I remember being intimidated by him at first. His skull rings made his hands look threatening. But his eyes were aquatic and as blue as the waves I had never been able to swim out of during lucky visits to the beach. So whenever he asked me to share my piece in his Poetry Writer’s Workshop class in fifth through eighth grade, all I had to do was glance into the ocean within his eyes to feel comfortable.
No one has ever made me feel I had potential like Mr. Veve did. He encouraged me to write down all of my experiences, all of my words and thoughts, and I did. By listening rather than simply hearing me during read-aloud sessions, Mr. Veve made me believe that my thoughts and experiences had significance because of the way I revealed them. Mr.Veve commented on my use of language, hidden meaning, literary devices, even line placement, and made me understand how impactful writing beyond the words could be. He taught me to not only use writing as a fantastical escape from realism but a tease that could attract much attention with little description.
Mr. Veve is the sole reason I started writing Purple, a realistic fiction novel about child perception within a domestic situation that I began writing in November of 2016 and now available on Amazon. Under my middle school teacher’s influence, I have been writing since fifth grade, constantly creating pieces with meaning and intentions not fully stated to allow the audience to self-interpret. As Mr. Veve made me realize, “spoon-feeding” readers (providing them with thorough explanations and complete reasoning) in all types of writing, not just poetry, only limits their imagination. Purple was written to leave readers with the feeling of wanting to know more and the ability to envision and reflect on what is not clearly stated.
Additionally, the novel was written to fulfill my own fascination with perception developed during childhood, as well as raise money for the non-profit organization Delivering Good (previously known as K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers) that will then be donated to Children of Promise, NYC. As the description of my work reveals on Amazon’s website under the search “Purple Sydnie Kupferberg”, CPNYC is the first and only after-school program and summer day camp designed to provide for and broaden the opportunities for children neglected as a result of parental incarceration. By giving eighty percent of income made from purchases of my novel to Delivering Good, my profit will be matched ten to one. Ten times the amount of profit I provide to Delivering Good will be donated in the form of brand new product, including apparel, toys, art supplies, and books, to CPNYC. I specifically choose to donate to Children of Promise because I believe no person can be forgotten, and the main character of my novel struggles with feelings of insecurity and neglect that I can only imagine the children of CPNYC endure.
Writing Purple was a challenge, but never a process that I preferred above all else. Junior year of high school is known as one of the most stressful of one’s academic career, as it is marked as the ten-month time period designated for rigorous coursework and dedication, and for “saving the world”, all for the purpose of standing out to all colleges and universities by creating the most remarkable achievements that many of us tragically do not have time to create within ten months.
I was told by fellow seniors at the beginning of this year that junior year was going to be “the worst year” of my life, and it easily could have been. The stress and anxiety could have become inevitable, but I never let competition and coursework undermine my determination to write and my passion for realistic fiction. Since I discovered the significance of writing within Mr. Veve’s fifth-grade Writer’s Workshop, writing has become a haven for me. It is a power unlike anything else in that it allows me to escape my reality, and create an entirely different story for myself, one defined by more than just grades and extracurricular. Writing Purple was an indulgence because doing so allowed me to do more than escape junior year difficulties. The writing process let me place myself, as the novel’s main character, in a situation mainly not relatable to my past experiences. Because of this, I have learned to better understand the conflicts, ranging from parental affairs to abuse, that other children endure. I am incredibly excited to have my book published, and I am now more assured than ever that motivation can push people like myself beyond our self-expectations.