The Worst That Can Happen Is...
Life@GWN with Jada Fitzpatrick
Welcome to the next edition of Life@GWN. This week we feature poet, animal lover, and Girls Write Now mentee alum Jada Fitzpatrick. Once again, one of our own tells their story in their words.
...has been adventure-filled. As a poetry mentee between 2014-’16, I was excited and nervous about learning new forms. I quickly grew to love the fun workshop environment, along with end-of-year readings! Performing on stage was exhilarating, and I was grateful for the privilege to listen to fellow mentee’s hearts alongside mentors sharing their work. I also had cool opportunities; appearing on a morning news segment, Street Talk, with my mentor Linda and Girls Write Now founder and Executive Director Maya Nussbaum. Linda and I also got to share the stage, performing at the 2016 Girls Write Now awards!
People tell me that they don’t normally like or get poetry, but that they really like my poems. I pride myself on being authentic in my writing, so that means a lot to me. Authenticity for me means rejecting the highly cherished, conventional writing standards of the old white male pioneers in the field. And while their work was great, there’s room for innovation. I consider myself and my writing rebellious. I write for the people who can relate to that.
“What Do You Have to Lose?”
Pairing with Linda is one of the best things that’s happened to me. When I wasn’t at a Girls Write Now workshop, Linda and I sought out writing inspiration at art museums, tried out food in new restaurants followed by writing sessions, or rode the Cyclone and tried clams at Coney Island.
Linda continues to be a positive role model. We continue to face new challenges together and she’s helped me conquer my fears. She recently came to Connecticut to teach me how to drive! More than navigating confidently behind the wheel, Linda taught me,
“What do you have to lose? The worst that could happen is you get a no.”
With her encouragement, I applied and was accepted into the Princeton University Journalism program the summer before my senior year of high school. Her guidance informs my decisions to this day. You never know what opportunities you’ll run into, without taking a chance.
Linda’s advice has taught me to be fearless across many circumstances I’ve faced. In my junior year at Connecticut College, I wrote an open letter to an organization called the Women’s Empowerment Initiative. Formerly “The Vagina Monologues” the goal of the organization is to “perform a show that represents women and non-binary students across varying identities through unique, but unifying voices.” However, based on my own personal experience performing, as well as listening to concerns of other women of color, we felt there was a lot of tone policing for pieces submitted by people of color, and an overall lack of representation of certain, less “palatable” but very real experiences and voices. This was nerve-wracking because I’m naturally very reserved and stay to myself. However, I’m always willing to put myself out there to advocate. It was very well received and I’m glad I spoke up.
Movies, Holidays, and Well Made Cups of Coffee
Christmas is my favorite time of year, and Jim Carrey was absolutely MADE to play the Grinch who stole Christmas. Besides movies, I enjoy watching vet shows, and animal videos on TikTok. I own five pet rats, Gus Gus and Geronimo, and girls Missy, Raven, and Persimmon (Percy for short.) I feed them treats, play with them, and ride them on my shoulder as I walk around the house.
I only drink coffee or tea for practical reasons; coffee for a morning boost, tea when I’m sick. A well-made cup of coffee, however, can really change my day.
If you belong to the Girls Write Now community and have a story to share, please reach out to us at email@example.com.
Thank you for reading and supporting this Girls Write Now Life@GWN Blog post. To receive more posts like these, consider subscribing: