Power of the Pen

This will be posted later, but as I write this I am sitting in a Junior High School Cafeteria in Boardman, Ohio (a suburb of the infamous Youngstown, one-time stomping ground of renegade congressman and current jailbird James Traficant). I am here as taxi service for my daughter, who has two different school events in one day.

The event here is called Power of the Pen, a competition held for junior high aged students. Competitors are given a prompt (such as “A time of fear” or “propaganda”) and the students have a short time (30 or 40 minutes, I think) to write a short story based on it.

It’s an exciting thing to see all of these kids fired up about writing. I judged a PotP event a couple of years ago, and it’s amazing what they can come with given the limited time and their limited experience. If only we could keep that fearless imagination when we become adults. I suppose some of us do, and we become writers.

So I’m here in the cafeteria at a table that’s perfect height for the iBook, but the chair is a little on the small side. I’m rooting for my daughter, of course – my son has a couple of trophies from his PotP days, so I like to think the talent is inherited – but there’s not a lot I can do. They don’t have this set up as a spectator sport (shades of Monty Python’s sketch about a stadium full of people watching Thomas Hardy write a novel), and even when there’s a room of 10 or so sitting and writing to their prompt for that round, they are still alone. It’s the nature of the business.

So I’m going to sit and answer some e-mail and open up And/News. Maybe I can repeat the success of the last school event I was at, where I started Chapter Fourteen.

And barring that, I see that my daughter has left her CDR of The Sims in the CD drive.

(later)
Haven’t heard the results of anything my daughter was involved with yet, but here’s the results of my writing efforts today. Doesn’t look like much, but I also used the timer to answer some e-mail, weed through the pile of stickies on my desk, and consolidate hard drive files for a future writing project I’ll refer to as UFO Novel.

Today’s Scorecard
Chapter Fourteen
450 pages (+2)
99915 words (+500)

NP – iTSP (Phil Manzanera & 801, “Initial Speed”)

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