In this slice, I reflect on this thirty-one day challenge by harkening back to the unknowing mentors who have guided and informed my writing practice.
Like many new slicers, I can’t believe I actually completed this challenge. As I face my final day, I am humbled by the moment. When I started the month, I made a list of potential topics. As I checked off those items, I mined my notebooks for inspiration and also tried techniques from other slicers. One quote that caught my eye for this culminating post is from Lucy Calkins, shared during one of the summer institutes. She asked us, “Can you feel yourself changing as a writer?” That got me thinking back with a wider lens on how my writing life has evolved.
Prior to my teaching life, I’d always been an avid reader and writer. When my children were very young, I’d wake up at 4:30, grab my journal alongside a cup of coffee, and head outside my front door to my writing corner on the porch. Two wicker chairs and a small glass top table became my sacred space. Whether it was my path toward Simple Abundance, The Artist’s Way, The Purpose Driven Life, or nature’s bountiful gifts – writing was my refuge. There I mused, responded and explored my hidden fears and truths. In many ways, it became my religion. My reading choices reflected a similar path – all culminating with my decision to answer the call to teach. Who knew I could get paid for spending a life immersed in reading and writing!
When I switched careers from business into teaching, I was fortunate to have a professor who lived in Manhattan, and who had her eyes and ears on the Teachers College Writing Project. Lucy, Nancie, Ralph, and Carl were all required reading, and Heinemann was our go-to source for all things literacy. Therefore, when I began teaching, I only had the workshop model as my frame of reference – lucky me!
Three years into teaching, I attended my first summer institute in 2008. Since then, my writing life has expanded along with my mentors. Mary Ehrenworth and Colleen Cruz became my first choices at subsequent summer institutes. I have notebooks filled with their wisdom, which I regularly visit for inspiration. In that caliber of people, I’ve been blessed to add Katherine Bomer, Amy Ludwig Vanderwater, and Vicki Vinton to my growing list of writing teachers. My heart is full and I am grateful for their commitment and steadfast beliefs in honoring the art and craft of writing.
Reflecting back on that section with Lucy, she was discussing the power of conferring, and noted the importance of remaining present, in order to “be at the boundary” of a child’s readiness. Today, I am feeling like that child – on the brink of something new. Although I created this blog two years ago, I only posted twice even though I had eleven unfinished drafts in cue. The habit of writing every day has provided me with a renewed sense of joy anticipating what might come next. Suddenly, posting a Slice of Life every week, no longer feels daunting. I not only want to participate, but I need to participate.
To have the support of an entire community within the guidance and framework of the Two Writing Teachers, is truly a gift. I am at a loss for words to effectively communicate how this challenge has empowered me. Thank you for encouraging me on this journey into writing.