Six Must-Read Teen Novels

It’s been awhile since I reviewed a book, so I thought I would go all over-achiever on you all and talk about SIX books!

Why six, you ask? Well contrary to how little I have been posting about books, I have been a reading machine. I’ve read something like eleven books so far in 2014 and six of them were books that my seniors are currently reading for their Book Clubs.

All six books knocked me right out with how awesome they are, so I thought I would share in case you need an awesome read, that will be quick, yet keep you hooked throughout the whole book.

teen novels

Continue Reading…

Writing is My Process

I was recently invited to participate in an “Author Tour” about my writing process by the lovely Angela Amman. Being considered an “author” made me swoon, so I said yes. Of course.

I met Angela a few years (YEARS???) ago when I was linking up and then helping run The Red Dress Club. I quickly fell in love with her writing and the fact that she is also an inhabitant of the Mitten State. I knew her writing would take her far, and it has/is. She shared her writing process last week.

Ok, so the idea here is that I share with you a peek into my writing process. I’ve written before about writing being a process and not just a product, but I never really shared my own process. I hope this does not stifle any of the magic about me for you. Heh.

1. What Am I Working On?

Ummmm…

My blog when I have time?

In all seriousness, I have some lofty goals for this year. I am trying to submit my writing to different places both online and print. I have been rejected and accepted a few times so I guess I am breaking even in the jubilation/sorrow department.

I guess right now a big area I have been working on is my Teaching & Writing post category. I try to post something about writing or teaching/education every Wednesday, but it doesn’t always work out because I get busy with, you guessed it, teaching. I’m reading, going to trainings, and reflecting on a LOT in that area, so there are lots of started drafts in the works.

I’m also always working on drafting childhood memories and writing out my good and hard times.

What my work space generally looks like. I know what you're thinking...jealousy.

What my work space generally looks like. I know what you’re thinking…jealousy.

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre.

I have two different writerly voices: my story-telling voice and my teacher voice.

I think what makes me stand out in my story-telling is that I am very honest, but I am also very positive. I think it’s easy to get pulled down by the hard stuff and lose the joy. I try to balance the difficult with the joy I believe is always always there.

My teacher voice–a more academic tone–is one I don’t see as much in the bloggerly world.

3. Why do I write what I do?

This is easy: it’s important to me.

I tell stories because I wish more people in my family had told their stories. Shoot, I would love to tell their stories for them, if they would let me. (not that anyone won’t let me; I haven’t really asked).

I write about teacher stuff because I am deeply passionate about finding the best way to teach kids. I also think too many people are misinformed about the processes and issues that public school teachers face.

4. How does my writing process work?

So here comes the “do as I say, and not as I do” part of the show.

In a perfect world, every writer–nay everyONE–would carve out an hour or so of time to just write. Every single day there would be an uninterrupted time of thoughtful “flow”.

I advocate for this.

I give my students time to do this (not a whole hour, but still).

My advice to new writers is always WRITE! And if you’re not writing, READ!

do write daily, but this is how my process goes:

  • think of an idea or twelve
  • don’t write them down, but mull them over during commute to work, while making dinner, while showering, etc.
  • plan to write about one (or three) during planning hour at school
  • realize that tons of grading and copies need to be done and then a student comes in
  • get no writing done on planning hour, revise to work after school, but before going home
  • 2:30pm comes and four students come in to work/get help.
  • After students leave, tie up loose ends to be ready for next day.
  • Realize that I have tons of grading, but open a blog post or new doc anyway
  • stare
  • remember a promise made to a student about a letter of rec.
  • Do that instead
  • Check Facebook
  • Follow links.
  • Realize it’s my turn to pick up the boys, vow to write at bedtime.
  • Mull over a new idea during commute
  • Feel passionately about this new post and almost completely write it in my head
  • Get boys, get home, make dinner, clean up dinner, clean boys, watch Curious George.
  • Realize it’s my turn to put Eddie to bed. Vow to not be too tired to write when I get done with bedtime
  • Fall asleep reading books with Eddie.
  • Wake up at 8:45pm and haul myself upstairs.
  • Sit on the couch and stare.
  • Get my computer
  • Check Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
  • Work on homework for about a minute and a half
  • Open a new blog post or doc and write a bit of nonsense.
  • Yawn.
  • Brush teeth while mulling that great idea that now seems dead.
  • Go to bed vowing to write MORE tomorrow

Clearly at some point some of those ideas become reality on the page/screen.  This mostly happens on weekends (during Charlie’s nap) or during the rare time after school when I don’t have tons to do (or it’s procrastinate-able) or in the evenings when Cort handles Eddie’s bedtime routine.

Right now I fit it in while I can.

The time I spend is greater over breaks, so I am looking forward to spring break in three weeks.

*************

Next week, the tour pushes on with a couple of writers who are incredibly inspiring to me.

Jessica Smock writes the blog School of Smock, but she is also one of the women behind the HerStories Project. She is not just a writer, but a former educator. In fact, she is DR. Jessica Smock. She and I share a lot of the same philosophies about education and her work is an inspiration to me.

Pauline Campos write the blog Aspiring Mama, but she is also a columnist for the Latina Magazine. She is also a champion of the fight for girls to have a better body image. She is a gorgeous writer, but she is even more of a gorgeous soul. Her dedication to her writing and causes makes me want to be a better me.

cast off

This year I decided that if I wanted my writing to be somewhere, I had to actually put effort in to get it there.  This is easier said than done.

Despite being told I’m good at this little thing I do, I don’t completely believe it. I’m a pretty avid reader and in no way do I feel like my writing stands out among all that is out there.  Yet people encourage me. They say I do this thing well and that my writing should be elsewhere.

That flatters me. A lot. I like to be flattered.

So I decided to take those flatteries to heart and send my words out in the world to see where they would land.

Did I mention my fear of rejection? My fear of failure? My fear or people pitying me? My fear of the shoulder shrug followed by that thing people do with their mouth when they discover that maybe you aren’t as awesome as you let on. I think it’s called disappointment. Or that “oh. you didn’t get that. huh.” and then they never ask you about your hobby again because they don’t take it seriously anymore and maybe you shouldn’t either.

The thing is though, that when you decide to try out for stuff, submit to stuff, audition for stuff, the thing is that you are probably going to get rejected more often than you get accepted.

Rejection makes me feel stupid. It makes me feel foolish. And it makes me feel embarrassed.

I try really hard not to be too hopeful when I submit my writing places. I try not to make a big deal out of it. I try to say nothing for fear of having to “untell” it.

When I first found myself pregnant in the spring of 2007, we went ahead and told people.  Then, just weeks later, we had to untell everyone. It felt like God rejected me as a mother. I had gotten that email that said, “we are sorry, but we cannot include you in this year’s New Mother’s Club”.

The pity and the looks and the feeling of rejection burned in my face and my heart every single time I saw a new face for weeks. Friends and family who found themselves blessed with child were hesitant to tell me about it.  That felt awful.

I know that having a baby and getting published or cast for something are not the same, but the feeling of rejection when it doesn’t happen, come from the same place in my heart and soul.  There is the same burn of embarrassment and disappointment.

I didn’t make the Listen To Your Mother cast for Metro Detroit.

I don’t regret auditioning at all. It was a lovely experience and the women who are running this thing are beautiful souls. I love them madly. And NONE of this is about them. It’s about me. It’s about how in my head I logically know that my piece just wasn’t right for the show, but my heart and soul feeling wretched anyway.

I have zero regrets about driving 6 hours round trip for a 15 minute audition. None.

I do regret telling people I was going to try.

You see, people who had no idea I had this “talent” found out and were so impressed.  They have asked me about it. They are pulling for me.  And now I have to tell them I didn’t make it.

Will they think less of me?

My mom was going to be in that audience to hear me read something I wrote for the first time.  I was going to get to show off to my parents.

It sounds silly to me when I read that over, but I didn’t do anything athletic or performance-based that showed my talents ever before in my life. I was hoping to make them proud.

When I told Cortney the news Saturday night, he asked if I was Ok.

“Yes. I’m fine.”

I wanted him to stop looking at me. I wanted the entire thing to go away. I wanted everyone to forget I had ever said anything about Listen to Your Mother at all.

I wanted to disappear.

The hardest thing about not making it isn’t that my piece wasn’t what they were looking for or that I wasn’t good enough in that moment, but that the piece I wrote won’t be read.

My piece was about Eddie.

Somehow this makes it all burn deeper.

The words I wrote about boy won’t be read from a stage.

I didn’t realize it until I got the rejection email, but I wanted so badly to talk about my Eddie. I wanted him to get cast. I wanted his story out there because I never want him to doubt my love for him.

And I wanted to buy a new dress.

I told all of this to Cortney in the dark quiet of our room at bedtime Saturday night. After the lights were out, the TV off, and the “I love you’s” said, a tear rolled onto my pillow as I said, “I’m sad about not getting cast.”

“I know,” he said quietly.

He proceeded to tell me how proud he is of me and that’s it’s Ok to be sad. Then he told me that I should NOT just tuck the piece away in my memory box, but read it. Read it on video.

I am not ready to do that yet.

The piece is tucked in my journal, pushed under my bed.

I’m trying very hard not to tuck my feelings under there too, but to let them process.

I am Ok. I am.

Besides, I look at this little reminder of love before going to sleep and upon waking up each day:

cast off

I will gather myself up and I will put my words out there again.

Because it’s what I do.

*************

**Thank you, Leigh Ann, for YOUR words above.**

On Writing

I’m probably one of the last people on earth to read this book, and nothing I will say here will be new. However I like to get down my thoughts for posterity and if there is a chance that you write and you haven’t read this book yet, well here you go.

Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference (74).

Even with all of my writerly friends telling me I have to read this, it was never high on my To Read list because I don’t believe I will ever write fiction. I just don’t want to.

A few months ago, my friend Leigh Ann told me she had an extra copy and would I like it? It showed up a few weeks ago and due to lack of space on my book shelves, it sat next to my bed.

Since I have been plowing through books this year already (seriously, as I type this it’s January 6 and I am on book #3 of the YEAR already!), I ended up grabbing it since it was handy. I’m so glad I did.

Continue Reading…

A Lady in France {Review}

I have a friend named Jennie who wrote a book.  And then she published that book. Then we all clamored to get the book because our friend Jennie wrote it. A few of us jumped a the chance to review it before we even read it.

As soon as my copy showed up and I held it in my hands, my stomach turned over.

I love Jennie. What if I don’t love her book?

Then I told myself that I was being silly. After all, I love to read her writing on her blog, so why wouldn’t I like this?

I’ve read books written by bloggers before and to be honest, I thought it was going to read like a collection of blog posts (like the other ones did).  I was a little nervous. I didn’t think a memoir should read like a blog.

My worry was for nothing. Jennie’s book is a book, not a blog, not a collection of blog posts.

I was captivated from the very first chapter where Jennie describes her time as a study abroad student in France. The detail she uses is rich and lovely and takes you with her to each place she lived: France, Asia, Africa, New York City.  I’ve only ever been to NYC, but I feel like I’ve been to the other places now.  Or at least in my head I have been there.

Keep reading…

New Year, New You! Kicking Off 2014 {Giveaway}

The holidays are over and all the decorations and traditions are packed up and put away.

The New Year has started and resolutions have been made {and perhaps already broken}.

I’m not a big resolution-maker, but I do always tell myself that I am going to treat myself a little gentler, a little kinder in the new year. I’m going to let myself have small moments and things that bring me joy.

Maybe that is a latte from Starbucks on the way to work instead of my coffee from home. Maybe it’s an hour alone to read a book. Maybe it’s treating my kids or my husband to something for no other reason than it will make them smile…and in turn, make me smile.

To kick off the new year, I want to make you smile! So I have a MASSIVE GIVEAWAY that I, along with my friend Alison of Writing, Wishing, set up!

Twelve prizes means TWELVE winners!  Check out the goods Alison and I have lined up for you!

New Year New You Giveaway

Two book package from author, Kate Hopper

Ready for Air

“After severe preeclampsia derails Kate Hopper’s birth plan, the author confronts her fears of preemie parenthood with brazen honesty and an occasional fitting expletive. Her memoir, a testament to the delights and uncertainties of motherhood, reads like a novel, though you won’t forget for a second that her story is true.” —Pregnancy & Newborn

Ready for Air is a harrowing, poignant, and occasionally hysterical journey through premature motherhood. Ready for Air is a testament to the strength of motherhood—and the sharing of stories—to transform lives.

Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers

“Part instructor, part motivator, part best friend, Kate guides mother-writers from idea through finished product, offering encouragement and hard-earned wisdom along the way. She intersperses poems, essays, and short memoirs…with passages about the craft of writing, and ends each chapter with helpful, short exercises for readers to try at home. Any mother who picks up Use Your Words and follows the carefully-planned instructions will be able to call herself a mother-writer by the final page.” —Hope Edelman, international bestselling author of Motherless Daughters

Both of these books will lead you to your notebook or computer and inspire you to write your own truths. Learn more about Kate’s writing and teaching at www.katehopper.com.

 Sunshine After The Storm: A Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother anthology from Alexa Bigwarfe

Sunshine After the Storm: A Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother is written for grieving mothers, by grieving mothers (and a few fathers) who have managed to find their way through the muck after losing a baby. If you have found yourself feeling lonely or isolated after the death of a baby or child, this is a book for you. If you have found yourself trying to help someone you love after they have lost a baby and do not know how to do that, this is a book for you. This book is meant to bring hope and encouragement to those who have suffered through the death of a child, the loss of a pregnancy, and for all of those who support them in surviving afterwards.

 Plata Playa Handknit Cowl from Alma Boheme

This lusciously soft handknit cowl by Alma Boheme is made from handpainted merino wool from South Africa. It is a vibrant piece that is perfectly chunky to make you feel cozy and warm. Wear it draped around your neck once or twice depending on your mood. Plata Playa is Spanish for silvery beach, a tribute to its hues of grey blues and raw sienna. The cowl measures 49 inches round and 8 inches wide. It happens to be the first anniversary of Alma’s Etsy shop, which was born out of her love for designing and creating. All her items are easy to wear, and made from carefully selected fibres. In her words, “This giveaway is a gift of love of one of my favorite items, for all the love I have received.”

 A Lady In France, a memoir by Jennie Goutet

In this beautiful memoir, Jennie Goutet details the evolution of one woman’s faith and love in a singular story that is – at once – both intensely personal and universal in its themes. I soared and plunged along with her from beginning to end. ~ Julie Gardner. A Lady In France is available on Amazon.

 The Mother of All Meltdowns anthology from Crystal Ponti

Every mother, at some point, inevitably becomes her own worst enemy. In a millisecond, her halo crumbles and she has a moment so crazed it is forever known as the one—The Mother of All Meltdowns. This eye-opening anthology was written by women who have had their moments. Together they have experienced the anguish and frustration of the adult-sized tantrum. They have shed the tears, dropped to their knees in agony, and asked the age-old question, “Why me?” From poop-decorated rooms to having their liquid gold scrutinized and confiscated by TSA, they’re not afraid to share their collection of thirty tell-all stories. They are survivalists and know that within every meltdown there is a silver lining.

 Karma Gone Bad, a memoir by Jenny Feldon

When Jenny’s husband gets transferred to India for work, she looks forward to a new life filled with glamorous expat friends and exciting adventures. Ten thousand miles away from home, Jenny struggles to fight off depression and anger as her sense of self and her marriage begin to unravel. But after months of bitterness and takeout pizza, Jenny realizes what the universe has been trying to tell her all along: India doesn’t need to change. She does. Equal parts frustration, absurdity, and revelation, this is the true story of a Starbucks-loving city girl finding beauty in the chaos and making her way in the land of karma. Karma Gone Bad is available on Amazon.

Vanilla Scooter from Imagine Toys

 “Retro-styling makes this classic balance bike even more hip. Popular in Europe, balance bikes help develop skills needed to ride a pedal bikelater. Kids sit and make it go by pushing with their feet and gliding. Once they gain balance and momentum, they can lift their tiny toes and just cruise.” The scooter includes: Inflatable tires, adjustable-height seat, pretend lights and tachometer. Imagine Toys is a specialty toy store that carries unique toys that “encourage children to use their imaginations.”

 Alive Leather Slip Knot Bracelet from Simply Om

This gorgeous slip knot bracelet made by female artisans in remote areas of Guatemala will make you feel more alive…or at least your outfit! Simply Om offers beautiful hand-crafted jewelry in a fair trade marketplace. Each piece of jewelry comes with a story–a story that needs to be told, and can be told over and over each time you wear your piece.

$25 Gift Certificate to Sew Curly Creations

 Kristina Grum created Sew Curly Creations after realizing her family used far too many disposable plastic baggies. She started sewing up reusable fabric pouches for snacks, and then larger ones for sandwiches. From there her shop was born and grew to include everything from aprons for kiddos to burp clothes and personalized birthday shirts. She uses all organic, AZO-free dyed fabric for the snack bags.

Set of Coasters from Nicci @ Saving the Universe

 Nicci started her etsy shop, Changing the Universe, in an effort to share her love of creating with the universe. While she still loves to create, she is closing up shop and blog this new year to concentrate more on her children. Her unique fabric coasters are a fun way to add a splash of color to your livingroom, and have a useful design that can attach to the bottom of your wine glass!

$70 Gift Certificate to California Footwear

 California Footwear is a company based in…California, of course! Their mission is to “combine all of the best that California represents into high-quality footwear for people who care about their foot health.” Their sandals and clogs are not only super cute, but they are ergonomically created to treat your feet to comfort and functionality.

 Faith Necklace from R&L Design

This necklace by R&L Design is made of antique bronze with a matching “faith” pendant. The pendant measures 25×5.5mm and the  18” chain has a lobster clasp. Rebekah hand-makes each piece in her etsy shop with skill and love. This piece is simple, yet elegant and adds a bit of personality to any outfit.

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Good stuff, right?  To enter to win, simply follow the instructions in the widget below. Twelve winners will be chosen and randomly paired with a prize.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck & Happy New Year!!

Hands Free Mama

I have a bit of a problem with over-extending myself.  Perhaps you have noticed.

I get asked all the time how I do it all, and three times over the holidays I have seen aunts and uncles and other relation who tell me “I follow you on Facebook/your blog and you are BUSY!”

I never know what to say to that.  Thank you?

I used to be proud to rattle off all the things I do: teach high school full-time, take two online class toward my next pay increase, teach a college course, blog, freelance, oh and I’m a mom and wife too.

I realized this month that when the third person (one of the members of our church) commented on how busy I am, I started to feel the blood rush to my cheeks in embarrassment. I know they were only making small-talk. It was a lead-in before telling me what  nice job Eddie did in the Christmas program and before a comment on how cute it was when Charlie pointed and yelled “EDDIE!” during the program. This person was just showing interest in our family and being kind.

But I was embarrassed. Ashamed at how much time I spent on other things besides my family.

The day before Christmas break started, I had planned to give my students an in-class essay assignment so I would have two full weeks to get through grading the 120 of them.  Nature had other plans. We got a wicked ice storm Thursday night, school was cancelled, and Christmas break started early.

I had zero work with me at home to do.

So I started reading a book.

Continue Reading…

Project 365 {week 44}

Halloween week.

Last week of the marking period.

We have been non-stop this week.

I can feel it in our relationships with each other.

October 27: Pumpkin carving. He has never liked the guts...and this year is no different. Wouldn't touch 'em.

October 27: Pumpkin carving. He has never liked the guts…and this year is no different. Wouldn’t touch ‘em.

October 28: Comfort food for dinner followed by homemade apple crisp and homemade cinnamon ice cream.

October 28: Comfort food for dinner followed by homemade apple crisp and homemade cinnamon ice cream.

 

October 29: Charlie is starting to pretend lately...here he thinks he's mommy on his "computer"

October 29: Charlie is starting to pretend lately…here he thinks he’s mommy on his “computer”

October 30: I look away for a minute and this one is driving a car on the couch.

October 30: I look away for a minute and this one is driving a car on the couch.

 

October 31: Neither trusts the other to not touch his candy. It's a legit mistrust.

October 31: Neither trusts the other to not touch his candy. It’s a legit mistrust.

November 1: Peace out, week...and October.

November 1: Peace out, week…and October.

 

November 2: Cort gets a much-needed night out while I have a night in with these two.

November 2: Cort gets a much-needed night out while I have a night in with these two.

Something needs to give around here.

But not until the grading is done.

And the homework.

And the housework.

Hmmm…maybe we have an issue.

*************

In YAY news…I’m going to be a published writer. IN A BOOK!  Three Minus One comes out in May of 2014 and piece I wrote about my first miscarriage will be included. I am honored to be chosen.

my grateful heart

As Eddie tried to fall asleep last night, he rolled to me and said his hand hurt.

I took it in my hands and traced his palm and fingers with my fingers trying to ease any aches he had.

I watched his eyes flutter almost shut, as he took his hand out of mine to roll into a sleepy little ball, but before he nodded off for good, he leaned in and gave me a small delicate kiss on the back of my hand and smiled.

“I love you, mommy,” he whispered through his smile.

And then he was asleep.

I thought about all I had to do and how I should get up and leave my sleeping buddy and get to work.

But I was so tired.

So I let my eyes close and I started counting my blessings…

I have a sweet four-year old who is not shy to tell those he loves how much they mean to him.

I have an adventurous 18-month old who makes everyone happier with his belly laugh and his smile.

I have a husband who is truly my partner in this world.

I have three nephews and two nieces in this world, one nephew on the way, and one niece in heaven.

I have a faith that comforts my soul in hard times.

I have understanding students who are Ok not knowing the full-story, but understand that family comes first.

I have a family who loves and supports each other.

I have a mom and a mother-in-law who are excited to each take a grandson this weekend so Cortney and I can help a friend celebrate his birthday.

I have friends who check in with me just to say, “hey. thinking of you.” I”m not sure they know how much that means to me.

I have the best therapist.

I have a job…er jobs…that I love.

I have co-workers who make me laugh.

I have students who make me smile.

I’m good at what I do.

I have so much…

and then my eyes grew heavy and I let myself doze next to my little boy.

When I woke up, instead of going upstairs and getting out my homework and computer, I brushed my teeth and climbed into bed.

Because sometimes it’s better to be rested.

*************

I am excited to announce that I have been included as a contributor to a free ebook, Embracing Life: Loving Boldly with a Grateful Heart. You can get it and read my words (and those of the other 22 contributors) here or by clicking the cover of the book below.

Embracing Life

Writing is a Process, Not a Product

All 110 of my seniors and my 20 college freshman just finished writing personal narratives. It took almost three weeks of hard work and revisions and peer-conferencing, but I have a huge stack waiting for a final grade.

For three weeks, writing was a process…to a product. Right?

Sort of.

My students and I definitely had an end product in mind as we dug through example after example of good writing and as we read and re-read our own writing.  But it was also a process.

It was the process most of my students…and you…are probably somewhat familiar with: brainstorming, drafting, revising, drafting, revising, drafting, editing, publishing.

Lots of my students hate this process because they feel like they could sit down, draft and publish.  Many of you have said to me, “I don’t really have a process.  I don’t revise or edit. I just do it all at once and hit publish.”

My answer, of course, would be that well, yes, you do have a process then. How successful it is for you probably has to do with how long you spend on what you call “drafting” before you “publish”.

But my point here is that most of the time, I am not looking at writing as being just the Writing Process, but also a Thinking Process.

PicMonkey Collage

I cannot imagine working through any of my thoughts or emotions without writing. Long before I was a wife or mother or any of life’s major challenges had come flying at me, I kept journals.  I have stacks of notebooks and journals of all different sizes and shapes.

I started one my freshman year of college.

I remember sitting in my dorm room alone.  My roommate had moved her stuff in and then went home for the weekend not to return until Sunday night before classes started.

I knew nobody on my floor and since I hadn’t been a party-er in high school, I wasn’t exactly great at walking up to new people and asking if they had any vodka.

My parents had taken me to the bookstore that day to help me get my books and any supplies. One purchase that day had been a spiral notebook with my college crest and name in gold on the cover. It was so much nicer than all my other notebooks, and I didn’t know what class would be worthy enough to have it’s notes put in it. So I had set it aside.

That first night in the dorms, as I felt alone and scared and homesick, I took out that notebook and I wrote my first journal entry. Over the course of the next couple years, I hauled it out sporadically when I needed to “write it out”. I remember writing about how no one tells you how angsty college life is…how the transition to college is way harder than the transition to high school that every is always gushing about.

That journal is shoved far in the back of Charlie’s closet under a bunch of other keepsakes (and among other journals) from my late teens/early twenties.

I stopped keeping a regular journal about four years ago when I started putting all those words here (I started this blog six years ago, but didn’t start “writing it out” here until more recently).

My point is, words like the ones I wrote yesterday are ones I didn’t have to explain how I felt until I wrote them down. Writing through pain, happiness, confusion, anger, joy, surprise, and so many more things have not just helped me to know how I think and feel, but it’s also given a voice to these experiences.

It’s made them real to me and to those who read my words.

This is why I have my students write every day. It is also why even though we do “publish” things, I try to teach them the process of writing…not just the drafting and revising stuff, but the thoughts that go into all those drafts and revisions.  All the brainstorming and just word vomiting onto paper for weeks before finding your subject or tone or voice.

It’s why I try hard to assign a type of essay and not give a specific prompt.

I want my students to learn what they know and what they don’t know and what makes them happy and confused and angry by writing through it all.

 
Blogging To End Hunger

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