You look at me and wonder, “What on earth does this strange way of approaching story writing have to do with school?“
You hand me a blank page.
Although there are no words written, I read the message on your face, “I’m done.”
Here’s the thing.
You are NOT a blank page to me.
When I was a kid I loved books but didn’t read them much.
I would hold them, flip through them, marvel at their structure but rarely read them.
It was hard to concentrate for me.
I was always onto the next idea.
I couldn’t stop talking. I drove my teachers crazy.
One day in high school a teacher confessed to me what she really thought about my writing,
“It’s grammatically correct.”
She continued, “Your work doesn’t compare to (I won’t mention the student’s name). Now, SHE’S a writer.”
I didn’t write another word for many years.
My confidence was stripped with one statement.
Was she being helpful? She thought so.
She assumed I had the maturity to accept the criticism but I was like glass.
I forgive her now.
She was probably right but what I really needed was a comrade. I needed someone to help me do better.
You are NOT a blank page.
I am on the journey with you.
Here’s the secret....YOU are MY teacher.
Together we will fill that empty white sheet with nonsense and some sense and who knows what?
Together we will throw away your eraser and make big crosses over terrible ideas that will be fantastic in a week!
Together we will laugh often at how messy creation really is.
And you will wonder again, why I do what I do but this time you will be a little more curious, a little more willing to open one small door.
And then, one day, when I sidle up to you with your journal in my hand I will thank you for your work.
You will look at me stunned.
“You really liked it?” You will ask. “Why?”
“Because it is YOUR voice,” I will explain keeping a copy forever.
And that, dear student, gives ME courage to keep creating.