14. Little Writers

The Chelsea rec center was much farther from the office than I had expected, and the four avenues in between seemed interminably longer in the 20-degree weather.

As with many of the activities I’ve sampled so far, it wasn’t immediately clear upon entering the room that I was in the right place. What had been described as a workshop for budding young writers instead looked like a slumber party full of kids on a sugar high, minus the sleeping bags.

As I debated whether or not to step inside, a fantastically thin woman detached herself from the group and explained that the kids were “winding down” with a game. This looked like a stretch, but I gamely took a seat in the circle and listened as the kids took turns telling us what they want to be when they grow up, in between fits of giggles and refusals to participate.

The game ended on a discordant note when a tiny girl with a curly dark ponytail announced that she wanted to be “a kid who gets hit.” The volunteers collectively reeled, and after we gathered our wits, were finally able to separate them into groups and pass out notebooks for the writing activity.

Neither of my girls seemed particularly interested in writing, and any dreams of herding little writers down the path to self-fulfillment dissolved there under the fluorescent lighting. We played a word game instead, concocting a Mad Libs-style story about a monkey who swatted a mouse to Africa with a giant broom, where he was reunited with his family.

Mindful that a parent entering the room during the presentation might suspect racial undertones, I suggested holding the reunion in Morocco. This, of course, led to an increased emphasis on the word Africa when read aloud.

We volunteers went out for Thai afterward to get to know one another. At the restaurant, I was quickly reminded that all egos are not created equal, and sex blogs, no matter how poorly constructed, apparently sell.

Expect to see a lot more BDSM posts and bikini pics here in the coming weeks.

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