Did you ever walk into a meeting or workshop and within minutes feel as though you were “home”?
That’s how I felt this morning when I attended a Continuity session in West Chester, hosted by Pennsylvania Literacy and Writing Project. It had been several years since connected with this group of teacher/writers. Shame on me for waiting so long.
When I arrived, about twenty folks were seated around a large table quietly writing. After a few minutes, everyone was given the opportunity to share if they chose to do so. One of the prompts related to books we had recently read. The participants threw out the names of so many wonderful books that I had trouble jotting down all the titles. One woman, a published author, passed around three incredible picture books. No need to wonder what I’m going to give my grandkids for their spring birthdays or what I’m going to read aloud to my students this week. Pink is for Blobfish, Good Morning, Yoga, and Finding Winnie are the names of these picture books if you want to check them out for yourselves. But the best was yet to come…
The facilitators asked if anyone had brought something to share. I spent the next hour immersed in listening and learning. One teacher mentioned the podcasts he is doing for/with his students. I can’t wait to check them out. Another woman explained a dilemma regarding assessment. All of us participated in assessing a piece of writing created by a first grade student. It was amazing to see twenty-some people agree on where this child’s piece fell on the writing rubric. I believe this lady received the support she needs. Finally, a mother with one grown son, shared the exquisite narrative, told in verse, of her twenty-three year old son’s move to Japan. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place. This poem was beautifully crafted and I know the author walked away bolstered not only by the emotional response, but also by the varied suggestions that will put her on the path to publication.
As a writer (and I feel I can legitimately use that term) I often have the sense that others don’t quite get it when I share my work or speak of my passion. Most of the time, that’s not a problem. I keep much to myself because I know it’s difficult to understand how exciting and surprising it can be to craft thoughts, ideas, feelings into a cohesive whole. Participating in this group today was like coming home. I felt connected, understood, in sync with everyone, even though I knew very few of the people personally. With a grateful heart, I thank these teacher/writers as well as all of the people participating in this Slice of Life challenge. Writing is a solitary activity. Writers are often filled with doubt, fear, vulnerability. But the destination is possible if there are fellow travelers along the way to teach, encourage, and applaud. Thank you, fellow travelers!