For Those Who Can’t Read or Why I’m Taking a Summer Weekend to Stay Inside and Write

MNM
This year, I am joining 39 other writers in a writing marathon in support of adult literacy services provided by the YMCA Simcoe/Muskoka. Please help us share the power of reading by sponsoring me. You can click here to donate now, or you can click the link at the end of this post. Any amount helps.

On July 11, 40 writers will start 72 hours of pounding out words as fast as we can. Prizes will be awarded for the best novel in each category (Juvenile, Young Adult, Adult), most words written, and most funds raised.  It’s the 2014 Muskoka Novel Marathon, in Huntsville, Ontario, Canada.

It is a mad dash, a word frenzy. For what purpose?

Why will we be throwing our literary skills at the page?

Because we can. And too many people cannot.

We are raising money so the people who cannot read this blog post can learn how. 

I cannot remember a time before I could read. My earliest memories include being shamed at school because I came to school being able to read and my teacher didn’t know what to do with me while she was teaching my classmates. I took reading for granted.

But, it wasn’t until I started talking to my friends who have participated in the Muskoka Novel Marathon in the past that I gave much consideration to how deeply embedded reading is in my life.

Written words are everywhere.

Think about the things you would not be able to do if you could not read.

  • Any interaction, research, or learning that you use the internet for.
  • Reading want ads to find a job.
  • Understanding the materials your children bring home from school.
  • Sending messages back to the teacher.
  • Reading street signs.
  • Checking the dosage of medication on the packaging.
  • Keep a shopping list.
  • Fill out forms: taxes, school information, etc.
  • Maintain a calendar.
  • Follow a recipe.
  • Check that a bill is correct.
  • Understand a contract.
  • Check tv listings.
  • Read ingredients in packaged foods.

For the person who cannot read, all of these, and all the other sources of and uses of information in this information age are out of reach. The text to voice apps out there only address a few of these issues, and not the most important ones.

The stigma associated with illiteracy makes it hard for a person who has left school functionally illiterate to ask for help. A lifetime of hiding this inability takes is toll.

And it isn’t a small problem

According to the Canadian Literacy and Learning Network, 42% of Canadian adults between the ages of 16 and 65 have low literacy skills.

The YMCA Simcoe/Muskoka is part of the solution. Through their Literacy Services programs, they offer free instruction in literacy, numeracy, computer and basic life skills to out-of-school teens and adults.

Their success stories include Nora Bartlett, who upgraded her literacy skills to the point that she now participates in the Muskoka Novel Marathon as a writer.  Some grads, Lowe says, “have since opened businesses of their own; others can now read and write well enough to help their children with their homework.

“All have seen their self confidence grow in leaps and bounds as a result of the success they have had.”

And that is why I am joining the rest of the writers for a weekend inside, ignoring the call of summer and giving of myself. To pass the gift of reading on to someone who needs it.

Won’t you help me by clicking here and making a donation?

30 Days of Writing Prompts – Day 30

30 writing prompts logo2.jpg
A Writing Prompt for Every Day in November

Don’t miss a day, enter your email address on the left and get a reminder with each new prompt.

How to use these prompts for NaNo participants:
Do ALL writing in your manuscript. Keep your word count climbing.
Do NOT worry that following a prompt will take you away from the focus of your story. Your unconscious will make the connections for you. Your job is to get words out. Revise later.
Do follow your story over the specifics of the prompt.
Have Fun!

Writing Prompt Day 30

Describe the ideal resolution of your story from your protagonist’s perspective.

Extend it: Write a scene in which the protagonist gets almost the ideal ending.

Now, go write!

If you have missed any prompts, they can all be found here.

30 Days of Writing Prompts – Day 29

30 writing prompts logo2.jpg
A Writing Prompt for Every Day in November

Don’t miss a day, enter your email address on the left and get a reminder with each new prompt.

How to use these prompts for NaNo participants:
Do ALL writing in your manuscript. Keep your word count climbing.
Do NOT worry that following a prompt will take you away from the focus of your story. Your unconscious will make the connections for you. Your job is to get words out. Revise later.
Do follow your story over the specifics of the prompt.
Have Fun!

Writing Prompt Day 29

Write a list of weaknesses your main character could have.

Extend it: Write a scene in which the main character displays that weakness.

Now, go write!

Don’t miss a prompt: enter your email address on the left and get a reminder with each new prompt.

30 Days of Writing Prompts – Day 28

30 writing prompts logo2.jpg
A Writing Prompt for Every Day in November

Don’t miss a day, enter your email address on the left and get a reminder with each new prompt.

How to use these prompts for NaNo participants:
Do ALL writing in your manuscript. Keep your word count climbing.
Do NOT worry that following a prompt will take you away from the focus of your story. Your unconscious will make the connections for you. Your job is to get words out. Revise later.
Do follow your story over the specifics of the prompt.
Have Fun!

Writing Prompt Day 28

Write a scene that includes a coconut, a luggage rack, and an escape.

Now, go write!

Don’t miss a prompt: enter your email address on the left and get a reminder with each new prompt.

30 Days of Writing Prompts – Day 27

30 writing prompts logo2.jpg
A Writing Prompt for Every Day in November

Don’t miss a day, enter your email address on the left and get a reminder with each new prompt.

How to use these prompts for NaNo participants:
Do ALL writing in your manuscript. Keep your word count climbing.
Do NOT worry that following a prompt will take you away from the focus of your story. Your unconscious will make the connections for you. Your job is to get words out. Revise later.
Do follow your story over the specifics of the prompt.
Have Fun!

Writing Prompt Day 27

Write a list of things you hate. Pick one of them for a character to like and describe it from their point of view.

Extend it: Write a scene in which the thing appears.

Now, go write!

Don’t miss a prompt: enter your email address on the left and get a reminder with each new prompt.

30 Days of Writing Prompts – Day 25

30 writing prompts logo2.jpg
A Writing Prompt for Every Day in November

Don’t miss a day, enter your email address on the left and get a reminder with each new prompt.

How to use these prompts for NaNo participants:
Do ALL writing in your manuscript. Keep your word count climbing.
Do NOT worry that following a prompt will take you away from the focus of your story. Your unconscious will make the connections for you. Your job is to get words out. Revise later.
Do follow your story over the specifics of the prompt.
Have Fun!

Writing Prompt Day 25

Think of 6 red objects. Write about as many of them as possible in one setting.

Extend it: Add two blue objects and at least one character and write a scene.

Now, go write!

Don’t miss a prompt: enter your email address on the left and get a reminder with each new prompt.

30 Days of Writing Prompts – Day 24

30 writing prompts logo2.jpg
A Writing Prompt for Every Day in November

Don’t miss a day, enter your email address on the left and get a reminder with each new prompt.

How to use these prompts for NaNo participants:
Do ALL writing in your manuscript. Keep your word count climbing.
Do NOT worry that following a prompt will take you away from the focus of your story. Your unconscious will make the connections for you. Your job is to get words out. Revise later.
Do follow your story over the specifics of the prompt.
Have Fun!

Writing Prompt Day 24

Think of a rural location that has emotional meaning for you. Write a description of it using starting with the sounds in the environment.

Extend it: Write a scene that happens in that place.

Now, go write!

Don’t miss a prompt: enter your email address on the left and get a reminder with each new prompt.

30 Days of Writing Prompts – Day 23

30 writing prompts logo2.jpg
A Writing Prompt for Every Day in November

Don’t miss a day, enter your email address on the left and get a reminder with each new prompt.

How to use these prompts for NaNo participants:
Do ALL writing in your manuscript. Keep your word count climbing.
Do NOT worry that following a prompt will take you away from the focus of your story. Your unconscious will make the connections for you. Your job is to get words out. Revise later.
Do follow your story over the specifics of the prompt.
Have Fun!

Writing Prompt Day 23

Who does your antagonist love? Describe that character and include why that relationship is important.

Extend it: Write a scene in which the antagonist and the character he or she loves are in conflict.

Now, go write!

Don’t miss a prompt: enter your email address on the left and get a reminder with each new prompt.

30 Days of Writing Prompts – Day 22

30 writing prompts logo2.jpg
A Writing Prompt for Every Day in November

Don’t miss a day, enter your email address on the left and get a reminder with each new prompt.

How to use these prompts for NaNo participants:
Do ALL writing in your manuscript. Keep your word count climbing.
Do NOT worry that following a prompt will take you away from the focus of your story. Your unconscious will make the connections for you. Your job is to get words out. Revise later.
Do follow your story over the specifics of the prompt.
Have Fun!

Writing Prompt Day 22

Look around you. Pick one thing in the room with you. Describe it in detail, starting with the way it feels when you touch it.

Extend it: Write a scene in which two characters are in conflict with or about the object.

Now, go write!

Don’t miss a prompt: enter your email address on the left and get a reminder with each new prompt.

30 Days of Writing Prompts – Day 21

30 writing prompts logo2.jpg
A Writing Prompt for Every Day in November

Don’t miss a day, enter your email address on the left and get a reminder with each new prompt.

How to use these prompts for NaNo participants:
Do ALL writing in your manuscript. Keep your word count climbing.
Do NOT worry that following a prompt will take you away from the focus of your story. Your unconscious will make the connections for you. Your job is to get words out. Revise later.
Do follow your story over the specifics of the prompt.
Have Fun!

Writing Prompt Day 21

When did your main character need help from someone else? Tell the story.

Extend it: Write a scene in which your main character has an opportunity to pay it forward?

Now, go write!

Don’t miss a prompt: enter your email address on the left and get a reminder with each new prompt.