As many of you know, I love to write. What many of you may not know is why.
Writing saved my life.
I don't say that lightly.
When I was young, I wasn't the most popular kid in school. I was a weirdo who didn't quite fit in with the boys or the girls. I loved to talk about Star Trek and synchronized swimming, which weren't exactly popular topics with the other kids.
As I grew into an adolescent, it only got worse.
But even while I was enduring difficult times at school, I had an outlet - writing. I journalled furiously and wrote stories - short ones, long ones, even full novels. Bullying at school was much easier to bear when I could think about Kalara and plan her trip to Mars.
Thanks to a wonderful man named Steve Charak and his magazine, Young Voices, I learned that writing was always something that would have my back. He taught writing workshops to kids around Olympia, WA, USA, and it's because of him that I got hooked. During a time when I didn't feel like I had much to contribute to the world, Steve believed in me and told me so. He even offered me my first regular writing gig - a science column in Young Voices.
Steve passed away in 2005 from brain cancer, and no one else picked up the baton. I always craved another organisation like Young Voices to volunteer for because I know - viscerally - how important they can be.
Then I heard about the Sydney Story Factory and saw an organisation that looked a lot like Young Voices. Upon reading the website I immediately signed up to volunteer!
For the last couple of months I've been volunteering at an after-school care in Waterloo. For those of you not in Sydney, Waterloo is home to housing estates that mostly house Aboriginal people. I've been working with these kids - many Aboriginal, but others from around the world - to write an Australian Odyssey story inspired by traditional language groups and Dreaming stories. It's be an eye-opening experience for me, and a wonderful chance to see these young minds grow and blossom!
This September I'm turning 34 (eep!) and for my birthday, I would love for you to donate to the Sydney Story Factory. To show my commitment, I will be making a blog post every day on my various blogs - don't worry, I'll share them here for your benefit!
Thank you for supporting me and the Sydney Story Factory!