Boston Harbor Islands. My portrait was taken in my classroom with my beloved books.