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Teen writers form new club at LO library

Kids can share, grow and develop talents in group


In high school, writing is a subject that usually involves sweating and gnashing of teeth because it is mostly about doing the dreaded essay on a test.

Still, there are some high school kids who actually like to write, and that is why the Teen Writing Group has been formed at the Lake Oswego Public Library.

It started one day at Lake Oswego High School when Natalie Skowlund walked up to Lacey Doby and asked, “Do you still like to write?”

Yep, she still did, and now the two 16-year-old juniors can network with other young people who also love writing. The club attracted 12 teens to just its second meeting, and the girls are confident the Teen Writing Group will be a success.

“As part of the Teen Advisory Board at the library I thought having a writing group was a good idea, “ Skowlund said. “I know a lot of teens like to write.”

“We want kids to keep using their brains this summer,” Doby said. “It’s also fun when you get a lot of writers together. I often hear ‘I hate writing!’ It will be nice to get the kids who like writing together.”

The Teen Writing Group will be sort of the Lake Oswego teen version of the famous Algonquin Round Table. It is already well on its way to laying a foundation of fun. The second meeting featured playing with words, silly plot lines, poetry and creating stories based on the same funny adjectives.

These high school kids of letters will also benefit from having a leader who is already much experienced, and very enthusiastic, with helping teenagers learn how to write.

“I believe in the importance of connecting with young writers,” said Dave Jarecki, a professional writer who lives in Portland. “I’m always interested when the opportunity comes to work with young writers.”

Jarecki has been coaching young writers since 2006, helping a variety of kids — even kids who have been in and out of the prison system. He already has a game plan for the Lake Oswego youth.

“I plan to get the people writing poetry,” Jarecki said. “I want to shake the foundations of what they’ve been taught about poetry, regarding the way it’s taught in school.”

Doby and Skowlund have nothing against school, but the club will help them spread their wings as writers.

“As a younger kid I did a lot of fiction,” Skowlund said. “Now I do a lot more poetry and really short stuff because I don’t have much time.”

“I started seriously writing in the fifth grade,” Doby said. “I wrote a bunch of stories and sent them back and forth to my friends to look at. I like writing sci-fi stuff and crazy stories. I like stuff that entertains me. It’s not very impressive, but I find it entertaining.”

The new writing club has had only two meetings so far, but the two girls have already experienced some nice surprises.

“The shyer kids are leading the group, which is great,” Doby said. “Me, I’m always saying stuff at school. But I’ve been pretty quiet in this group.”

The Teen Writing Group has been made possible by the Friends of the Lake Oswego Library.

“It’s a wonderful idea,” said Children’s Librarian Judy Dunlap. “I’m delighted this club has come together. It will be a safe place to share and grow.”

Jarecki knows from firsthand experience how such a club can really benefit a young writer.

“Growing up, I had no creative avenues except for baseball,” he said. “I did my writing in isolation, and I really didn’t cultivate it until I went to college. It isn’t my goal to turn these kids into writers, but I want to give them the space to explore what’s outside of school — especially language. There is so much they can find in writing.”




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  • 22 Dec 2014

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