Spring came to Rostov, burning hearts with a verb and plaguing thousands of tons of verbal ore, because on March 1, the Public Library hosted a regional competition for young journalists, publicists and writers "First Line". We decided to find out what talented and young people are writing about today, and how different they are from us. Svetlana Lomakina, a correspondent of AiF-Rostov, attended the competition as a member of the jury.
A bit of lyrics and background
While getting to the competition, I remembered my youthful experience of participating in a literary competition. It was 1994. I drove to Odessa from our village in a rusty military vehicle. Then, in the closet of some DK, I read my poems to “elderly women” of about forty. I was given a diploma typed on a typewriter - II place in the competition "Your talents, Ukraine!" and "Kobzar" by Taras Shevchenko. I stood on wadded feet, crumpled my blouse with a frill and wondered how, after the collapse of the confession, how to live on?
And now I am almost forty and for the first time I "judge". And not just anywhere, but in the Public Library, filled to capacity with the same as I once were, young and nervous. Now they are dressed in stretched sweaters and jeans, the girls do not wear dye much, and the boys wear out their hair and get tattoos. Funny, free.
"Are you worried?" - I asked two girls.
"Yes and no. Well, we will not win here, we will google other contests … ".
Today, talented children have much wider opportunities. However, there are no analogues to the First Line in Rostov. This competition was invented by philologist, SFedU teacher Kira Druzhinina, journalist, editor-in-chief of FM-on-Don radio Anastasia Chelokyan and Elena Pomazanova, at that time a specialist of the organization “Commonwealth of Children and Youth of the Don”.
“Every time we met just like that, our conversation sooner or later boiled down to what would be so interesting to do for children. One fine evening we came up with a competition. A competition in which there is only an author and a text,”says Kira Druzhinina. The main organizational work is carried out by the "Commonwealth of Children and Youth of the Don", the jury is formed by the Institute of Philology, Journalism and Intercultural Communication of the SFedU. The public library provides premises, and the prizes are “Read the City”. This year the competition was held for the fourth time.
Writers, bloggers, journalists and, of course, teachers were invited to the jury. From the first year, the best works have been checked by the laureate of the Russian Booker Denis Gutsko, and this year copywriter, screenwriter, branding expert Galina Vysotskaya joined the Areopagus. Natalya Archipenko, Director of the Institute of Journalism and Philology of the SFedU, became the chairman of the jury for the fourth time.
"How to Make Mom Laugh" and a Little Bit of Philosophy
The main principle of "First Line" is accessibility.
In the cities and towns of the Rostov region, the organizers send out a creative questionnaire with questions, to which the participants must answer in a detailed and interesting way. For example, talk about your perfect morning, a vision of happiness, or answer about how to make your mom laugh. And this is what our children write:
“My mom is a serious person, but I know how to make her laugh. It is necessary to take a sheet of paper, sit closer to her and start drawing a "family of funny freaks", along the way coming up with funny incidents that constantly happen to them. After a while, my mother, forgetting about her bad mood, will join me and with enthusiasm will begin to compose new hilarious stories."
“At that moment, when mamma reproaches for a wrong act, tell her:“Of course, mamma, I know that the young lady acted very imprudently, it is not appropriate for the daughter of such a beautiful woman to behave villainously, but be sure, mamma, that this matter the end is coming soon. May all bad habits be corrected."
So, the best writers are divided into two age groups - 13-15 years old and 16-18 years old. Each group is presented with a list of ten topics. In the "jury room" we set up a small sweepstakes (bets were made with cookies) on topics that the children would choose.For example, we liked: “Experience is the son of difficult mistakes”, “Never say never” and “Alt-contral-delay”. But the children chose something else: "Be yourself or change?", "You are my hero", "Music in my head", "My best dream" and "I love you."
Kira Druzhinina: At this age, philosophical topics are popular, which is quite natural. On the eve of the very first "First Line" in Rostov, a plane crashed, and there was a lot of writing about the war. One of these works took a special nomination. Among the winners was a boy who, together with his parents, escaped from the shelling in Donetsk, he described his story. Two years ago, there were many works about how fathers leave families. Then we suggested the topic "Conversation with the father." And we were amazed by the work of a girl from a boarding school for children with mental disabilities. The theme sounded like this: "My blue (red, green, etc.) feeling." She chose My Yellow Feeling. The work was so talented that the writer Denis Gutsko offered to provide patronage to the author. But the girl dreams of becoming a chemist, this is how it happens …
Svetlana Lomakina, AiF-Rostov: And what does participation in the competition give the winners?
- Another star for shoulder straps, besides, our difference from other competitions is that the winner can go on stage and read his work. We would like the results of the "first line" to be taken into account in admission, but for this the competition must be "experienced". I think we have everything ahead.
Is the ego good?
Volunteers brought the first batch of works. Galina Vysotskaya and I got "kids" - texts by 13-15 year olds, teachers - "adults" - 16-18 years old. "Little kids" wrote mainly about music and about themselves. I was struck by the abundance of essays in which children admit that they go to many circles, because it is necessary, parents orientate towards victory: you are the best, you must. Someone wrote about this with internal resistance: it seems that I want to be an artist, but my parents think that I should go to programmers. And someone was quite pleased with this turn of fate: "my childhood became special, because it was then that I realized that my work in life is to create …"
The guys were very worried about the topic of individuality. In each work with the title “To be or to seem”, the question arose that one cannot be like others. Children wrote about "zest", "tricks" and ways of manifesting individuality, the main of which is creativity. But I was also surprised by the abundance of egocentric works, where "I" was elevated to a cult.
- Does it seem to me or is it so?
- No, it doesn't seem. But a lot depends on the school. We recently recorded the TV program "Gramoteyka", where children had to introduce themselves. In one school, everyone was “yaky”, and in another, the children, without saying a word, talked about each other. Today, when children are not talking about themselves, it already seems unusual. But we ourselves gave them such a platform: we teach them to present themselves, to declare their I. And often it is reborn in such a strange form.
On anorexia and unrequited love
However, I saw the pluses in these compositions. For example, the courage with which children talked about their concerns. One work evoked an emotional response from all members of the jury. In it, the author told the story of a friend who died of anorexia. Reading this text, a disturbing feeling arose: on the one hand, they talk a lot about the problem and the symptomatology for the description could be recognized anywhere, but on the other hand, they did not let go of the thought that the narrator was too "in the subject." And we tracked down the author. She turned out to be a girl of 14 years old. As I expected, she knows about the problem of anorexia from personal experience - she tried to starve in order to lose weight. Fortunately, my mother and friends came to the rescue, the situation leveled off.
“But I took up this topic not only because of myself, but because in my environment there are a lot of those guys who are losing weight who hide this problem. I wanted people to know about it …"
What else did our children write about? They talked about unrequited love, talked about cynicism and human capabilities, joked and imitated adult bestselling authors.
It was very difficult to check the works: there was no absolutely perfect text this year. Therefore, we argued a lot, and in the end we distributed the places as follows: Ksenia Fomina from Taganrog took the first step in the junior group. She wrote a wonderful lyrical sketch about summer and childhood. And the first place among adults was taken by Polina Bykova from the city of Gukovo, who wrote about "the most stupid feeling - to love when you are not loved." In general, 18 children received awards and diplomas - one fifth of all finalists. In my opinion, in order to believe in yourself, it's very good …