Saturday, May 14, 2011


Today was our last full day in what's become known as "The Old House" and I've just finished packing up the last of my rows and rows of bookshelves. I saved the books for practically last and that seemed fitting as I sat on the floor surrounded by swirls of dust, old boxes and dented Rubber-maid tubs. Somewhere among the stacks and towers of love letters, diaries, poets, and (even) astrology I realized my whole life could be found in the pages all around me.

I think I needed to discover that today.

I don't know about you but I write in my books.  It's a horrible habit I hope I've instilled in all of you.  I underline, draw arrows, make notes, draw exclamation points and giant happy faces.  If I were to write the notes somewhere else I may never find them five years later when I pull the book off the shelf...

Today, I opened a book I'm sure I haven't opened since before we left Texas.  The notes inside are from the fall just before Ben when I was struggling to find my place in a new teaching assignment, struggling to reclaim my independence, and desperately trying to remember what it was like to be myself... by... myself.
"We cannot teach writing well unless we trust that there are real, human reasons to write.  As writers, what we all need more than anything else in the world is listeners, listeners who will respond with silent empathy, with sighs of recognition, with laughter and tears and questions and stories of their own...  Writers need to be heard.  The point is: To be heard - even if by one single person...  When we help children know that their lives do matter, we are teaching writing... 'What fascinating, amazing kids I have,' we think.  When we feel this way, we stand a chance of making a difference in their lives...'What do we do if our kids won't write?' 'First you have to love them.  If you can convince your children that you love them, then there's nothing you can't teach them."

Lucy Calkins is right you know, we write because we wish, more than anything, to be heard.

I'm lucky.

I have you

           and you listen.

Thank you .


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