Every summer in my small city, the streets of downtown are overrun by flocks of elementary school kids wielding notebooks and pencils. They wear neon yellow backpacks with “Summer Writing Camp” emblazoned on the front. The flocks, generally corralled by a teacher and TA, hole-up in coffee shops, museums, and public parks, dispersing amongst the patrons with eager observational stealth. They listen in on strangers’ conversations, taking notes on people’s speaking patterns, storytelling rhythms, and mannerisms. They eavesdrop, in other words.
All the kids in these flocks are aspiring writers. Somewhere along the line they fell in love with stories. Some will tell you it’s because they love to read, others because they love to imagine, others because they simply nerd out over the art of stringing words together. Twenty years ago, I was one of those kids; squarely in the reading camp.
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