For three years now, I have been facilitating a publication project that is near and dear to my heart – Imagine: A Collection of Writing and Artwork from Summit County Youth. Students from all over the county submit their paintings, photography, short stories and poems to be selected for this publication. Today the book and Virtual Student Art Gallery were featured in the Summit Daily, our local paper. A huge thanks to BreckCreate for their continued support!
My desire was always to help students see themselves as published authors from an early age. To understand the publication process and step into an identity that could last a lifetime. I LOVE seeing students get excited when they find out their work was chosen, and I LOVE seeing them overcome nerves when standing up in front of an audience to share their poem or essay or sign their name as an an author in the collection.
This year was different because of the coronavirus and quarantine. While we usually debut with the Student Art Gallery Exhibit and another special book signing at Next Page, this year, we just published a digital copy for now. We even delayed this digital publication a month so we could collect new submissions focused on the pandemic as well as tributes to high school students who lost their lives to suicide. We want to honor all the students with publicity in person, so will wait until bookstores open regularly again for a traditional book signing.
Whether it’s with my clients or with middle and high school students in our community, I truly enjoy helping others share their gifts with the world.
Keep an eye out for copies on Amazon in the next month or so. All proceeds go to Building Hope, an amazing non-profit in Summit County focused on mental health.
Enjoy the Gallery Below
Maggie wrote this piece to represent the student experience during the quarantines. She is also interviewed in the Summit Daily Article. I loved her articulation of this incredible event in our teenager’s lives:
Time by Maggie Butler
Time doesn’t make sense anymore.
I’m not saying it ever did. I’m not saying that in all the centuries humans have spent on this planet that we have had the capacity to understand the intricacies of the fourth dimension. In fact, I tend to enjoy the paradox of time, being a measurable thing that changes as people perceive it. But I have never known a time when the world stood so still.
The days of the week still stay the same. I can get up in the morning and know intrinsically that it is Wednesday. Or Saturday. Or any day in between. But somehow that feels less significant. Every day is today until it fades into yesterday and later becomes now. There is no schedule when time means nothing, and some days the pills I’m supposed to take daily don’t even make it out of the bottles. Time melts around me in blurry definition, beckoning me into its depths to find meaning in the world.
My days in quarantine are spent in thought, though not the type of thought other people would like to see. My parents and teachers beg me continuously to look at my schoolwork, to just do one thing, anything. The threat of failure looms over me, and yet I can’t bring myself to do what they want. I read, instead, and listen to folk music through old earbuds. I draw fantastical cities and take my dog on walks, and somehow I can’t help feeling that this is how life should be?
I am fortunate enough that I do not suffer the larger repercussions of the virus. But I do know that I am feeling peace. So the thought of others in the world being deprived of that same peace because of socio-economic status, class, or race, awakens a discontent in me.
This time is different. It is hard. It is confusing and sometimes scary. But I know that this time will fade into yesterday. And I cannot bear the thought of returning to times before, where time was something we were always running out of and never something we stopped to hold.
I hope life resumes. But I hope in greater measure that it never goes back to the way that it was. I hope that through this social pause we can see the fallacies of our own society and work to strengthen it, not by focusing on divides as we so often do, but by focusing on our common humanity. We went through this together. We lived this time together. And the only way we can move forward is if we do it together.
I just hope we don’t run out of time to do it.