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.