Slice of Life: Are you a writer?

“Are you a writer?”  said the man seated next to me. He was peering at my notebook.

“Oh, nooo! I’m just taking notes.”

I felt shame. Shame for being caught.

Yesterday as read comments on Jo Knowles’ blog, that ghost of shame revisited me. Writers participating in Kate Messner’s Teachers Write Summer Camp were offering their work, their story ideas, their writing that was in progress. I read and thought, Write like this? Oh nooo, not me.

No, I’m a teacher. I teach writing, so I’m learning about ways to teach writing. But, me, oh nooo. I don’t write.

That’s how I described myself to the man who sat next to me on the flight to New York.

I was too embarrassed to say, yes I write.

Whoa! What?!

I’m the one who tells students and colleagues that they NEED to write to understand who they are and what they’re thinking. Shame on me for not having the courage to say what I believe in about myself.

On Slice of Life Tuesdays and within the Slicer community, I write.  The evidence, acceptance, and the expectation is here. I’m not afraid or apologetic.

But when I venture outside of this space, into the world where everyday people go to work and do everyday things, I choke on those words.

When I construct my public persona, the one I tell my neighbor or any stranger, I might mention my occupation or my family status; I could easily continue by describing myself through my passions.  I’m a far cry from an Olympic athlete, but I can, without a moment’s hesitation say I run, or I swim. And I say this because I do it, regularly, five to six times a week.

Telling someone outside this community that I write doesn’t feel acceptable.  Perhaps because I haven’t done it long enough. Perhaps because it’s a thing that no one sees you do. Perhaps it’s a cultural thing.

Whatever the reason for my reluctance, it shows a lack of faith and belief in writing as plausible pursuit or passion. If I can’t admit that I write in the same way that I say I run, how can I convince others that writing is something one does or should do. Much like exercise, it’s good for you and at times, feels good.

When that man asked me if I was a writer, I was embarrassed and denied it. Now, I feel shame for what I didn’t say. He wasn’t making fun of me, he was just asking.

So, the next time someone asks, Are you a writer? I’ll say, Yes! And you?

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Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for the space to write and the community of support. For more slices click here.

Celebrate/#SOL15: Writing Connections

This post is for day 14 of the Slice of Life Story Challenge and a Celebrate This Week link up rolled into one.

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This week I celebrate celebrating. Celebrating is a mindset, a practice. It reorients me toward the positive. I need that. Thank you, Ruth.

I celebrate my friend Dayna who is now “addicted” to blogging. We sat after work. Dayna’s on her phone. I knew what she was doing. Blogging. I know how she feels. Find her lovely writing here.

I celebrate one hour of student blogging on Friday. I borrowed iPads from my colleague so that all of my kiddos could blog at the same time. They’ve been working on posts all week, but with only 15 minutes a day to blog, many were still in the drafting stage. The objective was to publish and then venture into other classroom blogs and comment.   Find their  slices here.  These tiny pieces of their lives give snapshots of them. Sometimes they surprise me.

I celebrate the WiFi. It worked. All students were capable of connecting, writing, and reading blogs.

I celebrate the ability to give immediate feedback to student writers. As they posted their slices, I could read; then pull up alongside them for an extensive complement and then a “teach” a “nudge” to something that could lift the level of their work.

I celebrate connections students made to other classrooms. The beauty of connecting to one classroom is the multiplier effect.  Mrs. Silverspring’s classroom‘s blogroll has links all over the world. I had no idea, but my student Ryley found it. “I’m reading something written by someone in Russia!”

I celebrate the mentoring power of reading other kid writing. One of my students quite naturally wanted to “write like Tobie in Mrs. Simon’s classroom.”  How beautiful is that?! That, I told him is what writers do.

I celebrate teacher bloggers who share their writing lives with students. The “Dual Poem” form introduced to the adult slicer community by Greg Armamentos has shown up in Margaret Simon’s classroom.

Finally, I celebrate the Slicer community who has opened up my writing life. Thank you, Anna, Beth, Betsy, Dana, Stacey and Tara of Two Writing Teachers blog for hosting the Slice of Life March Story Challenge. Read other bloggers slices here.