Monday, July 1, 2013

At Risk Summer (From NOLA)

For the last month, I've been heavy on the social media promoting an unconventional book tour/documentary tentatively titled At Risk Summer (which will most likely become At-Risk Summer). On the quick, At Risk Summer is about the impact of a professional artist mentoring youth in creative burst workshops across America. In this case, I'm that pro artist traveling America in a compact Ford Focus with more books (first two novels) to give-away than clothing to wear.

As I continue to meet with youth across America, I'll discuss issues around bullying, belonging, self-image, loss and essentially the gamut of topics raised in my third novel FAT ANGIE (Candlewick Press, March 2013).

See, I wrote FAT ANGIE because I had something to say to kids who I thought needed something to hear. Shortly after the book came out in March, I realized that I wanted the themes of the book to hit the kids who needed it the most. A lot of at-risk kids don't have professional creative mentors. And FAT ANGIE is about access.

So I redefined the idea of a shoe-string, self-funded book tour into something that was about reaching out and directly connecting with at-risk youth. And I realized there was a bigger idea here that might motivate others to see the value in what I am doing this summer. That's where the idea of a documentary came into view. 

Translation: Me + At-Risk Youth = Workshops To Access Their Voice

So. .. I'm on the road as in right now. I'm doing the travel to communities small and large in an effort to empower young people to take back their lives with their voice.

While I can't walk down the halls and stop the bully from bullying, I can show up through my writing and my presence and say, "You are not alone. I am listening. Let's try to write a better ending today."

As I travel America, fan-amaze-tastic authors have agreed to be a part of the documentary. How tastic? Well ...

You all are officially on the know. Now I'm gonna update my blog with my first two experiences. Thanks for the read and rock the world!


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