Support an Influential Creative Writing High School Program

An influential high school creative writing program is in jeopardy.

Remember when I reminisced about the great writing program I was a part of in high school?

Let me break it down here.

The high school I went to in northern Virginia hosted a program called the Center for Fine and Performing Arts (CFPA). There were different concentrations students would apply to be in to pursue intensive studies in: theatre, visual arts, dance, music technology (in my day it was TV productions), instrumental music, vocal music, and creative writing.

I was a part of the creative writing program. That meant that for all four years of high school, all of my available electives went to creative writing classes, focusing on the basics, to publication, to short stories, scripts, poetry, and nonfiction.

This program was instrumental in developing who I am as a person and the things I have done since then. I have always loved to read, but it was that program that I learned the love to write. It was because of that program that I maintained a GPA sufficient to get into college, led to a great job during my college years, which arguably has led to the jobs I’ve had post-grad.

I was not the only person to have reaped such great benefits from this program. The list is too long to get into, but each of us that were in that program was moved to different heights. For some it was the very thing that kept them in school, for others it illuminated different career paths.

Specifically, with creative writing, there is such a wide application of this art form. We learned how to read and write critically, to express ourselves both succinctly (though I know I fail at that sometimes) and intelligently.

I write about this today because this program is in jeopardy. The CFPA is moving to a new high school (which I’m indifferent about it, as long as it exists somewhere in the county and is open to kids across the county). The issue here is the discontinuation of the creative writing concentration. The school board has decided that creative writing is either not a sufficient art form to maintain its place in the program, or perhaps it boils down to root cause of mostly everything: $$$

One of my old classmates has started a very successful petition that has garnered support from authors Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, and Jacqueline Carey. If you feel that creative writing should remain part of this program in its intensive form, please consider signing this petition. The petition will be presented to the school board on October 17th.

To read even more about the importance of this program, here’s a great post from one of my former teachers.

Thanks for your support of the arts!

Book News: CNN’s Book Fall Preview

I may or may not have admitted to this in a past post, but I’m a bit of a news junkie. I may not always agree with how the news is saying things, but I there is a fairly large part of my day where I catch up on events and articles of the day. I’d like to think that doing so makes me a little bit more informed than some, but really, it’s like trying to read all the books in the world. I don’t think I’ll ever feel confident that I truly understand any one topic in being reported or going on in the world.

17262203Anyways, this week, CNN had a nice little article about the books they feel are worth checking out this autumn. (Here’s the point when cynics will say that it’s not really what the creator of the article thought was noteworthy, but which books the press releases made it easy to spotlight.) I have to be honest, I had maybe heard of only two or three of these books before this article. I won’t repeat the article, but I will say that the one book they list that I am now on the lookout for is Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam. It sounds fascinating, though I will probably want to read the other two books in the series before getting to this one.

Had you heard of any of these books before? What other books are ones to look out for this autumn?