Monday, June 24, 2013

Finding The Right Word for All Write!

          The Slice of Life on Tuesday is hosted by Ruth Ayres and Stacey Shubitz at their blog, Two Writing Teachers!  Thanks to these creative women, there is a community of writers who write so we may read and savor.  Join us!
      And tweet at #slice2013


          I flew to Indiana last week to attend the All-Write conference.  People who asked where I was from were surprised that I had come all the way from Colorado.  How could I not do this?  And I was excited to go.  It was, it was (I have to find the right word!) comfortable.  Have you bought a chair or sofa lately?  How many pairs of shoes do you try on before selecting the one pair that feels like it’s already been a favorite for a while? Have you gone to dinner with friends, and begun the talking before you’ve even been seated?  Have you created an old and favorite recipe?  Do you ever re-read favorite books, or keep poems that feel so right?   A few weeks ago, I spent a day with a long-time friend who lives far away.  We are fortunate if we get to see one another once a year, and sometimes it’s more like five years.  Yet when we are together, we fall into our own old friend language, that one that takes years to understand, the perfect ‘ear’ for each other. 
         I hope now you realize what I feel about the All-Write Conference where everyone was simply—and wonderfully—comfortable.  I was welcomed with hugs from the minute I pulled my luggage up to the check-in counter at the Wyndham Hotel.  Here they all were:  Ruth, Mary Helen, Betsy, Christy, Ramona, Elsie, Deb Gaby, Robin, Nancy, Bonnie.  How can those I’ve known for such a short while feel comfortable?  Because of our words over these past years, the words we’ve shared through our blog posts and through twitter (although I don’t do as much tweeting as I’d like).  And later, at dinner, there were more I knew (see Ruth Ayres’ post about the dinner here.)  Also, in the sessions, it seemed like old friends, again from posts and books and articles-words I valued, words I believed in.  Will you imagine what sharing words within a classroom can mean to that community?  


           Some of the people I knew through their words, in blog posts and in books, and some I met for the first time in their presentations.  I was comfortable, I had found the right chair, the fits-like-a-glove shoes, the conversation-that-never-stops group, the favorite poem.  It’s like this: we all believe that helping students become inspired as well as competent in their writing lives is important.  And we cannot do this kind of teaching without writing with our students, as Penny Kittle says, we Write Beside Them
          As Carl Anderson said: “How we teach can matter as much as what we teach.”  Further, to use our imagination, to teach our students “to see things as they aren’t!”  From Amy Ludwig Vanderwater, I heard that we “must help children find the surprise in writing.”  Mary Helen Gensch and Tammy Shultz gave me How Martha Saved Her Parents From Green Beans, by David LaRochelle and Mark Fearing to savor, along with book after book, a large stack of comfortable.  Ruth Ayres and Deb Gaby pushed me into a journey right there, in the auditorium.  I took the metaphor of running for this writing exercise, and wondered how we could persuade students to step off the starting block if we only stand behind them instead of running with them?  We need to know how the muscles warm and when to push on faster, when to take a break in order to rest and revive.
         It’s time to stop, and rest.  I know that there is a moment when enough is enough, and that is what I can tell my students too, because I write.
           More next week!  I’ve only written about the first day!  And even after all the day so filled, I remained comfortable!



A little sketch from my notebook-in Amy L-V's session.  Imagine a basket of poetry...

Did I get it right?  from Dictionary.com:

com·fort·a·ble

adjective
1.
(of clothing, furniture, etc.) producing or affording physical comfortsupport, or ease: a comfortable chair; comfortable shoes.
2.
being in a state of physical or mental comfortcontented and undisturbed; at ease: to be comfortable in new shoes; I don't feel comfortable in the same room with her.
3.
(of a person, situation, etc.) producing mental comfort or ease;easy to accommodate oneself to or associate with: She's acomfortable person to be with.
4.
more than adequate or sufficient: a comfortable salary.

50 comments:

  1. I am feeling it! I do believe you got the right word

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    1. Thanks Juliann-it was a real treat!

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  2. When I read the Carl Anderson paragraph I had chill bumps! Words are so powerful, putting them into action is even more powerful. I hope to attend AllWrite one day! It sounds comfortably amazing! Thank you for sharing and I can't wait to read more!

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  3. Yes, comfortable! I just finished my slice and now I'm adding what you share... the inspirational moments. It was a feast, my friend, a true feast.

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    1. Hope you're hearing a big 'whoop' all the way back to NYC, Bonnie. It was good eating!

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  4. Comfortable is a very good way to be! So glad it was wonderful experience. And you got to meet Amy LV!! Great sketch. xo

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    1. Thanks Irene! Each moment was just magical!

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  5. Totally comfortable! That is the perfect description of our togetherness. I loved your Dr. Seuss quote on your link page. I am so glad I got to be there with you all.

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    1. Hard to believe it's already in the past, isn't it? I loved all the time we spent together too! Thanks Elsie!

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  6. As I said to Bonnie - I SO wished I had been able to be there, Linda. But, thanks to what everyone has been kind enough to share, let me just say, it was exactly as I had imagined. Being comfortable among friends - how lovely!

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    1. Of course there are those we missed, and you are one of them, Tara. Another time!

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  7. My word is longing...how I wish I could have made this whole thing work and joined you at All-Write. I just knew it would be like you describe...comfortable. I'm so glad you got to go and meet everyone!

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    1. And as I said to Tara, there were 'empty chairs waiting', and one was for you, Deb. But so glad you had a great conference too!

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  8. While school for those of us on the East Coast is just winding down, you were getting "comfortable" perhaps because it is when we are in our "comfort zone" we can most effectively do our best reading, writing, thinking and reflecting....as well as connecting, sharing and living.

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    1. I agree, Anita, it also enables us to move out into new territory, trying new ideas! Thanks for connecting that!

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  9. Yes you definitely got it 'write' ! Loved this line...your beautiful thinking, " I took the metaphor of running for this writing exercise, and wondered how we could persuade students to step off the starting block if we only stand behind them instead of running with them? " I want to run with them always. xo

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    1. Thanks, Nancy! I missed you after you left, didn't realize you had to leave so soon. It was terrific being with you and talking! Hope all at home went well!

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  10. Linda, what a perfect way to describe All Write - comfortable. I'm still rolling my thoughts and reflections around in my head but it's coming. It was such a wonderful couple of days and I'm a little sad that it's over! On to next year...

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    1. Yes, definitely want to re-peat, Robin! My thoughts keep rumbling around too, but certainly wanted to do at least part of the reflection, more to come! Thank you!

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  11. Yes! You got it right. COMFORTABLE is the perfect word to describe the conference. Thank you for writing this slice.
    Hugs, Ruth

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    1. You're very welcome, Ruth! It was a pleasure re-visiting our time together!

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  12. Comfortable. That word fits just right--like my favorite pair of shoes (I love your descriptive comparisons just as much as the word you chose). Just as your comments reach across miles to reassure and inspire us, your presence is comforting. What a treat to spend time with you! I am already looking forward to next year.

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    1. It was just right, wasn't it Christy? I enjoyed hearing more about your teaching, and of course just visiting. Hope you're having a lovely time at the lake!

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  13. I think it is amazing when like-minded people who share a passion get together. There is comfort and energy. I'm so glad you were able to have that experience. A little envious, too.

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    1. Hope you'll be able to join us in the future, Margaret. It truly was wonderful! Thank you!

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  14. Wow - from your description (which I think they should use for publicity next year!), it sounds like it was an amazing learning opportunity among trusted friends and colleagues. A comfortable risk-taking environment just pushing you enough to think outside the comfort zone. Thank you so much for sharing . . . maybe one day I'll be able to join in and sit right next to you in that comfortable chair! Can't wait to hear more of your take-aways! :)

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    1. There are more, for sure, Michelle. But I hear you are going to meet Elsie with your Mom and I assume, the girls. That will be a good time too! Thanks!

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  15. What a treasure it is to live vicariously through all of you who attended this year. Sounds like another wonderful All-Write Conference. (I've never been, but have heard they're wonderful.) So many Slicers too! I'm sorry I missed all of you.

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    1. You should go at least once, Stacey. It was just terrific at all the sessions, but also to be with some of the slicing friends to talk things over about what we were hearing. Thanks much!

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  16. As I read about the meeting, I can feel this huge positive energy floating around. I know it will find it's way to blogs and classrooms, but I wonder if now, that people know each other in person, something more will become of this energy - people writing articles or books together, or making videos, or giving workshops. I know there is physical distance between people, but the distance has not been an obstacle fro Stacy and Ruth. Just wondering.

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    1. Certainly making this further connection will help start even more ideas, Terje. Guess we'll keep sharing our thoughts and see what happens. It's been terrific hearing your thoughts about teaching, even across the ocean! Thank you!

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  17. Comfortable - a splendid, perfect word to describe our time. I am still in awe at how we just picked up sharing and learning together. I must say I did a little happy dance when you walked in to our session. How fun to see you there. You have given much to me and many others.:)Mary Helen

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    1. I loved every minute, Mary Helen, and you were such a warm welcoming presence! Thank you!

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  18. All-Write sounds like a wonderful experience, Linda! (I'm so jealous that you all got to meet each other!) I definitely want to go in the future! I love the way you decided to choose ONE WORD to capture and describe your time there -- such a neat idea!

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    1. Thanks Jennifer, there are some that we definitely missed, and you are a part of that. Next time? I'm so glad you've had your writing group too!

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  19. Linda,
    I'm so glad you got to go. I wish I could've been there. It sounds like a wonderful time. How nice to have time to continue the conversations live that have been going on across blogs and Twitter for the past months (years). I'm so glad everyone is willing to share their experience. The tweets from the events were as thoughtful as the posts have been since.

    Cathy

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    1. Thanks Cathy-it was such fun, & I wish you had been there too! I was so immersed in the sessions that I forgot to tweet-am still not in the habit, & I spend way too much time online anyway. I'm going to try to at least do some of the groups things now & then.

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  20. Love this post, Linda. Comfortable sums up All Write beautifully. I feel at home and peaceful when I attend. So glad I had the chance to meet you there.

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    1. I loved meeting you, too, Katherine. There were so many that I didn't have a chance to visit with-maybe another time? I see you're going to ALA-what a time that will be! I'll watch for your comments about it!

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  21. I'm loving reading your writing and this post was fantastic. I loved the metaphors all the way through and the quote about running beside our students. Maybe next year we could both attend?

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    1. I would absolutely adore that, Max. It was quite a few days of learning and meeting and conversations! Thanks much for the good words!

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  22. Your blogs and your blog responses make me feel comfortable. I wish I could have been there at All Write and hugged you, too.

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    1. Thanks Maya. It was a special hug time all the way through! Maybe next year?

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  23. It's such an amazing feeling! I know I feel this same sort of comfort when I have met Twitter or blogging friends, too. It's amazing how social media allows us to connect with people who have the same passions as us and inspire us in such amazing ways. I have often felt that I never had these types of connections before Twitter...or at least they were few and far between. I feel so connected so all the wonderful people I know in my online communities and it's just as awesome when we get to be in person. i love it! So exciting to hear that you got to go to All Write!

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    1. Thanks Jen. It's so good to hear from you that you felt the same way! It was a terrific time!

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  24. Love, love, love your wondering - "how we could persuade students to step off the starting block if we only stand behind them instead of running with them? We need to know how the muscles warm and when to push on faster, when to take a break in order to rest and revive." Love your reflections on the conference! It must have been so fabulous to be with all the other bloggers we've come to know so well through slicing. I am having fun reading everyone's posts about the conference! I hope I am able to go one year soon.

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    1. Thank you Maureen. The timing is not so good for some of you in the east, I know. Hopefully you will get to experience this too. It would be such fun to meet you!

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  25. Oh, I so envy you the feeling of comfort (hey, wasn't that your one little word for the year...last year? the year before?)! I don't teach now - except maybe a few homeschoolers a bit as a supplementary resource - but I'd love to attend a conference like that.
    Yeah, with Blogging, it's even better than having penpals - remember those days?
    Sounds like you had a really fulfilling experience that is going to sustain you through the summer and get you wishing you were back at school!

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    1. Yes, comfort was my word, I think last year. I just cannot keep up with those words, although that year I lasted longer than this one. It's a great idea, but I'm just too busy. It is a little like pen pals, isn't it? I had one until early high school from London, but we drifted away! This was a terrific time, Donna, and there were people there who were retired too! Maybe someday I'll get to Maine, especially to see Gull Haven!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!