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

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Two Writing Teachers and Me

I think it was about 5 years ago when I discovered the Two Writing Teachers website.  It was before they were located at this current Wordpress blog, I know that much. 

I believe I googled Nancie Atwell blog in attempt to find others who were implementing her ideas in their classrooms.  I was searching for support.   I am sure one of the posts from Ruth popped up and followed the link to read more.  I liked what I read, so I bookmarked the Two Writing Teachers blog in my toolbar. 

Before long, I realized I was returning to the site daily to read each post.  And I was actually using the ideas I gained.    This may not sound significant to anyone else, but in my world, finding a like-minded mentor or guide outside of professional books was beyond significant. 

So, for probably about 2 years I continued to read the blog and the comments other people made, excited to have found such an incredible resource, but afraid to jump in and sound stupid.

Finally, I decided to try out the slice of life challenge.  The first year, I started my own blog with the best of intentions, but I blundered so many things that I am surprised Ruth and Stacey even allowed me to participate the following year!  I was a disaster.  I struggled to find time to write, so I often missed the Eastern Time Zone deadline.  I didn’t understand the term “specific URL,” so Stacey had to redirect me multiple times.  I read lots of slices about which I never commented because I couldn’t think of something clever enough to say.  I eventually gave up and chalked the first year up to experience. 

That experience I gained as a first-time slicer made me braver about making comments, made me hunger for my very own writing life, made me reach for more.

It is hard to believe that three years after my first attempt at slicing, I make rambling comments without giving it a second thought, I have my very own writing life—one I share with my husband, and I am grateful for the “more” in my life for which I have Two Writing Teachers to thank. 

I am not sure it is even possible to trace all of the aspects of my daily existence that are impacted by the Two Writing Teachers and the community they have created.  I know that snippets of blog posts, hints of ideas about which I’ve read, enter my mind throughout my days.  I know I make minuscule shifts in my teaching, my writing, my living based on these nuggets of inspiration.  Each shift becomes a ripple that has a lasting effect.  

I wonder if Ruth and Stacey had any idea when they embarked on this professional growth endeavor of blogging, how BIG it would become to so many people.  Their dedication to sharing their professional knowledge and personal writing lives is an enormous gift to the world.  An enormous gift to my world. 


  1. I wonder too whether Stacy and Ruth know how many people and how much they have influenced. The change they have brought to the lives of teachers and their students, the connections and friendships that have formed because of them. We can keep saying thank you, but it will never be big enough. I hope that they read your post today.

  2. As Terje said, the ripples flow ever outward, Christy. I like hearing about the beginnings of your blogging. It is a blessing to us all to find like-minded thinkers about education. I always enjoy hearing what you have to say about what goes on in your classroom. And Stacey and Ruth are a key that opened up our lives to such a wonderful group that enhances not only our teaching, but our lives. Thanks for this today, no April fool you!

  3. I only found Ruth and Stacey last year, but like you, finding like minded teachers has changed many things in my teaching. I know I am much more reflective in my teaching and that has to make me a better one. And then there are my new friends like you and Linda who mean as much to me as the friends I see every day....

    Ruth and Stacey have created a wonderful teaching world...do you think they get it? I'll bet they do.

  4. I too am still overwhelmed by the draw of the SOL sharing community. Like you, I was a lurker for a long time and really did not think of myself as worthy of participation; however, I felt compelled to try. Early on I said to my husband at dinner, "There aer people out there like me." I have already become more awared of my teaching and have gained a host of friends during a month that here-to-fore meant nothing but some basketball games!
    I am grateful that we took the leap of faith and were welcomed by those who already knew the gifts that would come our way!

  5. Look at you now, it's the journey we take that teaches us the most. You have an amazing blog and your thoughts are so eloquent. I love to read your posts.

  6. I'm so glad you slice and that Ruth encouraged me to slice. It's by slicing that we have connected. You write beautifully and are a mentor to me through your writing. I appreciate your kind words in comments to me and others. Yeah for TWT.

  7. Dear Christy,
    Sending you a hug. Thursday is very close.

  8. Hi Christy this is Tammy from Klinger Cafe just checking in on you to see if everything (mostly if you are)is ok I haven't seen you on here lately and miss reading your posts. Or are you just crazy busy like me??
    Hoping all is well. Sending a hug!

    First Grade @ Klinger Cafe

  9. Christy,
    I also have been changed by the SOLSC. I have always wanted to write, but never felt good enough. Writing every day helped me to stop seeking perfection, and just click the publish button.
    Thank you for donating the prizes for the Challenge. I won one of the four prizes you donated.
    All of them are wonderful. But, pretty please, may I have the framed artwork you created? The other three are for me to be creative with. But I would love something that you made :)

  10. People miss you. Hope all is well and we read more of you soon.

  11. This was my first year to do the Slice of Life Challenge, and it has changed me, also, in so many ways. Thank you for putting words to my thoughts - "I am grateful for the “more” in my life for which I have Two Writing Teachers to thank." Your words are clear and true and I look forward to reading more of them!

  12. Uh-oh. Our website. Believe it or not we're getting rid of it soon due to some changes Microsoft Office is going through. We don't really use the website all that much and we've decided we don't really need it.

    Alas, I digress from saying THANK YOU for your kind words and for the recognition you gave us. The SOLSC is truly a labor of love. Parts of it can be tedious at times (just like anything in life), but the positive things that come from it are incredible. I love the community it has created and I truly love how the community continues to grow year after year.

    Thank you for sticking through the initial tough parts of the challenge Christy. You're such a valued member of this community!

  13. Christy --
    Here I am catching up (and yes, trying not to feel guilty about what I've NOT done...you know this, right?) and here's this beautiful post. I'm touched, deeply, genuinely touched. As for the questions -- "Does Ruth know?" -- not really. I'm just a regular girl who wants people to tell their stories. It's your story and their stories that are going to change the world. Mostly, I'm just humbled to light a spark.
    Thank you,