I, my caped friends, have been writing up a storm.
You see, I finally had a chance to take part in a National Writing Project Summer Institute. I’ve been stalking the NWP sites in each state and city I’ve lived in for the past 10 years. The Northwest Inland Writing Project, the Oregon Writing Project at EOU, and now, the San Diego Area Writing Project. This Summer, at last, I put aside my Summer-School-Principal hat, ignored pleas to take that Summer vacation I always promise, and grabbed the opportunity to take part in the SDAWP Summer Institute.
As you may have read in previous posts (you HAVE read them, haven’t you?), I had a long Spring. I was “in the weeds” and kept telling myself that if I made it to the end of the school year, I could relax and enjoy the Summer Institute. Those of you that have taken part in an NWP Summer Institute may already be laughing at me. Enjoy? Yes. Relax? Um…. No. Not even the tiniest little bit.
It took me a good week to get going, and by the then the SI was a quarter of the way finished, I had been spoken to twice about my participation (lateness and risk-taking were the topics), and was feeling a day late and a dollar short.
I spent the second week moving double-time to catch up. I was on-point in every discussion, I shared my writing and my thoughts at every opportunity. And then… more feedback. I had gone too far the other way. I had burst on to the SI scene a week late with too much energy. My processing time was too quick. Other participants weren’t able to form their thoughts because mine kept popping out too quickly. I was chagrined. Coming from a family of socially quiet people, being told I talk too much felt like a body slam. I understood, I agreed, but I was... embarrassed. In my eagerness and wonder at learning so many new things, I had made a social faux paux. I hate making mistakes in front of people. BUT, I am grateful for the learning.
I entered the third week having banked the fire of participation to a dull roar. I paid attention to the group, measured my own responses to make sure the more quiet members had a chance to speak up, and shared less. That week I wrote more, and talked less. I presented my demo and took part in the Author's Chair. I suppose I actually spoke as much, but more thoughtfully. It was a better week as far as social faux pauxs (faux pauxes?) go, and the incredible amount of learning and writing continued.
Now I am finishing the fourth and final week. Today I turned in a bumper-load of writing. Fifteen pages or so of writing I actually care about. I wrote more than that for my NBPTS renewal this Spring, but these fifteen pages are more a part of me than what I had to turn in to the National Board this Spring. Don't get me wrong, the reflection NBPTS renewal is healthy and good. I recommend it. But this writing, this is from ME. From my heart and my mind sitting right out on a limb.
So, while my blog has been dismal and lonely, my brain is chock full of things--learning, thoughts, things to share. Get ready my caped friends, I think this may be a big year.