Monday, October 20, 2008

Support teen writers

Kris Reisz is doing something good with his writing talent. Here's how you can help:

Yesterday, I wrote about my friend Robert and the writing program he's developed for the adolescents at the hospital

The program has been such a success, Robert wants to try something similar out in the community. He's enlisted me and together, we've put together The 360 West Project.

Right now, the plan is a two-month course, meeting weekly, leading up to a reading where the students can invite their family. We want to focus less on getting published and achieving great literary success, and more on developing the students' own voices and getting them to see the world through fresh eyes. (Not that I could tell them anything about achieving great literary success if I wanted to.)

I've never taught anything before, so this is going to be an interesting experience. The class starts the 28th, which feels terrifyingly close.

Right now, we've got a great location at Robert's church (one of the advantages of working with a preacher) but we need a new printer and some other incidentals. Also, we want to bind our own books for the reading with all the students work in them.

To raise some money, Robert is selling copies of Stranded in Skin and Bones: A Memoir of Faith and Madness. Like I said in my last post, Robert's had a pretty interesting ride. Stranded weaves together his life and the lives of his patients at the psych hospital. I know quite a few of you have enjoyed my stories about working there, and I know you'd like this book too. Plus, each copy is very nicely hand-bound and autographed.

They cost $6 each, with all the money going to the Project. There's a short excerpt below. If you'd like a copy, email me at Other than that, just wish me luck come the 28th.

Stranded in Skin and Bones by Robert Stofel

I work as a psych tech, which means I get all of the dirty work. If the psych patients puke, I clean it up. If they wander into the wrong room, I retrieve them. I take them to the nameplate outside their door and say, “This is your room. See. This is your name.” I take them out to smoke. I show them the location of the lighter on the wall of the smoking porch. I demonstrate how to use it. No lighters allowed. They may burn the place down. I’m their guide through Lala Land. I’m their shepherd in fields of madness, even though I was once a lot like them—paranoid and eccentric.

Read more here

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