Write Mondays

Writing Workshops for Middle and High School Students in Central Vermont

Write Mondays offers writing workshops for middle and high school students in Central Vermont. We believe in nurturing young writers at every level and challenging students to explore the myriad of writing choices available to them. Kid-centered workshops led by master teachers provide a supportive community where generating, sharing, and critiquing work happens at the group level. But most of all, Write Mondays is about fostering creative expression and translating it onto the page. Workshops are held at Local 64 in Montpelier, VT. 

That One Book

Durango Street For every young reader, there’s that one book. For me, it was Durango Street. In Frank Bonham’s gritty young adult novel, an inner city kid named Rufus Henry becomes leader of the Moors, a neighborhood gang. I grew up in a village of 800 people in the woods of northern Pennsylvania, and I couldn’t have had less in common with Rufus. It wasn’t classic literature—it was closer to pulp. But I didn’t care. Bonham’s story of vulnerability, longing, violence, and redemption drew me back again and again.

As a young adult, I went on to study the classics, and then to write stories of my own; I didn’t think about Durango Street for decades. Then I met a talented writer named Lee Durkee, who was living in Montpelier and working at Rivendell Books. I picked up Lee’s novel Rides of the Midway, which includes a reference to Durango Street. And when I asked Lee about it, he didn’t just own up—he raved.

Recently, as teacher in the Franklin County Stories Project, I watched the film Freedom Writers. Can you guess which book a naïve but enthusiastic teacher presents to her class of inner city kids? The enduring power of the written word to excite new imaginations is just one of the reasons Write Mondays exists. —Gary