NY-based writer/editor Amy Goldwasser is looking for entries from teenage girls for a book of essays she’s editing called Bloody Red Heart.
The idea for this book came when Goldwasser was at Seventeen Magazine and persisted as she realized that teens’ interminable texting is not just creating a nation of people who can’t talk to each other — it is also creating a highly literate culture of young people who are comfortable with the written word.
Why not harness that comfort in a book that does more than provide an “oral history” of teen girls in America?
Goldwasser tells FBLA: I’ve spent six months of my own time, no pay at all, putting together this bookâ€”because I believe in the girls and have been blown away by their writing. I received almost 800 essays from my last call, in March, from nearly every state in the US and including Iraq, Israel, Bahrain, Japan, India, England, the Netherlands.”
But she’s gotten precious few from LA. So make this Bring Your Daughter to Blog Day and have her click on this link to learn the rules and submit entries by Dec. 19.
To get an idea of what Goldwasser is looking for (i.e. everything and anything), here is an e-mail she sent out, asking for friends’ to text their favorite 13-year-olds and drum up interest:
Hi all. If you’re someone I’ve hit up for this before over the years — when I was at Seventeen, then again when I was at New York — please know that it’s all the magazines’ fault it didn’t happen then.
But I was blown away by the great response and quality of writing I received and have been determined to do something worthy with them(and then some) since. The essays are that much stronger for the wait, and I’ve found a better medium and audience for this.
Thrilled to finally say I’m putting together a book of essays written by teen girls. What will make this one special, elevate it from any teen genre-type collection, is that I’m absolutely committed to their words, their voicesâ€”not quoting them (aka, calling myself author of an “oral history”) or rewriting them (imposing adult filter). I’m working with the girls, editor at their service, with more attention than I’d give any overrated old professional writer. I want to put their essays out there because they’re great reads and need a proper place in literature, not because they’re some misguided grownup idea of what kids today are up to, keeping it real. This is a chance for them, as writers, to speak to a broader audience and with more staying power and legitimacy than the web allows. I’m thinking of their inclusion as launching their careers as writers or filmmakers or anything else.
So if you know any girls, age 13-18, who’d like to submit a piece of personal non-fiction for consideration, please pass this invitation onto them. Also feel free to forward to any parents or teachers who might do the same. Those are about the only guidelinesâ€”absolutely any subject matter (so far everything from a Christian acoustic guitar player on the importance of dressing modestly to an obsessive diatribe against Condi Rice to making out with a gay prom date to learning to cook to a parent’s drinking), any geography (great to get away from LA-NY), any length, and from writers of any race, class, etc. If she’s more comfortable, the writer can remain anonymousâ€”as long as she gives me her age, location, and a promise that she’s not making shit up. They can be important or fun, about shopping or stealing, whatever.
The essay may already exist (from a school assignment, from a blog, e-mail to a friend, anything) or be an original work. In fact, might be even better if it’s already completed, as I can’t pay anyone for submissions at this stage. I can go into it in more detail individually if you’re interested, but for now, what I need to do is prove to the big guns that the girls are up to the task (themselves, again, not as told to or rewritten by a grownup). We know they are.
Please encourage the teen girls you know to send me any first-person writing they’re excited about by (Dec. 19). I’m interested in reading absolutely anything they make, and of course, hope is to get them recognized in a major-publisher book down the line. Fees and permissions and all that biz to be negotiated when that happens. And as talented and sophisticated as these writers can be, I do know they’re kidsâ€”and therefore I all the more appreciate and honor their trusting me with what’s in their heads.