Thursday, June 14, 2012

Identity

The following was written as a piece of Sacred Writing June 9, 2008 during the Southern Colorado Writing Project at Colorado State University-Pueblo.

My fellow SCWP teacher consultants
2008

Identity

late starter - late bloomer - saving the best for last.
Middle child

Second wife - first in his heart

Mother of five
Grandmother of seven

Teacher
Reader
Gardener
Friend
Do I dare say writer?

Strong minded - ok, I guess I am really just stubborn and strong willed.
Independent
Thoughtful
Full of thoughts
Reflective

Authentic - notice the curly, silver hair

Fun & crazy at times
Drama queen?

Supporter & best friend to my husband

Healer of relationships
Faithful
Encourager
Thinker

Woman of faith

Eclectic - especially in decorating. If I like it, it fits.

Find my identity mostly in my life at home and in my family more than in my career.
Struggled many times in my new identity when I married my husband, moved to his town, and felt I lost mine.

******

I loved the summer I finally was able to participate in the Southern Colorado Writing Project.  The opportunity to participate in SCWP, a member of the National Writing Project, had long been a goal of mine.  I just never could fit the project into my busy schedule until the summer after I retired.  Being a part of the writing project was one of the most transformative experiences I have ever had personally and professionally.  If you are a teacher and if you ever get a chance to participate in such an initiative, do so.  Just make sure that the writing project that you join is a part of the National Writing Project.  Your teaching and your writing life will never be the same.

Every morning when we first arrived at class, we would find a writing prompt on the board.  This morning writing practice time was called "sacred writing."  I recently found my notebook from that summer.  The writing sample above was one I wrote at that time.

Sacred writing time was just that: sacred.  We were supposed to come into class.  Look at the prompt.  Then, we were to write for 15 minutes until the leader told us our time was up.  Part of the goal of this activity is to model an exercise that teachers can and should implement in their own classrooms.  It is a wonderful activity for beginning a class.  It can be done while the teacher is taking roll.  I think it is best done with the teacher also writing during the 15 minutes.  This way modeling is done by the teacher.

After the 15 minutes are up, the teacher should ask if anyone wants to share.  No response to the reading by others should be done other than to say, "Thank you."  This time is sacred.  The writing is sacred.  It does not have to be shared and should not generate a spoken response.  This builds the writer's confidence when the writer does not have to fear a negative response.

 So many times during sacred writing, I was just getting started with my writing, or just coming up with an idea on how to respond to the prompt when it was time to put our pencils down and stop writing.  Forced focus is not a bad thing.  It causes one to write quickly and capture initial thoughts and impressions.  The goal is not to turn out a polished piece of writing.  This practice not only taught me focus, and it also taught me to recognize that a writer must let go of the idea that every piece of writing is a final draft.  These prompts could in fact become the starting place for larger pieces of writing.  I have always wanted to go back to these writings and see what I might do with them if I took more time and developed the ideas that been generated quickly more in depth.

I guess these responses to prompts are sketches.  How many times do we as writers take the time to sketch?  I don't think I do often enough.  I think my writing could be developed more if I took the time to do some sketching.

For today, I am sharing a quick piece of writing that I wrote four years ago.  How would I respond to this same prompt of "identity" today?  I know the response would be very different.  I guess it is an area of exploration that I can work on in my journal.


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