What’s in a word

. January 1, 2020.
(L-R) Jessica (Decky) Alexander, Director of Engage at EMU, and David Boeving, an EMU Writing Instructor. Photo Credit: YpsiWrites.

YpsiWrites for all

Whether it’s a quick email, a snarky tweet, or that research paper you’re dreading, writing is a part of our everyday lives. ‘We are all writers’ is the message of the YpsiWrites program, which recently began at all Ypsilanti District Library branches. YpsiWrites theme, “Everyone’s a Writer,” is a motto prompted by co-founders and Eastern Michigan University professors and writing advocates Ann Blakeslee and Cathy Fleischer.

The program welcomes teen and adult writers of all ages to workshop their writing, regardless of topic or genre— everything from personal memoirs to poetry, research papers, or public presentations— with volunteers from the local writing community. YpsiWrites volunteers are a variety of experienced writers, including professors, tutors, and other Eastern Michigan University faculty. Fleischer emphasizes, “[YpsiWrites] is open to all levels of writing, whether it’s someone struggling with a school paper, a beginner, a specific project, or whether you just want some general advice.”

Brothers and local authors Cleveland Jordan Shields (left) and Carson Jordan Shields (right) proudly display their work with their father, Cornelius Jordan Shields (center). Photo Credit: YpsiWrites.

Coming together

Blakeslee explains that YpsiWrites was founded with the local community in mind, “When we started [the program], we began working with librarians to see what some of the patrons needed,” she said. “We asked, ‘What are the kind of things you need help with?’ We are committed to helping the people in our particular community; we want to be flexible and responsive to their interests.”

The project is a culmination of the inclusive idea behind EMU’s Office of Campus and Community Writing, and partnerships with area organizations like 826michigan, a non-profit writing center based in Ann Arbor. While 826michigan helps coordinate writing programs for young children, YpsiWrites is geared toward teens and adults.

Offering drop-in hours and scheduled programming (posted at ypsilibrary.org), upcoming workshops include sessions on poetry, zine-making, and family writing labs. Volunteers receive training, preparing them to help anyone.

Blakeslee says. “This is a supportive space [ . . . . ] we support people writing for a particular purpose. . ., but also writing for themselves.”

YpsiWrites is available at all YDL branches. Interested volunteers visit emich.edu/ccw/ypsi-writes.
Drop-in hours:
Whittaker Rd. 12-2pm; Superior Township, Tuesdays 11am-1pm; Michigan Ave., Wednesdays, 5-7pm.
734-482-4110 | ypsilibrary.org

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