Sunday, May 3, 2009

WriteGirl, BraveGirl

It's easy to say, "If only."

If only things had been different, I would be different. If only I had grown up richer, smarter, more beautiful. If only I'd been more brave.

Susan Kitchens, of 2020Hindsight, tagged me with this prompt: "If I could have met with a mentor on a weekly basis when I was a teenager, I..."

I usually ignore internet tags because they are at best mindless time-wasters. This is the first one I've seen in months that hasn't in most ways resembled a chain letter.

Susan tagged me on this subject because she's passionate about WriteGirl, "a non-profit organization for high school girls centered on the craft of creative writing and empowerment through self-expression." The girls are mentored by professional writers. Today they'll be writing all day at the Pasadena Playhouse for Tonight's big event, PlayWriteGirl.

You can go to PlayWriteGirl and watch celebrities like Christine Lahti, Melora Hardin, Sprague Grayden, Dana Delaney and JoBeth Williams perform the pieces the girls write today. You can also have great food. (Even from Mozza, which--I'm telling you--lunch for two can be $70 bucks and worth it.)

If I could have met with a mentor on a weekly basis when I was a teenager, I would not have been richer, smarter or more beautiful. But I might have been more brave.

The word "empowerment" is overused, but if I let myself think about it for a moment, let it mean something to me, I remember how hard I took things as a girl, how deeply I was shaped by events large and small. How afraid I was. How long and arduous a journey I had to travel to find my power.

Life might be different for any one of us, if only... But "if only" is fantasy. I got what I got. I made of it what I could. But sometimes I didn't know what to make of it. Kindnesses from adults I trusted are jewels I treasure to this day. If I hadn't had the help of those adults, I might have turned out to be someone I wouldn't care to be.

2020 hindsight and life experience tell me even little things can empower these WriteGirls and make them brave: your presence in a seat at the Pasadena Playhouse tonight, for one little thing. For another: your applause.

Other bloggers who've tackled this subject: West Coast Grrlie Blather, Mademoiselle Gramophone, Altadena Hiker and Life Under a Tin Roof Sky. I'll add more as I find them, or you can follow the links to people they've tagged.

Open Mouth, Insert Fork
Plumbing the Deeps

I haven't tagged anyone, but it's a worthy subject to blog about and I don't think it has to be limited to women. How about you? What's your take on the phrase, "If I could have met with a mentor on a weekly basis when I was a teenager, I..." ? Let me know if you blog about it so I can link to you.


Laurie said...

I adore you Petrea! This is so lovely. Thank you.

lynn said...

Beautifully written Petrea. Sounds marvellous. I wish I was there. I almost feel I am, after that.

Buenos Aires Photoblog said...

Great article. If only all bloggers could be this passionate.

Shell Sherree said...

You are special, Petrea. And I love your photo. A beautiful empty hallway ready to fulfil its potential.

Desiree said...

Love it--terrific photo too--

Saretta said...

Sounds like a wonderful program!

Petrea said...

Thank you! I feel applauded, in a way. Everyone needs encouragement, even grown-ups. But especially when we're young and fragile (even when we think we're tough).

Shell, the photo was taken in a corridor at the Pasadena Playhouse. It's a beautiful old 1920's building with lots of nooks and crannies and hallways. Oh and Shell, you are special too. Well, aren't we all! That's what the program's about.

Jean Spitzer said...

The story and photo are both lovely. I'm loving reading the different takes on "what if" that this question has prompted.

Ted Thompson said...

Now that's some good stuff. And touching on the same subject, it can be amazing what events stick with you. Indeed it could be one persons applause, someone the girl doesn't even know, that acts as a springboard for the future.

I'm amazed at how my attending a school performance, that took no more the *maybe* 5 minutes, that was all but forgotten by me in later years, turned out to be a very poignant moment in my daughters life. Much more important to her then the moments that *I* thought were going to be the important ones later in life.

Go figure... ^_^

Susan C said...

I'll be there tonight, clapping and cheering away.

Amen to everything you said.

Cafe Pasadena said...

Oh my, I didn't think you were gonna take me so seriously, P.
And, I like that shot. In fact, it looks xactly like it could bee from my collection!

Write On! for de Right Girl! We need more like them.

Virginia said...

Waht a gift you have. That's a damn fine photograph as well. Bravo on both fronts.

Petrea said...

Jean, thanks to you I updated with links to others who've blogged about this so far.

It's true, Ted. We never know what little gesture we make, kind or not so kind, will make a difference to someone.

Yay Susan!

Haha, Cafe, I hate to tell you, but the post was completed long before your comment. Great minds think alike, though.

Merci, Virginia. (3 weeks, is it? Oohlala.)

Shan said...

This sounds great and so so true! Thanks for sharing this with us Petrea. I haven't managed to comment much but I am loving your photos from last week and such-especially the houses! :)

Petrea said...

Shan I'm glad to see you! It's sweet of you to drop by.

Petrea said...

Susan Carrier has posted on this topic at Open Mouth Insert Fork.

Miss Havisham's Tea Party said...

Vetty vetty vetty nice, my dear.

Ms M said...

That sounds like a wonderful program. And I love your photo. I once had a female boss who had a plaque in her office. The saying was something along the lines of; "In whatever you do each day, remember a young girl is watching."

Petrea said...

Here's another one:

Petrea said...

These have all been really, really good.