Penny Kittle encouraged us as teachers to “write beside them”. In fact, when she signed my book that’s the message she gave me: “Amy: Write with your students and write for yourself”. She challenged us to write for 15 minutes each day for the rest of the summer…and I have taken that challenge. Most of that writing has been on this blog, but Penny also encouraged us to keep a writing notebook like we have our kids do. A notebook where we can write just like them, and show them our process. So I stopped by Target and picked up a lime green composition notebook (BTW: School supplies are out at Target, and I still get that thrilly feeling inside when I walk up and down the aisles of pocket folders and washable markers. School supply shopping has always been one of my favorite things!)
Confession: I’ve been very intimidated by this notebook. How do I start? What do I write about? I have nothing to say! Hmmm, I wonder if this is how my kids feel? That notebook has been staring at me for a week. But, today, I started writing. And I decided this first entry could, and should, be shared.
I Used to Write
I used to write all the time–I remember buying my first journal when I was in 6th grade. It was a dusty red color with kittens on it. I filled that journal within the year.
I remember when my 6th grade English teacher gave us a writing assignment: Write a mystery. Mine was over 20 pages long.
I remember when my mom got back from a trip, she gave my sister a beautiful hardcover sketchbook, and gave me a beautiful hardcover writing journal. I spent hours writing in that book, dreaming of becoming an author. The stories that filled those pages were mostly copycats, shadows of books I had read and characters I loved. But to me, they were my stories.
I remember pouring my heart out into my beloved diary and feeling like it was the only place where I could really be myself. Those pages wouldn’t judge me, wouldn’t laugh at me, wouldn’t expect me to be something I wasn’t. They could keep my secrets.
I remember high school–the age of note writing. I remember I was a master note writer. I could effortlessly fill a piece of blue lined notebook paper with scribblings and nothings in sparkly gel pen. We would write them during class and pass them in the hallway, we thought our teachers didn’t know, but now I understand we weren’t that sneaky. It was so much easier for me to write than to talk, so I wrote a lot. I wrote to my friends, to myself, to the boy I liked–sometimes he got those notes, sometimes he didn’t.
What I don’t remember, is why I stopped writing. Why my life got too busy to put my pen to paper. Why my journals sit only partially filled, months and years between entries.
I remember when I used to write, when I had so much to say, and my pen danced across the page.