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My novel (chapter 10 is done) is dedicated to:

the couple who inspired it--my friend and her cheating husband

the couple who helped me experience it--the married man and his wife

and another couple who taught me to believe that marriage is not impossible and love truly does exist.

I am almost positive the dedication is meant to appease me in whatever guilt I feel for raping the lives of everyone I know.

What plans do you have for the girls' stories besides putting them here or entertaining people with them at readings? How much can you afford to donate from the book to the shelter? Can you use the book cash to buy more beads?

I think the best thing you do is go to the shelter and talk to the girls. For however long you're there, you distract them from the truly awful things they have to deal with. You also exist as someone who has been where they are now and got themselves out.

Your actions are not exploitative if you use what you get from them for the common (yours and the girls') good.

Don't be Leo Tolstoy and give away your fortune to the beggars in the streets. Remain the presence you have been, maybe start a writing program at the shelter?

>> -- because I think we've established by now that everything is about me,

I am so glad someone else thinks that way.

have you seen the movie capote? see it. you're not him. but all writers "use". it's a matter of degree and intention. and it seems you are in the safety zone in that regard. i second the idea of starting a writing program for those girls. let them write about you! imagine.

okay a writing program and perhaps a blog? where you publish their writing online for them (since i assume this is something many of them are not in a position to do for themselves)?
and you could bring them back the comments?

Well, you all give such keen, generous, and helpful advice, as usual, and I am thinking very hard about how I want my work and my volunteering to co-exist and support each other. I love the idea of facilitating the girls' own expression. The shelter isn't too keen on the internet, as it's notoriously hard to monitor, and all these at-risk kids are more vulnerable than most to online predators, but that doesn't mean we couldn't put out a zine...


Good idea, that.

VERY good idea, I think, the 'zine.

i guess i was thinking you could take their stuff and post it for them. they don't have the internet, but you do. you could even papercast it so you don't have to retype.
the benefits of digital are that you save trees & postage & enable comments. plus instant gratification. :)
papercasting: http://papercasting.dendro.com/?page_id=49

Glow, those are definitely benefits -- the disadvantage would be that most of the girls wouldn't be able to see their own work, and I love th "permanence" of paper. But we could do a paper zine and papercast it...

I'll be bummed out if things get so hectic that I have to take another break from volunteering, but I could see it happening in March.

yheah yheah! do that.
i wasn't thinking about them not being able to see it.
you smaht.

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