Saturday, March 31, 2012

Last Day Reflection

Sometimes live gives you just the nudge you need.  Several months ago I was sitting at the kitchen table with my parents.  My father has been showing true signs of memory loss and yet with such clarity he looks right at me, rather through me, and says, "I've been thinking, why aren't you writing anymore?"  As that was playing and replaying in my mind I discover the Slice of Life March Challenge.  I am sure I didn't really understand it at all, however it meant writing each day, just what my father ordered!

I was ready to jump in but I did not have a blog, I had no idea how to set-up a blog. But I dug in with the help of dedicated friends. Not only did these friends help me set-up, they also checked in and left encouraging comments along the way.  Thank you dear friends.

Through this I have learned a lot about myself as a writer. I remembered writing isn’t easy. I have discovered that narrative is kind of tricky for me. I feel all telly and preachy, not storyteller like at all. Also, writing takes time; I learned this lesson long ago, when I took a class with the now late Virginia Hamilton  author of so many eloquent novels for children. She once wrote on one of my rushed papers – “give your writing the time it deserves.” Those words both stung and encouraged. They stung because they were so true – I had indeed rushed the piece. (I rushed plenty of pieces this month too.  Some lessons are hard to learn!)  But her words also encouraged as I realized that my writing did indeed deserve time. Everyone’s writing does. I think that those participating in this challenge are thinking just that as they interact with kids.  Kids deserve the time to write and all the nourishing of writing that goes with that time. I have now asked myself, why if I think that all kids deserve the time to write and I believe that we all do, then why had I let my writing go? Many believe that if you do something for 21 days it becomes a habit. I think the habit is not as important as the need and the desire. I am counting on my need and desire to push me forward to continue writing.

I have learned to love falling asleep with my laptop!

I learned that I should have listened to my friend when she said write several slices during the early part of the month so that you are ready on the hard writing days…
There is real joy of spending time reading others' slices.
As one friend said the community holds you up and gives you the strength to write again. I feel like I have made new friends just from the glimpses into their life.
Like so many have said, participating in this makes you so aware of stories everywhere. You are keenly listening and looking. I think I’ll be better at capturing lists of ideas and thoughts because of this month. Just as in conversations, one story slice leads to another, whether it is a story from another participant or from one of my own.

I have a need to say thank you to Ruth and Stacey for their time in hosting this event. Only teachers with such passion for writing would do this for so many of us. Sincerely, thank you. Also, thank you to all of you for writing. I have loved reading your slices, getting a glimpse into your live, your classroom. Thank you SOL for bringing me even closer to people I already adore. Thank you to my friends who held my hand and gently taught and retaught me. 

Finally, I think these words from Little Bee describe the story telling we have experienced this month:
...I had started my story it wanted to be finished
We cannot choose where to start and stop. Our stories are the tellers of us.


  1. True we have given writing the time it deserves, and I'm okay that not all of my writing is good. I have loved sharing humanity with other teacher writers. I'm glad your dad's nudge did magic. I love that story because I miss my dad's nudges. Relish all the moments, the good and the bad....

  2. It comes as no surprise to me that you and I had similar ideas about how to end this challenge -- with our learning and our gratitude. I have loved being in your writing community, Josie. It has been such a gift. And for what it's worth, I never thought you sounded preachy... :)

  3. Great quote to end with! Turned out to be a great book, didn't it?!?!