A WriteGirl Giving Tuesday Plug!

WriteGirl alum Janel, from WriteGirl's Facebook page

WriteGirl alum Janel, from WriteGirl’s Facebook page


Why I give to WriteGirl!

It’s officially The Holidays, you guys!

Even though the weather can be iffy (even in SoCal!), there’s a bit of a financial pinch, and family gatherings/memories bring up complicated feelings for most of us, the time between American Thanksgiving and January 6th is still my favorite time of the year. A few reasons why:

  • As a child, I was always fortunate to have fun Christmases with delicious food, beautiful music, loud family, and surprises under the tree. The holidays bring up happy memories and make me excited to start my own traditions with my baby family.
  • The holidays are full of ritual, a thing which I’ve always loved and I think is very important. American society really wants for ritual.
  • People get to be giving and kind to each other, even people who are not normally into being giving and kind.

Regarding the latter bullet point: this year, there is a thing called Giving Tuesday, as an afterthought to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The fact that Americans need a special day to remind them to be charitable and giving is problematic, but regardless–I’ve seen a lot of people on my news feeds asking which organizations are worth their donations. It’s good that so many people want to give, and this post is to put in a good word for WriteGirl.

WriteGirl is a creative writing mentoring organization for Los Angeles teen girls. Girls are paired up with professional women writers, and they meet one-on-one just to chat and write. It’s not about grammar, spelling, grades or tutoring–it’s just a way to connect girls with their own creative energy, and with another female role model. WriteGirl also hosts monthly workshops that tackle each a different genre, so girls get to explore all kinds of fun writing styles (journalism! songwriting!) that they’d never get to experience in school. At the end of each school year, the girls’ work is published in an anthology, and girls also have the opportunity to give public readings throughout the year. Throughout their time in the program, mentees receive specialized college information and  application help, and 100% of alumnae from the WriteGirl core program enroll in college. WriteGirl also has an in-schools program for incarcerated, pregnant and parenting teens.

When I first learned about WriteGirl, I was suspicious. I wondered how I hadn’t heard of the organization before, if it was so great and was sending all these girls to college year after year after year. Now I know: It’s because WriteGirl does not waste a dollar. They have a teensy-weensy staff, a volunteer army, and a tight mission statement from which they never deviate: “Within a community of women writers, WriteGirl promotes creativity and self-expression to empower girls.” That’s it! And it really is one of the greatest feminist organizations I know. Both the mentor and mentee populations are truly diverse, and the workshops are pretty strictly all-female spaces. I never feel like I’m giving charity to Underprivileged Youths at a WriteGirl workshop–I feel like I’m part of the revolution, because a couple hundred women and girls are in a room together, speaking out, and nobody is telling them to be quiet.

You can donate at WriteGirl.org. Happy holidays.


Things I’ve Been Meaning to Blog About Since I Last Blogged


Jim Behrle, from “Princess Problems”

  • Roger Ebert died. I cried in my car. Twitter still feels empty. He infiltrated my cultural consciousness very deeply, in a way that I didn’t realize until he died. I feel for his heroic wife, Chaz, and I like to watch Ebert’s TED Talk when I feel like giving up.
  • I went to a Roman Polanski double-feature, and it made me wonder: If someone who’s an excellent artist, a person whose work deals with gender and sexuality in an interesting and meditative way, turns out to be a rapist, what’s the feminist viewer’s responsibility? (Also, if the Manson family kills your wife, do you get a free pass on your own massive behavioral issues? A friend argued this; I’m not convinced. And is Woody Allen just as bad as Polanski, if we consider all factors and points of view? There’s a lot of questions here.)
  • Let’s not do Bikram yoga anymore. (May write more on this later.)
  • Losing Happy Endings was rough. If NBC cancels Hannibal, I’m going to have a bad time. (Although, on Hulu, they always pair Hannibal with food ads, and it’s a bit much.)
  • I recently had the privilege of seeing and interviewing Joey Ryan of the Milk Carton Kids. They’re a couple of real talents and showmen. A very youthful, exuberant and sincere bluegrass band opened for them. They’re called The Barefoot Movement and they are brilliant.
  • I’m about to start mentoring for WriteGirl–I’m thrilled. I’ll help a girl, meet other women writers, and write more. Pow!