Two Lincoln writers, Camilla Ledezma ’19 and Faye Thompson ’19, will be joining 200 other dedicated high school writers for The New England Young Writers’ Conference (NEWYC) this May. Held at Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf campus in Vermont, this four-day conference allows the nation’s best sophomore and junior scribes to study alongside professional authors and creatively like-minded peers.
As described on their website, a typical day at Bread Loaf includes: writing workshops, staff readings, craft classes, free writing times, meals, music events, and open mic readings—aka plenty of dedicated time to pursue their craft and collaborate.
“I started writing in sixth grade when I wrote an essay on Harriet Tubman. I remember people saying that I was a good writer, and at the time I thought that meant using a lot of fancy words,” said Faye. “As I’ve matured, I began to realize that big words alone weren’t enough. I’ve been engaged in an interesting relationship with developing my voice, to work on knowing my audience and writing a piece with that in mind. I love it. Now I write every single day.”
Camilla, who recently came back from a semester at The Mountain School, also in Vermont, found her passion for words and the power of communication during her time there.
“At the Mountain School I saw firsthand how important it was to find out how to convey ideas to people in an accessible way, to share ideas that are foreign to others in a way they can understand,” said Camilla. “The idea of being able to prioritize writing [at NEWYC], to be officially considered a writer, is really exciting.”
Both girls will be participating in the nonfiction track and work on developing a manuscript through workshops, classes, and critiques. In order to be considered for NEYWC, each submitted a brief memoir—Faye’s, entitled “Earshot” and Camilla’s, entitled “Ni de Aqui, Ni de Alla"—both focusing on relationships with members of their family.
An Excerpt from “Earshot”:
From this invisibility cloak carelessly tossed over the bent heads of working women, she is made into water. She is strong, ever-nurturing, ever-resisting, ever-storming, always creating, endlessly sustaining, and yet looked straight through so easily. These water women are made to reflect expectations and to fit their containers. The functionality of their hips and the heaviness of their steps weary from work trickle past society’s eyes of recognition. Being a mother is a thankless job, no matter how supportive or caring the family she is charged to, and eventually it comes that that invisibility cloak is worn so gracefully, it is internalized. In many ways I know my mother is able to rewrite herself and escape the erasure of her labor, but I see she is still not fully aware of how solid she is, and how clearly the people around us can see that she exists.
An Excerpt from “Ni de Aqui, Ni de Alla”:
Twenty years after leaving his birthplace, my father says his home doesn’t exist anymore. The house he grew up in still stands in Magdaleno, Venezuela, but the people he imagines in it are long gone; some have passed away, others have moved to look for a safer place where they might find medicine or milk. He unknowingly escaped the changes that broke his country, but his family was never able to leave. When his brother, his mother, then his own father passed away, my father was more than two thousand miles away, unable to say goodbye. Instead, he was in this strange, cold place, surrounded by the sounds of unfamiliar English words coming out of his own childrens’ mouths. He tells us now that his roots have been stripped away, that he is on bare ground and we’re the only ones keeping him there, so that he can make sure we remember where we come from. But I can see how those he’s left behind haunt him as he watches my sister and me grow into ourselves with opportunities for learning that he could not have dreamt of, chances that give us more reason to adopt a culture alien to him.