We sit in a circle in a classroom that overlooks trees and homemade play structures with boulders and sand. I greet each child with a handshake, introduction, and a tour of our digs for the week ahead. Some parents mill about unsure of when to leave. Others are through the door after a quick wave or hug. The children take to one another immediately. They smile, look through their goody bags, and answer my silly questions about pets and potential siblings.
For the last few weeks prior, I met with the other lead youth instructor (a screenwriter) and an intern from Naropa University (a poet) to develop curriculum for the creative writing summer camps. We are hosting the summer programs at an independent school in Boulder that is filled with children’s artwork and signs touting the benefits of mindfulness.
And as I sit watching these kids write wildly, some lying down, other hunched at wooden tables, I realize I am here for selfish reasons. I feel free. Free to teach in a way unlike the norm in traditional settings. Here, I sit by their side, writing along with them. Here, I make jokes and laugh when they laugh. Here, there are no bells, evaluations, or standardized tests. Here, they call me “Libbi”. Here they write next to my young daughter.
We have uninterrupted time to learn, play, practice, and be together: Writer to writer.