Little Lola is enrolled in another session of the 826 Valencia St. youth newspaper. On the way over to her first meeting, we discussed what she might write about, and her thinking seemed to be to cover "hugs: heartfelt or horrible?"
Lolz was very tense about getting to 826 on time and kept ostentatiously checking her watch. We had actually arrived very early and I took her to a nearby art gallery to kill time while enjoying art, but Lolz's mind was on nothing but punctuality and 826. "You promise not to make me late?" she hissed at me.
I gave up and took Lola over early. "Welcome back," said the hipster at the desk to Lola.
"Lola!" said the hipster behind the chain which keeps out hoi polloi like me while admitting the elite, such as Lola. "We missed you last time! How was your break?"
A few hours later I returned. Lola told me that she had decided to write about "different kinds of popular music."
"Kids always write about music," I said. "I thought hugs was a good topic."
Lolz got a bit haughty. "As far as I could tell, no other kids were writing about music. And the tutors, they don't know about music, different genres and things. So it's educational." Lolz continued in that vein for a bit, explaining how she could enlighten these poor, ignorant tutors about popular music.
I let the subject drop, but I was secretly amused. These hipsters who help the kids write look like they are straight outta Coachella, but yet their musical ignorance appalls little Lola, who views it as her responsibility to educate them.
I'm an 826 volunteer, and I'm 44, and decidedly not a hipster! Many of the tutors are SF State students in teacher training programs, so they do seem a bit young, but once you talk to them for a while, they're just nerdy book-readers hiding behind their skinny jeans and big scarves, and they care deeply about the 826 kids and what they're learning.
I certainly didn't mean to diss the volunteers by calling them hipsters. I only mean to point out that I think they probably know PLENTY about music.
We loves us 826; both my daughters have done a lot of great workshops there. I love how 826 treats each and every kid as though they are a great and gifted writer, and of course when they are treated that way, they ARE a great and gifted writer.
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