|Tuesday Slice of Life is with Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers! Come read amazing writing!|
I don’t think I’ve told you that a recent “slice” of my life is that I’ve started a writing group with some of my colleagues. There are eight of us, and we’re having a wonderful time so far. Because I live so close to school now, we’re meeting at my house, although this summer we’re going to try to go to others’ homes too.
Some of us have been reading The Muses Among Us by Kim Stafford for additional inspiration, although we have also strayed into other ideas. We send our pieces ahead of time so everyone gets a chance to savor and comment before we meet, and that has worked well. One of the members has a chapter book going and it takes time to read earlier chapters, plus the “new” writing, so it’s good to get a head start. Others have shorter pieces, but still the time is needed for their response too.
We started meeting from 4 to 6 pm, and I provided a few snacks, but we lasted about two meetings that ended around 6, so now it’s more like 4 to 8 pm and a little more. People take turns reading their pieces aloud and then responding, sometimes more than once. We are getting to know each other in different ways than our professional relationships and loving every minute. All of us have goals, and are thrilled with the support we’re receiving.
I am reminded of the Roberts Burns line, “"O wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us!" when I think of the way we’re being helped in our writing. Sometimes we are too close to the work, and someone else can see the revision that’s possible, and the movement of a line, the turning of a sentence can make all the difference.
I believe that the learning involved here can apply to our classrooms too, of course. We…
· Prepare for response by reading before the evening.
· Try hard to be focused with each reader’s writing (thus we eat and take some breaks!)
· Each member has contributed food without asking. (Would this be a key sometimes for student motivation?)
· Each has made the kindest, but also astute comments, and often enlightened us as to their own “takeaway” from the writing-most helpful.
I don’t know where this will lead, for me or for others, but I do know that we’re pleased with what’s happened so far, and are looking forward to summer, more time for writing and for meeting!