by ANNETTE VAN DE KAMP-WRIGHT
Jewish Press Editor
Good writers are not born; they are slow-cooked. They narrate their days inside their heads and make sense of the world by putting it into words. They see stories everywhere they look, imagine cause and consequence and practice their craft, often long before they realize what they are getting ready for. If you know a writer, you should remember: when they seem distracted, it’s not because they are spacing off. They are simply spinning a yarn inside their minds.

At the Jewish Press, we are interested in writers, naturally, and we would like to expand. Since, as a community, we like to see our youth take an active role, it only makes sense to create opportunities for young people to be heard. We know you are out there: the under 25 crowd, we know you are interested in what happens in the world, we know you watch the news and read newspapers—never mind the nay-sayers who claim today’s youth are too self absorbed to care. We know that is not the case, and thanks to a very generous and anonymous donor, we’re ready to put our money where our mouth is.

If you are a Jewish teen or young adult, under 25, if you feel you have something to say, if you are willing to share it on the pages of this paper and would like to make a little money at the same time, please contact us. We are actively looking for writers who want to be featured in our new Emerging Voices column, so why not you?
You can write about politics (plenty of juice, with the primaries under way) or you can write about what’s happening in your high school or college. Maybe you are into sports, or music, or you have a real passion for working with the homeless. Maybe you are a poet, a budding engineer, a gardener or a member of the Gay-Straight Alliance. Maybe you are pretty decent photographer and you’d like to show off your work. Writing about all of that and more is possible, and we would love to be a part of it.

We realize putting yourself out there can be scary. During a time when everybody is online, and we don’t think twice about Instagramming everything we do, printing something that’s close to our hearts in an actual newspaper can still seem intimidating. Plus, your parents and grandparents will read it. What if they don’t agree with what you write?

It’s a valid question, and it can be a real stumbling block to your creative expression, so let me put your mind at ease. First of all, your grandparents will always love everything you do. That’s their job. As for your parents, it’s really not that easy to surprise them. Chances are, they already know what you are going to say. Furthermore, my own teenager sometimes accuses me of interrupting her when she talks. When you are writing, that can’t happen. It’s just you and the page. At last, an opportunity to speak your mind without anyone interfering. How cool is that?

Finally, nothing stops you from trying. If what ultimately shows up on your screen is something you are not willing to share with the outside world, you simply don’t submit it. You just open a new document and try again. That’s what creating is all about.

I’m the mother of a 14-year-old, so don’t tell me you don’t have something important to say. The question is, will you share it? If you decide that this is something you are interested in, email us at avandekamp@jewishomaha.org. Text us. Find us on Facebook. Drop by the Press office and come introduce yourself—we won’t stand on protocol. We can’t wait to meet you!