A staff member describes how she found ACW and invites you to join her
This is not an average letter, because there’s nothing average about ACW.
The Adirondack Center for Writing honors story, but maybe you only know a part of ours. Perhaps you know us from the Howl Story Slams, PoemVillage, or the Adirondack Literary Awards. This is how I found ACW: a year ago, I was on the phone during a job interview with Nathalie Thill, ACW Executive Director. This was not a standard interview. We spoke about the importance of writing for kids growing up in rural areas like my hometown of Saranac Lake. In fact, the only poetry performance my friends and I had ever seen turned out to be an ACW event. We discussed the value and power of writing in prisons, schools, and communities, and how words changed lives.
When I was hired I learned that we were not discussing pipe dreams but that at ACW, the only literary organization in the Park, education, creativity, and community are the reality. We are agents of change in the region. Programs like our High School Writing Retreat and our prison writing program, which is the longest running federal prison arts program in the nation, show the incredible impact writing can have on individual lives. Take, for example, this powerful quote from an inmate writer during a class discussion,
“I’ve decided to turn this 12 year sleep into something meaningful. I’m not going to
waste my time like the character in our book did, only thinking of revenge. I’m
going to write instead.”
When I look towards the next year at ACW, I know that each program we offer will ring true to our aim: bringing words and people together. We provide the space, time, and mentors/presenters, but the people of the Adirondacks are the backbone of our work. People like the 9-year-old who fearlessly told a tale to an audience of nearly two hundred, or the mother who wrote her first poem and then organized a poem reading pub crawl, or the teacher devoted to bringing students to our writing retreat, every year, for almost 13 years. People like you.
In my first year with ACW, I met many of you in person, and if I didn’t, I look forward to getting a chance to see you at one of our upcoming events. Perhaps I’ll see you in the audience at our next major author reading, surprise your school district with the next Pop Up Poetry event, welcome you to our publishing conference, or help you join our online classes and writing bootcamps. Before that time, we need your support. We are building an events calendar with brand new programs, writing opportunities, and partnerships. [Please help] the Adirondack Center for Writing by giving, either at the basic $40 level or a higher level to better help us meet our goals. Whether it’s your first time or your fifteenth, we need your support now more than ever before. Thank you for being a part of such an amazing community of writers, readers, storytellers, neighbors, and friends.
With sincere thanks,
Baylee Annis, Assistant to the Executive Director