The other day I found this rough writing from a March 2014 notebook, when I was drafting the intro to The Cabin's Writers in the Schools Cambia Anthology for that year. I love my WITS writers, and because they are so important to me, sometimes get a bit nervous preparing for a new 12 week session with them.
As I started a new playwriting residency at Trail Wind Elementary this week, these thank yous were a needed reminder. Yes for me as a teaching writer - and even more for me as a writer, a person, a being on earth.
Dear Young Writers,
Thank you for showing me the way to the moon.
How many meters it may be. How many footsteps. Banana peels.
Thank you for finding the smell of the color red
And the difference between watermelon and firetruck.
Or red like a journey through Berlin.
You put hearts and fingernails on lines of paper.
Even when you knew before we met, before that first day I walked in your classroom of 25,
You knew how much you hated writing.
You knew it was the last thing you could consider fun.
It wasn't something you felt like doing.
But you picked up your pencil.
One word at a time, one sentence, one page, you put down your story.
Your fantasy world. Your forgotten memory.
You brought it to me with both hands, shrugging and grinning and whispering.
You shared it like it was the best story ever written, because I asked you to share it that way.
That takes courage.
It takes kind generosity to offer yourself up - and not only on the page.
Because I ask you to get up and dance writing. And find the music in writing.
And discover your classroom all over again, as though you haven't already been there all year,
Avoiding the walls.
When I watch you discover this space you already know,
Something locked within me breaks open, and I remember
The cherished gratitude that exists in the room.
Because of that trust you exhibit.
So. Thank you.
If you learned a tenth of what I did visiting your classroom, watching you learn,
Then I know my hope for this world and this new generation of creative people
Is well placed.
It is an honor to work with each and every one of you.
Thank you for your work.
These students teach me a ton every year, every day I work with them. They remind me of the joy of writing, the fun silliness of creating, and also of the hardship and frustrating pain of it. They teach me all those traits can exist together in one thing and that's okay. Most of all, they show me how to be a beginner again and again and again - something I hope to never forget.
I'm sure grateful to you, my young friends in art.
Process notes on a work in progress. This page serves to invite you into the way I work, with intermittent posts to show you the hows and whys on the whats I make.