Greetings from a first time slicer. As is typical of my life since becoming a mother 6 months ago, I’m three days late to the party. Please accept my apologies and know my heartfelt gratitude towards still be welcomed at the table.
My writing journey has taken me many places with its lulls and peaks like any other aspect of our lives. It was not until about six years ago when I got involved in my local community’s Writing Project site that I truly understood the energy and magnitude that comes with being a part of a larger writing community. Since then its power has gripped me in such a way that I will never be released (nor do I want to be).
Part of this journey has taught me that there is no cheaper nor non-judgmental therapy than a blank piece of paper and pencil. On the page sits only my voice. Bare and raw and ugly and eloquent and exposed and free and mine. And that–right there–that’s the power.
I have not always realized this. In fact, it was not until my adult life that I thought of writing as my voice. This statement is sad, but true. Up until then my only goal with writing was to get my papers back with as little red ink back on them as possible. It was not until I was a teacher of writing that I knew I had to make writing so much more for my students. See by this point the fire had been ignited within me and the 28 sets of eyes that stared at me each day were at risk of losing it all, and they had very little to lose to begin with. It was then that I realized writing was, or at least had the potential to be, their ticket. Sure, it may be a bit idealistic but these kids had voices that were silenced on a daily basis. And they had things to say. Important things. Real things. Intelligent things. Insightful things. Pointless things. But things. Things that if nothing else let them be heard and validated for the first time in their life.
It was then that my teaching did a 180. No longer was writing about filling in lines to fulfill the requirements of a five-paragraph essay. No, it just couldn’t be about that anymore. Not if writing was to be their ticket. And so our focus became what do you need to say and who needs to hear it? Tell them those things. Get them out. They are worth hearing. They are a part of you, and you matter. What you have to say matters. Speak, and speak loud. The world is listening.