I spent a good part of yesterday as a judge for Power of the Pen, a scholastic writing competition for middle school kids, which was an honor and an absolute blast. (The blizzard threw off the originally scheduled judges, so Dawn, who has been a judge before, helped put out a clarion call to other writers and I jumped.)
I’m so glad I got to do it. These kids are on creative writing teams, replete with t-shirts that they festoon with their own slogans. They screamed and stomped their feet with every award (there were a bunch of others that we weren’t a part of).
Along with another local writer, I read about 70 stories by eighth graders that had all been written that morning in short sessions, many of which explored difficult subjects in astonishingly well-drawn, clever and lovely ways. We picked three winners and three honorable mentions. What an honor to get an afternoon’s gate pass into the thoughts of such young, brave and eloquent people.
One of the pieces that we awarded actually made me cry. It made me remember the special tenderness of a ‘tween girl’s heart.