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Showing posts from August, 2009


I teach at a writing camp for middle school students in the summer. Boys. Girls. Black. White. City. Outskirts. Comfortable. Underserved. All enamored with the sparks of magic between their pens and lined paper.

For the past three summers, Samantha has been one of the half dozen perennial students in the class. My first year, Sam’s name was one that I never forgot. Partly, because I’ve always thought boys’ names on girls was super cool. Mostly, though, it was her satirical humor and irrepressible spunk. Small enough to fold herself in two within the slim perimeter of table edge and plastic chairs, the small knots of her knees would peek above the table to balance her composition notebook. Above those pages, her brown hair dipped into a voluminous bob just above her ears and her large, dark eyes.

Sam was excited to share the industry happening inside her head, always asking questions to carve permissions for some outlying idea. She talked fast too, her S’s leaking through the …