The Habit of Writing

Back to the Habit of Writing

After a few weeks, I am happy to share a post today for Two Writing Teacher’s Slice of Life (SOL)Tuesday. Two weeks ago, I returned from a week’s vacation with my family. Just as I am getting back into the habit of eating well, going to the gym and practicing yoga, I am stepping back into the habit of blogging. For me, writing daily is a practice and like going to the gym, it is easy to let 1 week away become 2 months. So I offer a poem I wrote beside a group of 11th grade Special Education students this morning. That it needs polishing is not important to me. What matters is returning to my writing practice.

About the poem:

I was introduced to Walter Dean Myers 18 years ago when I read his book Monster. As a young teacher in New York City with a rural upbringing, city life and the challenges of some minority populations was new to me. I remember being totally captivated by the story of 16 year old Steve Harman who is on trial for murder. Written as a screenplay, the book tells the harrowing tale of Steve’s experiences in prison and the fight for his life. I remember borrowing the book from the classroom library where I taught summer school and having to return it before I had finished the book. I was so anxious to learn Steve’s fate that I walked 15 blocks in NYC’s summer heat to Barnes and Noble where I bought the copy that I hold in my hands today. Fast forward 18 years and I am a literacy coach collaborating with a high school ELA teacher whose students are reading Monster. I reread it this weekend. Today I wrote this poem.

 

Monster

Memories of trudging up Broadway

In 99 degree heat

Swimming through a sea of moisture

Famous to NYC summers

to

Barnes and Noble by Lincoln Center

Just to find out how

Steve’s fate

Guilty or

Not guilty?

Future or

No future?

 

Reading annotations

18 year old post-its

Notes from a younger self

Reveal my naive

Young eyes

Processing the realities

Of life.

 

5 thoughts on “The Habit of Writing”

  1. I like your comparison between writing regularly and other good habits. I didn’t understand the value of writing daily until I tried it, starting three months ago, I have found the task to be usually engaging and sometimes enlightening — well worth the time.

    Also, you have intrigued me with your enthusiasm for Monster. I plan to check it out from the library. I just listened to an audiobook of a great drama entitled Twelve Angry Men, about a jury considering the verdict for a man on trial for murder. Monster might be a good tie in, looking at the issue from a different perspective.

  2. How fun to have the copy you purchased 18 years ago with your annotated post-it notes. I love the poem you wrote. I have fond memories of hearing Walter Dean Meyers speak at the National Book Festival in 2012. Congrats on getting back in the writing habit!

  3. Getting into the swing of writing is an ever-present challenge for me even when I am in the swing. This reminds me to get back into journaling actually. I’ve been working on it once a month or once a week, but I used to do it daily.

  4. What a lovely artifact to have from an early part of your career! Looking back and being able to recognize our previous thinking and processing can be such a valuable exercise. I have not yet read Monster and now I suppose I’ll have to. Thanks!

  5. How powerful this is – the lure of reading, the need to know – and how it fed your writing, even then; the words and experience pour forth now like perfectly-aged wine. I keep thinking you’ve walked a full circle, indeed. I’ve no doubt that you spark a true passion for reading and writing in your (fortunate) students. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *