Monday, April 13, 2009

YAWP! Read All About It!

I walked into Grub Street early last Saturday in preparation for March’s YAWP. I filled out my little form, sat in a chair, and waited for the people to come in as usual, but usual wasn’t in the cards. Last month was what may have been the largest YAWP ever, and I’d be lying if I said that isn’t incredibly exciting.

Most of these new people must have taken the poetry or screenwriting workshop because fiction seemed no larger than usual. We all took our seats in the room and went around the circle, introducing ourselves, before getting down to business. Becky, the first teacher, gave us our prompt. “Write a situation in which one character slowly reveals information to another” and we were off. Thirty minutes later, those of us who wished were able to share their pieces, and the first part of the fiction class came to a close. And as it just so happens we began to talk revision.

For us, revision was an ugly topic, it seemed like the entire room had their own opinion of it which ended with “I really don’t do it that much” and this workshop dealt with it well, editing a small piece is much easier than a larger one. After we’d been at it for a little while, the metaphorical lunch bell metaphorically rang and we took the opportunity to stretch our legs and eat.

The poetry and screenwriting class had, I gathered from other students, been up to similar activities. Following the introductions, they were handed a packet of writing examples and, drawing from one in particular, started working on a piece. After 15 minutes they would share and continue in the same manner until lunch.

Lunch was, as lunch always is, a great time. If you don’t enjoy spending time with fantastically creative and intelligent people, then perhaps YAWP is not for you. Lunch is also short, but we didn’t mind, more writing was to come.

Returning to the fiction class, we had a new teacher, Nadine replacing Becky, and as is often the case she had us read the first bit of a book. After passing the book around, we drew from it, writing about a character that pretended to be something they were not. However, no sooner had we begun sharing the poetry class began to file in for the open mic, and the last chapter of YAWP began.

But now, with all of us sitting in a room, it began. One by one we walked up to the podium, introduced ourselves, and read. We heard tales of immortality, of Jewish grandmothers who change their name and move westward, of a birthday mistake and a loveably insane husband, and of everything else you can imagine. This open mic had a special attribute, as well; it was the first one I can remember that had to be cut short, because more people had read than we had time for. Now that it’s happened, however, I hope as much as possible that it continues.

-Michael McGurk
Grub Street's official YAWP Reporter

The Young Adult Writing Program (YAWP) meets one Saturday a month for writing workshops, food, and fun. For more information visit

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