Saturday, October 28, 2006

Learning Letter

Dear Everyone,

I learned that food is always important, and I learned that I know some of the best teachers around. I just can't get over how productive the night and day felt. So much thinking and discussion occurred, and I felt like it sparked ideas and ignited a writing fire under our hands and minds. (I'm not very good with metaphors). We've had several writing project get-to-gethers down here, and each time it takes about five minutes for the group to feel like family. I learned a lot from Laura this weekend. She did such a fabulous job organizing the food, schedule, materials, and computers. Because of Laura we had everything we needed to do the writing we needed to do.

I'm sure you all felt as I did that it was nice not to have to make decisions. The most important thing was to talk and write about teaching, and it was energizing. Kelly's word last night was "un-isolated," and I bet that speaks for a lot of us. I feel that warm companionship and bonding of being in the trenches as we try to type out our thoughts that deserve to be heard.

Several times I wondered why I don't give myself time like this. I hope this becomes an annual event. Of course, you are all invited back. I hope you bring some new friends. Thanks so much for being here. I hope this feels like the kick-off to our small writing groups that will meet throughout the year. Think about a writing goal--maybe by May we can all have a piece of writing ready to send out.

I feel tired, happy, and satisfied. It was such a good weekend. Sometimes I find myself looking to the next thing and watching th clock. I never felt that way once. Barb's word was "gift," and it feels like a gift to know and learn from such wonderful people.

Thank you again for your commitment to writing.


NWP Fall Professional Writing Retreat 2006

It is a beautiful day--great people, the sound of keys clicking productively, pages turning, autumn leaves, and a lakeside view.

This blog hasn't been touched since early last summer. But I wanted to invite you all to post your writing here. When you post, I'll get an email notification. I can send an email out to everyone to take a look and comment if they have time. If you don't want to share your writing, you can share how your process is going. Are you writing once a week--at least putting a few words down? What's going on in your classes (leave out real names and school names, please)? We'll just see how we can use the blog. Don't feel burdened by the blog or feel like you have to post. It's just a place that we can meet each other to support our writing as we work toward publication.

I think we should all write one book about our writiing retreat experiences, especially after we all get published!

Monday, July 03, 2006

First Days Are Funny Things

Nerves strike me on first days. First day of school. First day out of school. First day to meet new people. We met in May at Plaster Student Union. This was the first day of our second open summer institute. Larry, Dawndy, Kristal, Stacy, Gail, Joe, Carolyn, and I met that evening. I kept making Joe run downstairs to check on the pizza, and I began by explaining a little bit about what the National Writing Project is. I put the books Because Writing Matters and Breakthroughs at everyone's seat, and we went over the syllabus and schedule. Both of these are overwhelming, and I worry about that.

We ended the night with a writing. I handed out photocopied chapters from The Observation Deck. The chapters are short. I spread the chapters out like a hand of cards and each person chose one. The assignment was to read and then write using the prompt at the end. We wrote for ten minutes and then stood up to share. I partnered with Dawndy and Kashia. I couldn't believe what I heard! Dawndy wrote a piece about her tapping fingers, a metaphor for the ending of a relationship. Everyone talked and read. Then we sat down and shared ideas for demonstrations.