50 Reasons We Love Portland, Down East
Number 30. In the Telling Room, there are always new stories being told...
"A new style of learning, championed by author Paul Tough, is being applied in Portland's public schools and in the creative writing programs offered at The Telling Room."
"The myth may have toppled, but when you see Emmanuel surveying all of Portland from the North Street park overlook, smiling with the sun on his face, you know a different dream is being built."
"I thought I never could tell this story. But I am proud I did this. I hope my grandmother will be able to see what I did for her."
"At this writing center founded by a trio of journalists, youth are using storytelling to help boost literacy and self-confidence."
"Standing firm behind their belief that writing should be fun, the Telling Room encourages young people to tell their stories with games and field trips designed to awaken the writers within each of the kids lucky enough to participate."
"I was in awe. I'd never seen children so excited about writing....Here, pride in writing and confidence in storytelling is cultivated. The Telling Room fosters free thought within programs that develop good writing skills—pre-writing to get the juices flowing, reminders to use all the senses for inspiration, note-taking and writing while experience is fresh. (The public school systems might learn a thing or two from the Telling Room!) I couldn't be more excited about this organization and its benefit to children in the community."
Refugees' Stories Rivet Students, Portland Press Herald
"Your story was very eye-opening to the troubles that our world goes through. I am just awed. I've read stories similar to this kind of thing, but then reading it firsthand from your point of view. Wow." — Lexi Pelletier, 15, on the writing of Aruna Kenyi, 18
Writer George Saunders, on his Amazon Blog
"I recently had the pleasure of doing a reading in Portland, Maine. In addition to the fact that it was one of the most responsive and intelligent crowds imaginable, and the reading was held in a truly beautiful space (called, I believe, The Space) there was another great pleasure associated with my visit. That afternoon I had the chance to talk to some wonderful high-school-age writers at a place called The Telling Room..."
I'm Done Killing Hyenas, Portland Phoenix
"(Telling Room student authors) illuminate the world inhabited by so many people who have found new homes in Portland—and across Maine—often seeking better living conditions, and freedom from fear of attack, but arriving to find new fears, and old ones, still arising."
Stories to Tell, Portland Press Herald
"Through his writing, (Telling Room writer Hassan) Jeylani said he found that his Muslim religion has played a constant role no matter where he has lived. He said his story pushed him to rededicate himself to his faith as a way of centering his life.
"Kenyi, 17, said he was satisfied with his first attempt at writing, but found more inspiration after hearing the story of Valentino Achak Deng, who visited Portland in February with author Dave Eggers. The two collaborated on What Is the What, a book based on Deng's life. Since then Kenyi has started writing his complete story.
"Aqila Sharafyar said she was excited about the idea of writing and knew she had to write about her father. He loved doves and spent hours with the birds, feeding and talking to them in a small house next to the family home in Kabul, Afghanistan. The 17-year-old Deering High School student said she wanted to tell her story to give others a sense of the security that comes with living in the United States. 'It's exciting to write about this because I want to share my story with people,' she said."
Eye for Little Stories, Portland Press Herald-Maine Sunday Telegram
(Question: 'What's the secret to good writing?' Telling Room Guest Writer Susan Orlean answers) "With kids, I just try to encourage them to enjoy it; that's such a huge part of the battle. A lot of kids sort of dread writing and look at it as a burden. I try to get them to think of the possibilities.”
Helping Kids 2 Go Tell It in Portland, Portland Phoenix
"Recently, Jonathan Lethem, recipient of the ultra-prestigious MacArthur Genius Grant, came to SPACE for a reading. Beforehand, he met with a group of Portland-area students to discuss what he does all day. Lucky them, right? Well, it wasn't just luck. It was the work of the Telling Room, a grassroots organization of local writers intent on getting kids geeked-up about their craft."
"'We're big believers in the power of storytelling,' says (Telling Room co-founder Michael) Paterniti. 'If you tell me your story, and I tell you mine, we've already reached a higher level of intimacy in 10 minutes than we have with most people we meet on a daily basis'."