Am I a writer? – aTi 2014

There are some people in our class who write constantly and don’t hesitate when calling themselves writers. I am not one of those people. I admitted that I am not sure that writing is something I need to do. When I think about it, while I enjoy the work I do at aTi, if I never wrote another poem, I’m not sure it would be devastating. I might get the shakes, however, if I never read another book. Peter offered my repeated attendance at aTi as the answer to that question. When I was talking to my friend about it, I confessed that maybe I’m just scared to need or want to write. I am very famous for living in my controlled comfort zone.

Even while I am so hesitant to call myself a writer, it is what we expect our students to be. How few of us are actually writing though? I would totally judge an ELA teacher if they told me they were not reading. It never gave me pause that the same should be true of writing. I am also responsible for teaching that as well. And if I am not writing, it should be the equivalent outrage if I were not reading.

This was the first year that I was not scared of running out of ideas to write about. Previously, this had been a gnawing concern. I am not one who has a never-ending supply ideas. On a few occasions I have gotten a thread of a poem I hold on to it for aTi in case I need it. I have come to accept this as an irrational fear. This is the first year I am leaving aTi with additional ideas for poems that I will pursue on my own.

The more I write the more I become aware of my style and the circumstances I need to write. I watched a participant write while on a bench surrounded by a crowd on the Atlantic City Boardwalk while waiting for a laser show to begin. I envy the ability to block out all that external stimuli and to be able to focus. Whenever Peter gave us writing time, I always left and went back in my room or if I was around people during studio time in the evening I needed my ear buds in to block things out. I am not sure if writing more frequently would change these needs or if I will always find myself distracted by the other.

Even though I find myself composing in isolation, writing cannot stay that way. It was so valuable to bring my drafts back to the group. Jackie and I discussed sending things to each other throughout the school year, which is great but also daunting, because teaching is life consuming. This year will be a little less frantic than last year, because I am teaching one less prep and will have a more streamlined group of students. I am hoping that this will allow me to incorporate more of the writing that I used to do. I think Peter mentioned that if we are grading or even seeing everything our students are writing then they aren’t writing enough.

 

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