Libby's lifelong love leads to Longfellow Young Writers Workshop

By Tanya Mitchell | May 23, 2014
Photo by: Tanya Mitchell Searsport District High School Sophomore Sarah Libby has earned a scholarship at attend the Longfellow Young Writers Workshop, a week long event at the University of Maine at Farmington.

Searsport — Ever since she got her first diary at the age of eight, Sarah Libby has been putting her thoughts down on paper.

These days, the 15-year-old sophomore at Searsport District High School still keeps a diary — in fact, Libby said she now has at least 20 journals containing pages filled with her daily impressions from the past several years. And that's just scratching the surface in terms of he volume and variety of writings the youth has penned since she was in grade school.

"In third grade we had to write an essay on what we wanted to be when we grew up," said Libby during an interview with The Republican Journal Thursday, May 15. "I wrote about how I wanted to be a dentist; it was six pages long."

Libby said her interests turned more toward acting in the years that followed, and she often wrote stories that she would then act out for her mother. That was when Libby said her mom pointed out how well she was able to write.

"I was good at writing then, and I never even noticed," she said with a smile.

Libby started writing song lyrics at age 12.

"I wrote about love, because every girl writes abut love," said Libby.

She experienced a few of life's ups and downs, and Libby said that helped expand her focus. That's when she started writing sad songs, songs about life, friendship, family.

"I had two notebooks, one that was for love songs, and one that was not love songs," she said.

That was also when Libby started writing poetry in addition to writing songs and stories.

As she moved into her high school years, Libby continued her songwriting and even made a little money from those skills.

"I would write songs for my eighth grade friends, and people would pay me for it," Libby recalled.

Come July, Libby's love of writing will lead her to the University of Maine at Farmington campus, where she will join other young scribes from across the state at the Longfellow Young Writers Workshop. While there, Libby will work with professional writers, take courses on a variety of writing types and also share her own work.

While the workshop carries a cost for many students who wish to attend, Libby will be attending the week long event on a full scholarship thanks to the personal statement and six-page writing sample she sent in to the coordinators with her application.

The way Libby learned she successfully landed the scholarship was a bit coincidental, in that Libby had emailed faculty at UMF early last week to inquire about the college's creative writing program.

"I want to go to Farmington anyways," she said.

Contained in the emailed response to Libby's inquiry were the answers to her academic questions, as well as the news that she had earned the scholarship to attend the workshop.

"I called my mom right after I got the email," said Libby.

Libby said she is most looking forward to sharing her own work with others, as well as learning from some of the seasoned writers who will be at the workshop.

Libby said while she aims to have her work published one day, her goal is not necessarily to find fame and fortune as a result of sharing it with others.

"I want to inspire people with my writing," she said.

One example of this is a recent song she penned titled "This is for you," a piece she wrote for her Facebook friends and "for anyone who reads it."

While she didn't start out writing poetry, Libby has grown to love that form of writing because of the uniqueness of that particular style and because of the creative freedom it offers.

"Poetry can be anything, you don't have to follow the rules and you shouldn't write like anybody else," she said. "That's the point of poetry, it's beautiful."

This is for you

This is for you,

the one with your eyes on these words.

Listen now because this is your chance.

You don't have to be alone.

Are you a boy that refuses to cry?

Are you angry and you don't even know why?

Are you a girl with a broken heart?

Did your father cause all of those scars?

Are you small, are you human?

Because I know how that feels.

Come to me, dare to say one word to me,

I'll be your diary.

 

Are you a bully begging not to feel alone?

Are you trying to see if they'll stay anyway?

Because I would.

Are you shy,

Are you guilty,

Are you sad,

Are you angry?

If you are any of those,

know you're not alone.

Don't be scared to feel,

because you need to feel.

Don't be afraid to scream,

or to cry out all your tears.

These words could never explain

how much you mean to me.

I'd spend hours listening,

and more hours writing,

telling you that you are not nothing.

You are everything.

And you are perfect to me.

 

Push me away,

And I will stay.

Forever I will be

just a message or phone call away.

 

This is for you,

the one silently screaming for help

while reading these words.

Listen now because this is your chance.

You don't have to be alone.

 

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Tanya Mitchell
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Tanya has been a general news reporter in Waldo County since 1997.

 

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