Yesterday, at the National Writing Project General Assembly, more than 1,000 NWP teachers gathered together in one huge hall, and that in itself is a powerful experience to be part of. NWP Executive Director Sharon Washington and others urged us to remain positive in the face of increasing negative scrutiny from Washington and the national media, and to remember that it is our students — those young minds and hearts — that need our attention and nurturing.
The keynote speaker was Donalyn Miller (aka The Book Whisperer) who emotionally gave us a view of her history as a writer, and how difficult it is for her, and how her connection to the NWP helped find her a place to be and to thrive. She also brought us inside her classroom for a bit, too and all that added to a powerful keynote. (I am including a brief excerpt of her presentation here).
At the end of the assembly, Sharon Washington urged us to write (the silence of 1000 people writing together is an incredible moment) about the times when we emerged from our own difficult times in writing.
I wrote a poem about my first days at my own Summer Institute, and how the possibilities of writing opened up for me in new ways, and has never left.
I remember the room –
the nervous energy,
of wondering how it was
that so much of our days
would be carved out of words
but did not question
streams of stories
I wrote what had been set aside
somewhere inside of me,
waiting for the space with which
I wrote as if the summer would never end
and I’ve never stopped writing
Peace (in the sharing),