I am a writer. There. I said it. It has taken me years to be able to say this about myself, though, truly, I always have been. As a senior in high school, my English teacher Mr. Callis said my final analysis paper was "stupendous" and that some of the analysis was "awe-inspiring." Coming from him, who did not lavish praise just for the sake of doing so, this meant everything to me. Still, I had no confidence as a writer. In Advanced Comp class in college, one piece I shared had my professor and classmates rolling with laughter, asking to hear more. Still, I didn't think I was any good.
Then came the National Writing Project. I stalked this organization for 7 years before finding a local site, and was accepted into their Invitational Summer Institute in 2007. It changed me. Professionally. Personally. Finally, I was starting to see myself as a writer. In 2008 an essay I collaborated on with my graduate Shakespeare class was published in a scholarly journal, and finding an audience for my work became important, but still scary for me. It's hard to share something so personal as writing with people. I wrote a memoir for my final graduate class that caused my professor to claim "I was wondering why a rhet comp person was taking a creative writing class. I get it now." Most of that piece was eaten my by computer, and I could cry about it at pretty much any time. Still, Dr. Rigby was the only person to read it.
That same semester my Advanced Comp teacher from so many years before stopped me in Cherry Hall. "I had you in class, didn't I?" he asked. "You write that wonderful piece about the tire swing and loving language..." Validation. It had been 8 years since that class, and yet he remembered it. He who read hundreds of student essays a term. My writing had made an impression on him, and that simple comment changed how I respond to student work and made me seek opportunities to publish.
And so this summer during ISI, I finally wrote about my experience with epilepsy. When the time was right, it wrote itself. I'm so proud of this piece, as it was the first time I consciously tried to incorporate the styles of mentor authors (Laurie Halse Anderson, specifically, If you haven't read her, go to B&N NOW), and really worked at revision even though little changed in the end. And though I wrote it for myself, others appreciated it, too. My friend Shannon, who I regard as one of the best writers I have ever known, told me my writing was some of the only work she was able to listen to aloud without her mind drifting. The comments on the NWP eAnthology were glowingly supportive.
And then, in late July, an email came asking me to submit my piece to the National Gallery of Writing. I have no idea how many pieces were solicited, but I was and am honored to have been asked. Today, the first National Day on Writing, my memoir "Falling" is published in the gallery for all to see. I hope you will read it. I hope you will write today. Writing is thinking. It is therapy. It is essential.
I have really tried hard to steer Avery away from characters. And princesses. Especially princesses. You see, I teach 16 and 17 year old girls, many of whom have been told their whole lives that they are princesses, and they believe it. I really do not want that for Avery. But I am not the only one who buys her things. I've stood firm on character clothing (underwear only), but we now have several dressup boxes filled with princess clothes and at least 5 Disney princess dolls. I tried.
This desire to avoid the commercial also applies to Halloween costumes; so far she has been a bumble bee, a flower and a butterfly. This year, though, she really wanted to be Tinkerbell. She has been in love with this little fairy for over a year, and since Avery is pixie petite herself, I decided to go with it. Besides, she's not a princess. I'm going to Hobby Lobby in a little bit to shop for supplies for her costume, but in the meantime I thought I'd post a little Tinksperation...
Pretty cute, huh? I would love those green glitter shoes for Ave, but the Disney Store is sold out of them. We'll just use her "Tinkerbell shoes" (pewter mary janes from Target--they go with everything). One thing I hate about Disney costumes is that they put a picture of the character on the costume. Something about that is just off to me. Besides, few costumes fit Avery. At three and a half, she wears an 18-24 month in most clothes. It's just easier for me to make them. They fit and meet my standards.
For this costume I'm going with a tutu dress cinched at the waist and some wings we already have. I'm going to attempt to make a lantern candy bag, but we'll see about that.
So what are your kids going to be this year? Leave a comment and let me know!!
I have been so frustrated by the way my blog was behaving in Firefox, especially since that is my favorite browser. I couldn't find a fix, even though I was pretty sure the problem was stemming from the change I made to make my header extend the width of the browser (which I LOVE, by the way). Since I am on Fall Break this week, I decided to devote some time to fixing this, and after finding another tutorial and backtracking everything, the layout finally seems to be working in FF. In the end I decided the problem was actually with something in the sidebar, which meant reinstallling EVERYTHING over there. That was a major pain, something I'm still not done with. But, after spending so much time redesigning my blog, I'm happy to have it looking right finally.
Check back tomorrow for another crafty post!