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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Girls Dream Out Loud

I love my grandparents’ magnolia tree and rose bushes and azalea shrubs. But, I never really examined, on a conscious level, what these creatures of nature look like. For example, how do their leaves differ from one another or how do their scents compare to one another. After being introduced ,by the most amazing teacher, Lillian Dunn, to the writing of Annie Dillard, my observation skills have improved. This is now reflected in my writing.

Some of my writing is more lyrical and magical because of my introduction to the writing of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. And my introduction to the writing of Anne Sexton made me appreciate how some writers are ahead of their time. (Thanks, Tamara Oakman.)

As you know, I participated in some amazing programs this summer. The one program that stretched me the most in terms of my writing, my appreciation of other writers and the literary scene of my region is Girls Dream Out Loud. Hosted at Bryn Mawr College, Girls Dream Out Loud is program that aims to empower girls through their participation in creative projects.

I was part of the Blue Tree group which is for girls in 7th to 12 grade. The way this program is designed is kind of like college in that you get to select a major and a minor focus for your studies. You get to choose from a variety of interesting topics. I chose Creative Writing as my major and From the Ground Up, which was a course to help you design a community service project, as my minor.

I did a variety of writing which included memoir, nature and poetry projects. My teacher, Lillian, who worked us hard, has no idea what seeds she has planted. I am more on fire about how to capture the world in words. Not only did students learn about other writers and how to use these writers as models, Lillian took us to all kinds of venues for us to read our work with other established writers. We went to college coffeehouses like Milk Boy and to the Central Library of Philadelphia. These experiences made me and the other girls feel like we were real writers, reading and performing with our peers.

Girls Dream Out Loud is a both a summer residential and day program which runs for two-weeks. It has a program for younger girls as well. I want to thank with all my heart Samantha Razook Murphy , the director of Girls Dream Out Loud, for allowing my dreams to grow. And of course, I am grateful for the incredible friends I made while participating in this program.

For more information about Girls Dream Out Loud, visit its website at

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