Time to Celebrate the Week with Ruth Ayers. Thank you Ruth for this weekly space. It centers me around what is and was good; pulls me towards the growth of good; pushes me to capitalize on strength. Find more celebration posts here.
One: An email from our son. Love his words.
Greetings from Morocco!
Just kidding. Hello from San Sebastian! The water is incredibly clear here, the beaches beautiful, the Basque countryside a natural wonder, the tapas a culinary adventure. . There’s always something just over the horizon, ready to unveil itself. I also bought The Great Gatsby in Paris and fell back in love with the story and the writing. I’ve already read it twice, going on a third.
Two: A wonderful dinner with Elsie (aka Leann Carpenter). Lovely Leann who so graciously invited me to meet her for dinner and then waited too long for me to get through Los Angeles traffic. It was a beautiful California summer night as you can see. It’s so fun to meet a fellow blogger in the flesh. We know so much about each other based on written words. To be able to hear those words and share a meal is a such a treat. Wonderful to be with you Leann, I owe you one!
Three: Brown Girl Dreaming showed up on my doorstep. I ordered it in June, after I heard Jacqueline Woodson speak at TCRWP’s Summer Reading Institute and it does not disappoint. It is quite simply, beautiful. Each chapter is a masterpiece that can stand on its own. I am half way through, the pages fly by, and I keep circling back to savor certain parts.
Below are a few excerpts that hit me; made me think of my current students and of the many students who have read and struggled to read in my classroom.
Woodson is a born storyteller and her love affair with words is clear, but reading words was a struggle as a child. Living in the academic shadow of her gifted older sister, this passage from “Gifted” pulls at my heart.
She is gifted
we are told.
And I imagine presents surrounding her.
I am not gifted. When I read, the words twist
twirl across the page.
When they settle it’s too late.
The class has moved on
I want to catch words one day. I want to hold them
then blow gently,
watch them float
right out of my hands.
Reading is such an amazing and personal process. Those who “get it,” like Jacqueline’s sister, seem to have a magical gift that is elusive for those who come to reading in a different way and on a different time table. Such a reminder to honor and wait for readers like Jacqueline; making sure we don’t leave them behind.
And this excerpt from “Believing” reminds me to understand and give some room for writers whose personal narratives seems a little less than true.
It’s hard to understand
the way my brain works–so different
from everybody around me.
How each story
I’m told becomes a thing
in some other way
This from “Composition Notebook” made the composition notebook buyer in me smile and reminds me to look for those gifts in my students I “can’t begin to understand.”
Four: Students writing whatever they want for 15 minutes every morning. Friday, I walked around the classroom surveying what they were writing about. I found:
- four in the moment observing the goings on in the classroom.
- one was a stream of thought,
- one all about what he was good at,
- three continued their work from the day before,
- one fairy tale,
- one informational writing on rubber (yes, rubber),
- one was a reflection on lying,
- nine personal narratives,
- one all about dogs,
- two I don’t know what to write/have much to say writing,
- one writing about “Brave” by Sara Bareilles,
- one wondering about what would happen today.
- two theme park narratives,
- two what I’m going to do this weekend
I want to celebrate the diversity of writing. The choices that were made freely and without prompting. The fact that some didn’t know what to write, but wrote anyway. I want to celebrate the beginnings of a writerly life.
Five: Finally, a link to the most recent On Being blog and podcast that features Marie Howe, the state poet of New York. I listened to the podcast today and find her and her views of our world stunningly down to earth and necessary. One big aha was how “doing” in our current world is dominated by language, and hence the importance and power in it. Click on the link above and enjoy her poetry, storytelling and thinking on language, happiness, being present, and family,
Happy long weekend to you all.