Kids in Orange: Voices from Juvenile Detention is now available in both print and ebook.
Barnes and Noble
Blurb: The gang leader doesn’t like poetry, but will a detention center workshop show her how to express love for her newborn daughter? A teen boy dies of a drug overdose. Will his final poem speak what he cannot say?
In the middle of a career change from teacher to writer, Mindy Hardwick volunteered to facilitate a weekly poetry workshop at a juvenile detention center. By helping the teens write poetry about their lives, Mindy discovered strength and courage to grieve the loss of her father, find forgiveness and release the past.
A portion of the proceeds from this book will be used as a grant to hire writers to work with teens at Denney Juvenile Justice Center.
Writing the book was a ten-year process including seven years of running the workshop with the kids. For the last three years during March, I worked on the story, spreading the pages across my dining room table as I tried to make sense of a structure which included short vignettes, the teen’s poetry and my dad’s recipes from his blog. March in the Pacific NW is a hard month. The grey rainy days of winter linger and linger and it seems as though spring will never arrive.It always seemed like a good time to work on this book.
I knew the story would include three voices–mine, my Dad’s and the teens I had worked with, I just didn’t know how to weave it all together and it took a strenuous post graduate semester with Vermont College that involved more tears than I can count as well as my Dad dying at the end of that semester for it to finally come together.
Perhaps the hardest part for me to overcome in the telling was my own personal resistance to telling the truth. As a child and teenager so often I put on a smile and pretended nothing was wrong in a family that was exploding at the seams with alcoholism. Years and years later, I was shocked to find that defense mechanism blocking me at every turn when I sat down to write the story. It took the a very kind and patient critique from a dear friend and writer who asked me very gently but firmly to go just one layer more before I finally knew the story was finished.
During the month of February I taught an on-line class, Writing and Resistance: Overcoming the Obstacles to Our Success. As I taught the class, I was working through the edits and proof reading on the formatting of the manuscript. Due to the poems, recipes and short vignettes the format process was as challenging as writing the book had been and there were many times the file would come back and I would think let’s just stop. I can’t read this story one more time. Let’s just quit.
But I knew–keep going. Don’t give up. You’re almost there. Even on the day of release (today) when the book went up on Amazon and the Kindle edition didn’t link with the print and I had to contact Amazon and ask for it to be linked, that little voice said, Don’t give up. You’re almost there. You’re almost there.
And then the book posted and very appropriately it was March 1 and that story is no longer on my dining room table and there is a part of me that feels like I did when my Dad died, as if something inside of me has suddenly been released and the voices of my dad, the kids in detention, and myself is finally free.