By TIM CLEVELAND
On April 17, Boardman library hosted an hour-long creative writing workshop taught by children’s librarian Allie Graf as a preview to a bigger workshop that will take place in a couple months.
“It’s kind of a teaser to get kids interested in creative writing,” she said. “We have a week-long summer camp coming up at the Boardman library from June 23 until June 27. If they like what we do today I think they’ll love the summer camp that we have.”
Graf was well-prepared to teach the class due to her educational background.
“I have a Masters of Fine Arts from the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts Consortium through YSU in creative writing, so it’s kind of my background,” she said. “I just look through books to get some idea from what other people have done and we’ll see what comes out on paper today.
“This is my way to kind of spread what I know a little bit through helping kids learn how to write.”
Some of the exercises Graf taught to help the creative process were having the attendees write down what came into their mind to answer topics such as an animal, a machine, something that tastes good and something that’s painful. They then listened as Graf read a surrealist poem and they discussed particular parts of the poem that they liked.
The students then spent 10 minutes doing a free writing exercise in which they wrote anything that came to mind. Finally, they dropped food coloring onto pieces of paper, folded the paper in half and discussed what things they saw in the shapes.
Gianna Arquilla, a sixth-grader at Boardman Middle School, said she wanted to attend the class because she likes to write.
“I like writing,” she said. “It’ll give me better ideas.”
Graf was asked what was the best advice she had for anyone interested in creative writing.
“Write, write, write,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if the grammar’s correct or the spelling or punctuation. It’s all about just putting the pencil to paper and writing.
“Hopefully [the class will give them] more interest in creating writing. Maybe they would be interested in pursuing a degree or writing stories or trying to get published.”