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, October 16, 2012

NATIONAL DAY ON WRITING {OCTOBER 20th}: thinking about my writing life

SLICE OF LIFE is hosted by Two {awesome} Writing Teachers

I convinced all of the teachers on my team to spend the first 5-10 minutes of class tomorrow sharing their writing lives with our students (secretly I suspect this is a conversation that will blossom into more than just 10 minutes, but I just asked for a mere 10 minute commitment…shhh!).  I believe sharing our writing lives will help form connections.  The teachers on my team have writing experiences that range from writing poetry to cope with life changes, journaling to sort out the tough stuff, and archiving to record family memories. 

As an 8th grade language arts teacher, I have been sharing my writing life with my students since the first day of school.  Given that tomorrow I want to participate along with my team members, I have been thinking about what I might share about my writing life that would be new to my students.

So I have been thinking about my writing life—about why I write, about my current writing life, and about how I got here.  These are some of my thoughts:

·      I blog and use Twitter to connect with other writers.  These connections have become vital to my professional growth and sustenance.

·      I have been writing for as long as I can remember.  I still have my writing portfolios from 4th and 5th grade, which is how I finally realized I had participated in an early form of writing workshop as a student.  I still have picture books that I wrote and illustrated as part of the young author’s contest from 4th through 8th grade. 

·      Writing has played a role in many of my friendships.  My friend Dena and I wrote notes back and forth in notebooks throughout our junior and senior years of high school.  My friend Lizabeth wrote me a poem when I moved out of state during my sophomore year.  I wrote snail mail letters back forth with my friend Ced from the time he moved out of state up until he died in a car accident at the end of sophomore year (I still have all of those letters).  My friend Beth and I worked together on countless writing projects in elementary school, including turning a picture book into a script for a play that we cast and directed during our lunch hour after begging for permission.  Most recently, the colleague of mine who moved to the ad center and I exchanged a card each day of her final week at school. 

·      Writing is part of my family’s history; I wrote about my grandpa’s writing past a while ago in this post.  When my parents went on vacation to Jamaica when I was a child, my mother left poems she had written for my sister and me to open each morning they were gone.  My sister gave me gifts of writing on many occasions throughout my childhood (however just because they were gifts, does not mean they were nice).

·      Reading plays an important role in my writing life.  I just cannot separate the two.

(I think this could blossom into a conversation that lasts more than 10 minutes.)

Writing matters to me, it matters to who I am and who I want to become.  Happy National Day on Writing!


  1. Great post, Christy. It's so important to share with our students our reading and writing lives. They need those role models. I'm constantly sharing with mine the things I have to write in my everyday life. Whether its lesson plans, letters to companies, Twitter or for reflection, they know I am a writer. Good for you for getting your team to share their writing lives.

  2. Writing is like breathing for you. What an awesome day for your students to learn more about their teachers' lives.

  3. I think that your students will love hearing all of this, & you will help them see that they do (have done) so much writing in their past too, or participated with another in it, perhaps this time via e-mail or Facebook. It's wonderful to hear all that you said, Christy. The letters you've kept are so special, and the little poems from your mother too. Thanks for telling us about your writing life. I agree that this may take more than 10 minutes!

  4. I wonder how your conversation went. I like that you didn't just speak about who you are now but brought in the writing connections with your family and friends. I hope that you dare to dream big when you think about your future. Happy Writing!

  5. My students are freaked out about how "messy" my writer's notebook is. They suffer under the delusion that it should be neater than it is. I wonder why...one look at my desk should give them the clue that I'm a pack rat for ideas, too...of course, the woman who gave me a pack r@ pin knows me too well.

  6. I love that you still have your grade and middle school writing. I, too, have some writing that dates as far back as 4th grade. It's a fiction story that makes me laugh (at how much I didn't know about writing back then) every time I read it.