For the last two weeks I’ve been volunteering at 826NYC co-leading a Fictional Radio Narrative Workshop. 826 is an after-school drop-in tutoring center that also offers workshops & in-school volunteer services during the school year. There are seven 826 locations across the county. All the services are free to kids & schools. In the Twin Cities some creative & motivated people (& I) are working to start something similar. While they are steadfastly working on the finer details of becoming a non-profit, connecting with schools, & creating a volunteer community in the TC, one of my main goals in coming to NY was to do some volunteer work at 826—to see it from the inside. Unfortunately summers are a little slow over there, but I am very happy to have had a chance to co-lead this workshop & I am hoping to volunteer at their event, Revenge of the Book Eaters, hosted by Demetri Martin, with music by Feist, Grizzly Bear, & others.
A synopsis: 826 did this workshop last year with kids ages 12 -15. This year we tried it with a younger population—9 to 12-year-olds. The results were fantastic. Stories ranged from a ten-year-old street magician in St. Lucia to a ferret escaping captivity at the hands (claws) of a hawk to a ten-year-old member of the society of secret agents on mission in Antarctica. 826 aims to give one-on-one volunteer-to-student attention in their workshops & that’s what we had for this one. Each of the students recorded their short narratives & ended the final day (yesterday) by picking music to go under each narrative to set its tone (think This American Life). Also on our last day Joan, the Director of Education, offered to make a chapbook (pictured below) for the group. 826 publishes amazing works of youth writing done through their workshops—including a voluminous creation of nine novels by young writers—but can also whip up very professional-looking chapbooks on-site. This was a nice little surprise, I thought—an added bonus. Thanks Joan! Check online in weeks to come to listen to the stories. And a thanks to 826 for letting me partake*!
Look Mom, there's my name!
*I was hoping to blow the staff away & be hired on spot. Sadly, I’m not sure this little fantasy is going to become reality. Every time I send out a resume I feel like it is somewhat disjointed—writing, editing, teaching, leading workshops, research, et cetera. 826 seems the only place in the world where everything I list as my “experience” falls into place & makes sense together. Now I just need them to recognize that.
In other news: Big ups & a huge thank you to Jonas & Molly for the too kind words about the blog. I'll try to keep it interesting; you try to keep reading.
When You Get Bored Here, Go Here:
- David Luke Doody
- David Luke Doody is a freelance writer and editor. He is a founding editor of InDigest Magazine (www.indigestmag.com), an online literary magazine and the blog editor for Guernica Magazine (www.guernicamag.com). His writing and interviews have appeared in those magazines as well as in The Huffington Post, mnartists.org, The Minnesota Twins Yearbook, and Intentionally Urban Magazine, among others.
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