The following post was written by Sarah Zhou, a 10th grader at Interlake High School and member of the Richard Hugo Youth Leadership Board. This was originally written a few weeks ago, before the sunshine struck.
Rainy days are usually associated with a whole potpourri of negative emotions–boredom, dreariness, even downright depression. But then, what happens to the soul of the Seattle-ite? Does it just shrivel up on soggy sidewalks?
Perhaps that’s what the rest of the world thinks of us but if you ask anyone here, you’d know that quite on the contrary, we are thriving, despite of or maybe because of, the rainy weather we are
cursed blessed with. After all, what better to do on a rainy day than curl up in a warm blanket and moon over the amazing alliteration in “The Raven” or regurgitate in your journal all the plentiful feelings that arise on sentimental days?
I guess the love for words runs through every Seattle-ite’s veins. And it only feels natural that Hugo House is such a vibrant community of adult and teen writers alike.
Honestly, I feel so lucky to be a member of the Youth Leadership Board here. My first encounter with the Hugo House was Scribes last summer. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience and was sure I was going to come back one way or another but didn’t expect it was going to be in the form of a leadership position. To be honest, I had never considered myself the leader type; I remember in 5th grade school plays and middle school group presentations where I simply settled for the backstage jobs because I was terrified at the idea of people actually listening to my ideas. I’d secretly grumble under my breath whenever I thought of an alternative that was “better” than the leader’s but I let my fears and insecurities keep me in the back seat.
It isn’t until now, after working with so many gifted people around the Hugo House and making decisions I would never have trusted myself to make before, I can see that everyone is a leader and a visionary—it’s just that some take risks and some are too scared. The trick is to take the first major risk (applying for the leadership position) and let the rest follow.
I think that’s what the Hugo House is all about—letting every person see themselves shine through their craft whether it is writing or fundraising or any other talent that adds to the diverse Hugo House staff.
I could go on but I have to get to the part where I explain what the Youth Leadership Board is working on at the moment to all the curious people out there. We are currently promoting Stage Fright, our open mic program for teens, finding ways we can make it bigger and better than it already is. We are also starting up our new teen mentorship program that happens every Wednesday from 3-6 pm before Write Time. It’s still rough but we’ve compiled a nice folder of writing exercises and writing lessons from professionals for our supplementary material and all five of us have been trained in the art of revision by the lovely Hugo Staff members.
We hope that through our efforts, we can reach more teens in the greater Seattle area. It is our way of giving back to a community that has given us so much!