I have loved to write since I was a child. Before I entered Kindergarten, I remember pretending to have a notebook and scribbling in it to feel grown-up. My favorite part of elementary school was when I could escape into a story that I could tell myself, read or write.
I kept diaries and journals. I’d say hundreds of them. I would begin a new diary with earnest, writing every detail about my day until I’d eventually lose my zest and abruptly stop writing. A few months later, I’d start a new diary because it never occurred to me to not start a new one. Before I knew it, I had a stack of diaries, a few pages in each, that I couldn’t ever throw out.
I never thought I was a good writer in high school and college. I blamed myself for never mastering learning grammar and the fine art of punctuation. It wasn’t until I began to teach reading and writing to elementary age writers that I realized I should be kinder to myself.
I decided to apply for National Certification a few years into teaching. It was a tremendous amount of work, but I found writing the entries and explaining my teaching was my favorite part. After work, after dinner, after my children and husband were asleep, I’d head downstairs and sit at my computer and write for hours. I would start at the beginning each time and found I could always revise what I had written. As National Board teachers help one another, at one point I sent my entries to a teacher across the country. I was in shock when my pages returned to me with a gazillion of red marks. I began to love those red marks because her comments helped me to improve my writing in ways I would never have thought.
Like many educators, I spent five or six summers when I first started teaching, taking writing seminars at Teacher College in New York City. I loved every minute of those workshops as I got a chance to not only learn about how to teach writing, but to write myself. One time, my writing was chosen to present at the closing ceremony. It was a great honor and made me feel like a "real" writer.
A few summers ago I was accepted into a summer workshop through the Long Island Writing
Project and spent three weeks at Nassau Community College with two mentors and a dozen educators from college professors to Kindergarten teachers. It was the most exhilarating experience because much of the time was devoted to writing and sharing your writing. It was this experience that introduced me to Two Writing Teachers and the March Story Challenge.
As much as I love to write, I’m finding this March challenging. I am happy that I had promised myself that I would not pre-write entries, even if it would have made the writing easier on me, but to write about something that felt important each day of March. As slicers know, it’s hard. I never have anything I think I want to write about and then somehow as I sit to write, something ends up on the page that feels important. I promised myself I would not get obsessive and rewrite everything like I usually do. I wanted to let my writing go free and enjoy the experience.
As I sat down to write today I began to think about the people who write for a living. What if they are not in the mood or don’t feel creative? They still have to write. They must produce. I can’t begin to imagine how difficult that would be.
Sea glass, found on beaches, is naturally worn and smooth by tide and time,. As a mother & teacher, reader & life-long learner, and of course, sea glass collector, I aspire to use writing to help me understand myself and the world around me.