This morning I read Jess Lifshitz’s brilliant posts on the Dangers of a Single Story. I thought about the way others read stories, but I also thought about the stories we choose to give the world. The pieces of us that we share. Certain things for certain audiences.
There are layers of stories. Parts get left out, forgotten. Maybe this happens because they tell too much. Or maybe because they go unnoticed. Memories flit by and hide under things.
This morning the sun took me back and the feeling of summer washed over me. It was undeniable and the desire to go to the beach was intense. Still, I drove home. I tucked those thoughts away with like memories. Now, because of my wonderings and writing right now, I pulled out that morning moment and push myself to remember.
Kid play muffled by the surf is just enough to put us to sleep. For how long? I wonder. Long enought for the sun to leave patches of salt on our skin. Burned? I wonder. Standing, the breeze from the ocean hits and cools enough to wrap towels around us. Standing, just seconds on the hot hot sand is unbearable. Rubber zories come to the rescue, only to scrap the sand between toes and on the tops of feet as we walk. The straps pull and snap the backs up, kicking sand on our legs. Feet dig deep into the soft pack sand. At the base of the cliff, the ocean winds disappear, and we start to sweat. Finally, showers rinse and wash away irritants, leaving sandals that slip and squeal up the ramp.
A small slice of many summer days. A buried story. Unimportant? Maybe. But the process made me thnk about my students. And the stories they write.
Students write the same story every year. The rollercoaster story, the lost at a theme park story, the when I fell on my skateboard story. The story I tell my teachers during the personal narrative writing unit.
Every year they gather those same stories when they are asked to think of a time, a place, person, and write; gather; choose. Every year, the same one. They’re stuck. And I don’t blame them. Their little stories are buried. Deep under layers. They don’t even think of those moments as stories. So students tell their single story. The story they think they should tell. And that is dangerous.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life Tuesdays. This day makes me write. This day made me dig and remember a slice of summer. Find more slices here.