quaranTEEN voices Writing Prompt: ‘Release’


June 1, 2020


Special guest author Claudia Rankine joins us for this week’s quaranTEEN voices! A poet, essayist, and playwright, Claudia has won a number of awards for her groundbreaking art. She uses a variety of mediums like language, photographs, and video in her work. Her 2014 book of poetry Citizen explores racial aggressions in everyday encounters and in the media. We’re thrilled for her to join us to talk about her journey as a writer and how writing can effect change.

To join us this Friday and hear from Claudia (and share your own work if you’d like), sign up HERE!


 
Prompt:
Reading the news and seeing what’s going on in our country can be pretty overwhelming right now. This week we have a different kind of prompt to help us process how we feel. Our guest author, Claudia Rankine, writes: “Words work as release.” Let’s practice releasing our thoughts and emotions through words.

Set a timer for 15 minutes. Spend that time writing about what you’re thinking and feeling at this moment. It could be about what you’ve been doing these last few weeks, what you think about as you spend time with your family or by yourself, how you feel as you see people marching in the streets.

The catch? Write about yourself in the second person. Instead of using the word “I” use “you,” as though you are talking to yourself as a character. For example, “You have been inside for over two months.”

Try not to pick up your pen or pencil. Just keep writing as things come to you. There are no right answers.

 
Advice From Claudia:
This is how you talk or write about difficult things: you do it assuming that you don’t know. Over and over you hear that you have to write about what you know. The way to approach difficult things is to approach them as difficult things. You approach them with questions rather than positions. The making of art is not about showing how smart you are or proving anything, but really just exploring the subject so you can understand it better.
 


Be sure to sign up for our newsletter HERE to receive weekly prompts and other virtual youth writing opportunities right to your inbox! On Thursday we’ll send out a few ideas to help you revise your pieces. Sign up to talk to Claudia Rankine and share your writing with other quaranTEENs on Friday HERE!