Through school district that I work in I am taking a one credit class on writing. It is sort of a continuation of in-service days we had with the same instructor. We have to post a reflection once a month. Our first meeting was last night. The prompt that we were given is:
Here is where you can post your reflections for this month. It might be about what you are wondering about teaching of writing, an idea that came from class about our histories as writers or anything else that you want to reflect on in the area of writing.
What follows is the nonsense with which I responded . . . enjoy
I have a confession to make: I had to dig my writer’s notebook out from under a pile of books that I’ve recently read, or are currently reading. My last ‘entry’ was Nov 3rd, 2009. This doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing however, it also doesn’t mean that there haven’t been times when I wished I had it with me. I think that it ended up in that pile during a time when I was grading essays and my bag was crammed with paper and I had to make a choice, do I really want to start carrying three bags to school? The answer came to me quickly – no! So the notebook was taken out to make room for student work, a noble sacrifice for the notebook to make.
I have been writing though, I mentioned my sporadic blogging (I write it and publish it for the pleasure of. . . well I’m not sure that anyone reads it, much less enjoys it) and I have been using Facebook for my own little soap box. I should be using the blog for my soap box; the thing is that what I’m writing about I am trying to engage others in conversation about and with my limited (okay non-existent) audience the blog doesn’t fulfill that need. I was asked by another blogger (that’s one reader!!) if I would like to be a guest author on her blog that deals primarily with book reviews, but I really want to stick with my own blog – maybe it’s an ego thing. One draw to the blog is that I can access it easily as long as I have internet access, and I can’t run out of space. I know that when I fill up my notebook it will get put away somewhere (I don’t throw things out – much to the dismay and frustration of my wife) and I’ll forget about it and rarely look at it. The blog lets me organize my entries with categories and tags that make it easy to find a specific entry long after it’s been written.
Something that I realized during the histories as writers exercise: writing is cathartic for me. Now I knew that already but I didn’t really realize how early I started using writing to deal with what was going on in my life. In middle school I would write stories with ‘made up’ characters who were going through things that were remarkably similar to what I was going through at the time, to be honest it was mostly about girls and is pretty hilarious to read now. In high school I began to write poetry, again to deal with girls, but also to deal with the divorce of my parents. I never shared any of this writing, I wrote it in a journal and didn’t look at it again until years later. As an adult I write to organize my thoughts, to formulate how I feel about a subject, to relate a funny story. I still write poetry, mostly for my wife (haiku for her birthday), often for examples in class. I haven’t written a piece of fiction (unless you count some of the grad papers I wrote) for a very long time and I miss it. I want to incorporate more fiction writing opportunities for my students, and for me. The in class writings we do provide a time to write fiction but I haven’t asked them to pick one to develop, yet. The students want it, they ask me about it. I tell them that it’s a good idea and I’d like to do some creative writing pieces, but with all that the curriculum asks of me I don’t yet have the skills I need as a teacher to work it into the year.
Reading over what I’ve just written I see that it is a meandering piece that makes many stops along the way and has no real focus other than ‘writing’. I’ve always admired Kerouac’s and Burroughs‘, stream of consciousness style of writing, let’s pretend that’s what I was imitating. . .