Saturday, my husband followed our GPS to a conference center bordering the inner city of St. Louis. The day was dull, cold and cloudless. Slight rain began to bubble on our windshield. My cell phone rang. “Hello,” I said. It was my “forecaster” son, calling to warn the rain was going to freeze. “Be careful,” he said.
Normally, I wouldn’t go out on a dreadful day like Saturday. I’d probably stay home where it was warm and dry. I’d sit in front of my worn keyboard and blue computer screen writing the hours away. Instead, I had the chance to be a guest of a company named,TGIM Digital Publishing. I was intrigued by their unique and special youth program entitled, “Writing For The Soul Workshop.™”
When it was time to start, warm welcomes were given, introductions were made, and people began to feel “at home” away from their own in that conference room. Children with fresh scrubbed faces and clean washed clothes sat ready to write stories their minds hadn’t imagined yet. Mothers and fathers, uncles and aunts, and grandmothers too, were there to make a difference in children’s lives.
A beautiful young girl sitting next to me touched my heart. Like everyone else in the room, she was asked to answer a simple question. “What were you most grateful for this past week?” She whispered her answer, “My mama.” Brushing her neat long braids behind her back, she wiped tears from corners of her dark brown eyes. Damp dark lashes fluttered, like butterflies. Choking up, she said, “My mama worked so hard to put these clothes on my back.”
This blossoming teen wore a neon pink shirt, patterned in twinkling black stars. They sparkled, like she did. This girl was so proud of her “mama,” and of the shirt she wore. Much older than her young age, she was already aware of the many gifts she’d been given in life due to her good mother. This beautiful girl’s voice cracked. She cried. She could no longer speak.
Later, in the back of the room when it was time for children to find their “inner voices,” to write stories on white sheets of paper with yellow #2 pencils, this same sweet girl was stumped. Too emotional, perhaps, to reach far into that special place called imagination. I kneeled down to remind her of the love she shared with her mama. “You know you’re a star because of her,” I said pointing to her dancing shirt. She smiled slightly then, tapping the tip of her pencil across the Formica table.
Before I left, she had written nearly a full page. At the very top was her title…………”The Star.” Reading it grabbed my soul. Is that why TGIM named their program, “Writing For The Soul Workshop™?” –Kim Gosselin