Ohio’s Original Interscholastic Creative Writing Program for Middle Schools

In Memory of Lorraine B. Merrill

It is with deep sadness that we announce that our founder, Lorraine B. Merrill, passed away November 22, 2020. When it came to writing, Lorraine possessed a natural talent propelled by a driving passion. It was this, coupled with her love of teaching, that led to the creation of Power of the Pen, a program that has impacted hundreds of thousands of young writers for over 30 years. We extend our condolences to the family and will miss Lorraine deeply.

An endowment fund has been established in memory of Frank and Lorraine Merrill to support young writers participating in Power of the Pen. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the Power of the Pen Founders’ Award at the Springfield Foundation at 333 N Limestone Street, Suite 201, Springfield, Ohio 45503.

Lorraine's heartfelt message below to Power of the Pen writers exemplifies her passion for nurturing the talents of young authors throughout Ohio. 

Dear Writers,

I wish I could give you something. The way you have given me so much pleasure over the years with your own words, shaped into stories that make me laugh. Or think. Or feel.

The wisdom in you is old beyond your years.

The child in you is still very much alive.

I wish I could give you something. Some words you can store away in your heart and revisit from time to time. Words that will help you steer your wondrous adventure through life.

Every writer should make friends with a poet. So I shall share with you a poem by Mary Oliver. She is a poet worth befriending.

~ Your friend, Lorraine Merrill
Founder, Power of the Pen

Like Magellan, let us find our islands
To die in, far from home, from anywhere
Familiar. Let us risk the wildest places,
Lest we go down in comfort, and despair.

For years we have labored over common roads,
Dreaming of ships that sail into the night.
Let us be heroes, or, if that’s not in us,
Let us find men to follow, honor-bright.

For what is life but reaching for an answer?
And what is death but a refusal to grow?
Magellan had a dream he had to follow.
The sea was big, his ships were awkward, slow.

And when the fever would not set him free,
To his thin crew, “Sail on, sail on!” he cried.
And so they did, carried the frail dream homeward
And thus Magellan lives, although he died.

~ Mary Oliver

Power of the Pen
PO Box 2640  |  North Canton, Ohio 44720

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