I remember taking a little over a month off towards the end of 2019 to visit (and revisit) parts of Asia and Oceania. Earlier that year, I’d decided I wanted to commit to writing as a profession, though I still wasn’t sure what that would look like in practice. In the interest of getting the most out of my travels and marrying the time away with my recent professional decision, I ran a quick Google search for “5 Books to Read Before Going to ________” for every country I intended to visit. I’d never been so proactive about seeking out literature as a form of inspiration.
The travels were nice. I took in sights old and new, made new friends and reconnected with old ones, and even managed to find inspiration for what ended up becoming an award-winning short story. But it was the reading I did prior to, during, and after the trip that was most impactful. For the first time in my life, I fell in love with powerful writing and, by proxy, the process of crafting it. I was 28.
The above is my roundabout way of saying that I can relate to the cynicism of a young student who, when faced with the prospect of a seemingly tedious class about writing, may not be so sanguine about its potential benefits. Even as a product of Montessori school education who was fortunate enough to have most of his writing activities be high-energy, hands-on exercises, I was still never much more than lukewarm about the whole thing. But that can change, and as someone who’s proof of that, my aim in collaborating with young writers–be they skeptical, as I once was, passionate, as I now am, or somewhere in between–is to find ways to foster the same level of enthusiasm that’s held me captive for the past few years.