My “Make a difference”

I went to a posh private school, which  to be honest, at the time, was not very posh at all. We had no gym and were bused to the Boys and Girls club to play at their facility. Most of my friends’ parents worked at the World Bank. We were all bright, and let’s face it, a bit full of ourselves. But we were all teenagers, and who isn’t full of themselves then? The school instilled in all of us a need to make a difference. And so it began. For some, it was the idealism of the non profit world. For others, it was the realm of science and looking for cures for all kinds of ills. And then there was me. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had the same idealism and the same drive but didn’t know where I fit in. I got to university and discovered that, as much as   I loved physics, it didn’t love me back. So I got a degree in international relations. True to my contrary nature, I then went and got an MBA. I thought that my idealistic soul would flourish, but again something held me back. I don’t know if it was cowardice, or low self esteem or what but I couldn’t find my way.
Then, I discovered writing. I came late to writing. Unlike some people, I had not been writing for years. I joined The Writer’s Way, a positive reinforcement writer’s group in 2002. A few of us tried to splinter into a critique based group but it never caught on and fizzled quickly. Writing took a back seat to other considerations and I didn’t pick it back up until I decided in 2011 to move to Edinburgh, Scotland. Just like that. On a whim. And a Greek passport. While there I joined a writers group called The Edinburgh Creative Writers Club. It was a great group of people and I made a ton of new friends. I also ended up leading the ECW. Sadly, Edinburgh didn’t have much in the way of permanent jobs, so back I came to the States. But I came back with purpose. Using the skills I gained in Edinburgh, I created my own group, The Washington Creative Writers Club. A year and three months into leading this writers group and doing some of my own writing, I still felt something was missing.
It wasn’t until the summer of 2013, during a chance conversation with my family, while on vacation in Greece, that I found it. My “make a difference”. How was I going to make what I loved doing into something I could live on? An idea gradually took hold. Before I left for Greece, I had started a second writers group, the “Fast and Dirty writers” that met and wrote from prompts that I found online or made up myself. The name is not in the least indicative of what we wrote but rather how we wrote it. Fast and dirty in the sense that there was no planning. As for the other meaning of “dirty”, nothing to see here folks, move along. I wondered if I could use this idea of prompted writing to make a living. I discovered that with a bit of tweaking I could turn the model that I use at both WCW and Fast and Dirty, into something that I could get anyone but primarily kids interested in. So there it was. My “make a difference”.  Teaching kids to love writing as much as I do. How, you ask?  That’s up next. Stay tuned.

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