A Year In the Young Authors Collective

Editor's note: Applications for the 2019-2020 Young Authors Collective are due August 24. Learn more and apply here.

I am, by nature, a rather shy person, and while I'm good at remaining unnoticed and quiet, it's harder for me to establish myself in the room. If you told this to my friends at the Young Authors Collective, they might be surprised. YAC, and often by extension, Lighthouse, provides the rare space where I feel at ease in the room. I have found a place where I can share my interests and find them reciprocated. In the variety of writing projects that I've done this year, I’ve both seen new and amazing voices, and found my own.

Of course, mentioning the opportunities that Lighthouse has given me to express myself would be obsolete if I didn’t also talk about the few times I have been allowed to teach at Lighthouse.

This year, I was able to teach my peers about a genre that has peaked my interest, cosmic horror. It was a great deal of fun being able to share my interests and creating writing exercises. It was an important milestone for me this year that I not only was able to establish myself in the room, but also be the front and center of it.

I also was lucky enough to help teach a class for nine-year-olds this year. It was a fun time for everyone involved, even if the kids had a tendency to be...vigorous in their excitement, but it was a wonderful day. I have pictures on my camera roll that I’ll always keep of a feedback form that asks what the best part of the class was, and in a child’s handwriting, there’s the name of my friend and I who taught the class. It was a day that taught leadership and planning to me, but was also simply a good deal of fun.

If I am to praise Lighthouse, at one point I should also probably talk about the writing I do. The Young Author’s Collective, and the general programs of Lighthouse, tend to provide a wonderful mix of practice. When one starts out writing, the general advice is to simply keep doing it, as much as possible. I am not always good at keeping this up, but I like writing prompts, and fun projects, and generally things that keep me on my toes. Lighthouse provides not only a space for me to grow socially, but a space to grow in my writing.

When I am asked to describe why I love Lighthouse though, I don’t say any of this. I respond, without hesitation: the people. The writers I meet are all incredibly wonderful, I feel so lucky to call them friends. While I don't often make myself clear to others, it is so important to me that I have a space with people who understand me.

I wanted to put in a memory to share, something that would convey the sheer wonder of Lighthouse for me. But the fact remains that I don’t have one big, beautiful memory, but a thousand precious moments. I have petty arguments, jokes that accidentally spanned a class or two, whiteboard procession etiquette, snack food discourse, the repeated idea that I may secretly be an eldritch abomination, but shh, don’t tell. I have strings of puns, each worse than the last, I have several strong opinions about furniture, I have a list of rules that may be getting out of control.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that I have a really beautiful place for me.