a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


The Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by Two Writing Teachers
I have to admit that Ruth’s post about teaching opinion writing in kindergarten totally rekindled my desire to make a move to primary grades.  There is something magical about the work that can be done with our youngest readers and writers. 

But the part of her post that really called to me was this quote:

(click the link to see the drawing that accompanies his text)

At first glance, I chuckled to myself, thinking that Elijah sounded a lot like my 8th grade students at this point in the year—they just want to be done.  However, upon closer examination, this text is actually fraught with the wisdom of an old soul. 

The first sentence shows Elijah understands that writers create. He really gets that writing is an art.  Even now, after so many years, I catch myself acting as if writing is a means of proving learning as opposed to a way of developing understanding.  Elijah is wise. 

However the second sentence demonstrates an even greater wisdom.  Elijah understands that writing is a process.  He understands that there are steps, including finishing.  But most stunning to me is that Elijah understands that the true gratification in writing comes not from the writing itself, but rather the having written.  Yes, Elijah is wise—Elijah is a writer.


  1. Yes there is satisfaction in having written. Perhaps that is one of the parts we like the best! Thanks for a thoughtful post.

  2. You should totally teach primary grades! (I think everyone should...) I love how you've broken down Elijah's wisdom. Knowing well how kindergarteners work, they really do "make" their writing--patching together a little from here, a little from there--working so hard with the few tools they've got to represent the vast worlds they have inside them...

  3. YES! you should teach the primary grades FIRST grade is the best. You should teach primary grades in a small school in Oklahoma...I know just the place! We'd have great FUN!

  4. Wow - great insights! I love how you truly took Elijah's words and looked beyond, searched deep, and understood him. If you were teaching primary, I would have loved to be a fly on the wall in your classroom as you were conferring with Elijah. :)

  5. My thinking must have been very slow today. Elijah is wiser than me, and you are super at inferring and understanding young writers.

  6. The drive to have written goes deep. Thanks for sharing your insights.

  7. Amen!
    And as someone who has spent the majority of her classroom years among the young ones...come over to the dark side (can you tell we are Star Wars folk at our house?)...you won't regret it!

  8. And Elijah is a little boy most would overlook and say, "He just doesn't 'get' school." You've never met him, though, and you've realize how remarkable he truly is. Thanks for taking the time to highlight his thinking.

  9. Wow, Christy what an incredible intuitive analysis of that sentence. I'm impressed with your work in this, & you are right. Do you know the book Lessons From A Child by Lucy Calkins? She studied & wrote about writing/students this way. Thanks for all your wisdom. I always take away something from you, in addition to the pure enjoyment.