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

Saturday, June 21, 2014

In which I CELEBRATE people

celebrate on Saturdays with Ruth Ayres and friends
This Tuesday I met with my new writing group.  We started meeting as soon as school got out with the purpose of holding each other accountable and giving each other feedback on longer, more substantial writing projects.  We get so much more out of these meetings than we originally intended.  So, this week I celebrate each of my writing group members

I celebrate Mark (my husband, a 7th and 8th grade social studies teacher) for knowing when to provide comic relief and when to give serious feedback, for working hard at writing, for being brave enough and determined enough to share his writing first.

I celebrate Jessica (6th grade language arts teacher) for expert advice that is thorough and portable, for her loyal use of legal pads and fountain-nib pens, for responding straight from her writer’s heart to ours, for keeping us on track with meeting invites and agendas.

I celebrate David (8th grade social studies teacher) for his unmatched collection and use of meaningful quotations in his writing, for knowing each member of our group as individuals enough to seek glimpses of our selves in our writing, for his ridiculous optimism.

I celebrate Kristen (6th grade language arts teacher) for sending me feedback this week even though a sick child prevented her from attending our meeting, for her bold determination to quiet the monster voice in her head and listen to the writerly voice instead (reference to this post by Ruth Ayres—one of the Two Writing Teachers who created the blog where it can be found), for starting a blog of her own this year.

This week I also attended the All-Write Summer Institute!  Today I celebrate all the amazing people who came together to learn, to teach, to speak, to listen, to grow.  Here are many highlights that still don’t begin to cover everyone:

I celebrate Ruth for coordinating the Wednesday night dinner (and many other special meals), for being gritty enough and talented enough to deliver a keynote so personal and meaningful and that the audience barely breathed while she spoke for fear of missing a beat, for a million little moments where I witnessed the truth of The Other Ruth’s words: [Ruth Ayres] is real.

I celebrate Mary Helen for bravely presenting to a room spilling over with people, for breaking down the process of finding mini-lessons so clearly, for smiling every single time I saw her.

I celebrate Tammy for being simply the BEST storyteller ever—especially when it comes to raising chickens, hunting bees, fly fishing, and caring for ducks.

I celebrate elsie for her talent in jewelry design and construction, for her incredible kindness in sharing that talent—in the form of two beautiful bracelets, for making me feel special by knowing my one little word, for being an inquisitive scholar of Twitter.

I celebrate Linda for her dedication to helping others grow, for driving me around—providing the incredibly special treat of having her all to myself, for sharing stories of family and school life that remind me how much better I am for knowing her.

I celebrate Kim for immediately being the kind of person I can run down while browsing books, for laughing at the things I find funny, for Pepper Jack.

I celebrate Jen for sharing my love of all things Kelly Gallagher—so much so that we bonded over shared dread for the end of his sessions, for making me guess her age and proving I am not as old as I feel, for starting a blog since coming to All-Write last year.

I celebrate Becca for having written one of the most genuine thank you notes I’ve ever received, for reaching out by sending me friendly texts that make me hopeful we will continue to correspond throughout the coming school year, for sharing my vision of what kids need.

I celebrate Leigh Anne for attending All-Write with her daughter—reminding me how much I love to spend time with my mom, for joining me during Kelly Gallagher’s morning session (everything is more fun with a friend)


  1. Thank you, Christy, for being "with" me for some precious talk, & for such a loving post. I finally made it home & am trying to catch up a little before bed calls strongly! It was a grand time, & I'm so happy to know you, wish we were closer so I could come see you teach! Best for a really happy summer!

  2. Such a lovely thank you speech. Seeing the pics and reading about AllWrite I can feel what a wonderful experience it was for everyone. How exciting that you are working on a longer writing piece with a support of a writing group. I am curious what you are writing, but I'll wait till you are ready to share.

  3. Words are so powerful and I love how you used them to encourage and build up the people in your life!

  4. What a beautiful post, Christy! As I was reading it, I thought to myself, "Wait! I know these people from All Write!" This was my first time attending and I was all by myself. Every one of these people you mentioned made me feel welcome and like an old friend. (I think I sat a few people down from you at dinner on Wednesday.) I love that you have started a writing group. I would like to do that. How did you get it started? Thanks again for this wonderful reflection!

    Sweet Writing Life
    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  5. Oh Christy, you are such an eloquent writer and you have zoomed in on the heart of each person. This was a celebration extraordinaire!

  6. Enjoy your new writing group. I love how you started with "I celebrate..."

  7. Thank you for mentioning me in your highlights of All Write! It was certainly a celebration, but also a blur because it went so fast. So many people I wish I would have been able to talk to. I will certainly keep in touch with you as I move into my new position. Also, I am not sure how Kristen became "my daughter" but she is a colleague...although I am old enough to be her mother. You weren't the only who has said this. :)

  8. I know (from my own experience:) that each one you mentioned celebrates you back. It is a gift to know YOU!