Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Polyurethane and Writing

Polyurethane and writing? Is she sniffing something? Hah! No, I'm not one who thinks they need to get high to write, although in my younger days I was prone to romanticizing writers and their substance-induced haze of creativity. Ernest Hemingway, Dylan Thomas, Jack Kerouac, Dorothy Parker . . . it's more that I haven't been home or seen my family IN THREE DAYS because of polyurethane and the need to be in NYC for Writopia. (And couch surfing with friends Monday and Tuesday nights.) My own writing is simmering on the back burner.

The husband has had the kids, the animal and amphibians up at my mom's, because the floors of our new house were/are being laid down, stained and - you got it - polyurethaned.

I feel a bit as if I've been smelling the polyurethane anyway, being away from my family and waking up in different places. I feel dizzy, discombobulated, but so grateful to be focused on the art of creative writing, even though, or maybe especially because, it isn't my own writing.

I have a group of 11 and 12 year old kids in the mornings who are working in a variety of genres: realistic fiction, poetry, fantasy and a screenplay. All of their pieces are mapped out now - they know where they need to go and where they need to "beef up" (a phrase I use a lot!) so that they can have finished pieces on Friday.

In the afternoons I'm working with 15 year old teens, who are tapping away furiously on their laptops as I write this. They all took their "work" home with them, and are getting their pieces ready to workshop. A thriller, sci-fi/horror, humor, memoir, realistic fiction.

"Ten more minutes," I say. Nodding around the room, and then back to focus on their screens.

I get to go home today, and can't wait to wrap my arms around each of my three children and my husband. We all have never been apart for this long! As of today, the floors are safe to walk on, and I'm taking the 5:30 train from Grand Central Station.

These kids blow my mind and inspire me to write. I know that I will be able to make space for my own writing in my brain and my heart, as well as my house, because that is who I am. I am writer, hear me ROAR!


  1. I was worried about fumes when I read the title. Bet the floors look beautiful!

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