Published in National Post. [Toronto magazine, April 26, 2008]
'Just write it down and it's good'
Parkdale presented with the power of the pen
"I grew up in Parkdale and the first place I was allowed to walk to on my own was this library," Emily-Pohl Weary said. "I would've loved to have the opportunity when I was younger to feel like writing about the place where I lived was valid."
That's what her Parkdale Street Writers program aims to do every Tuesday afternoon at the library. With just a month to publicize the program, sponsored by the Ontario Arts Council and the Parkdale Community Health Centre, Pohl-Weary was surprised she had to turn away participants in what she calls, "a bootcamp for young dreamers."
The class is an eclectic mix of high school students and out of school locals hoping to reconnect with writing. Over the course of the 10-week program, local artists including author Mariko Tamaki, rapper Mindbender and comic artist Willow Dawosn will lead workshops.
The teachers are all native Torontonians who feel a connection with the neighbourhood. For youth coordinator Kashfia Rahman, that's a plus.
"We're introducing a lot of these kids to other people who have lived here and are successful because of where they came from," she said.
For other participants the act of writing with similarly interested people is enough.
"You get the opportunity to say whatever you want," says Jennifer Fraser, 18. "Things that you will never say to other people - you just write it down and it's good."
Call 416-779-1448 for details.