Incredibly to me, this is my 100th post on fireflytrails. What began as a wish a few months back when I accepted the March Slice of Life Writing Challenge has become a habit that I just can’t shake. In fact, this writing has become nourishing and medicinal for me in ways that I never would have believed.
At first I thought – I knew – that I didn’t have time to write every day. As I began to find that time, and sometimes make that time, I then learned that I no longer had time for those other things that I previously thought were so important.
I have begun to see things differently, with the eye of someone who wants to notice things and remember enough details to share these findings with others. I have taken pictures of discoveries and things that cause me to think, even though I often use the pictures only to help me with my writing, rather than to supplement the posted piece.
In conversations, when I tell about an event or recall a story from the past, I’ll often say, “That sounds like a good tale for fireflytrails.” I have come to understand – and I continue to learn – that even a story about a specific individual can be written with a universal voice. And I find that readers connect with pieces that relate to their own stations in life, even when I make it strictly personal (and use too many “I’s” and “we’s”).
(Two asides about this before I go on: 1) Lucy Calkins is so right (of course!) about beginning your writing experiences by telling small moments. The pieces I am most pleased with, the ones that reflect my potential as a writer, these are the essence of small moment writing; and 2) I understand that the Common Core standards are text-based, and certainly that should be a focus, but don’t tell me that connections don’t matter, or that prior knowledge isn’t a huge piece of how we comprehend our reading.)
I have also discovered the value – the true worth – of the comments that readers have made. I never thought about this in the beginning, and I would have never believed how significant the comments would be. But now I know.
It means that someone read what I wrote. (How great is that?!?) And then he or she took the time to write their thinking about what they read. (Awesome, isn’t it?) The comments I have received have made me smile, cry, think, and reflect. The validation is so important, but so is the growth and revision that these comments have inspired.
I am also learning that there are many ways to tell a tale. I have investigated points of view, perspectives, formats, and word choice enough to know that there is a world of possibilities out there, and I want to continue that journey for a long time.
When I read the acknowledgements in a book I notice that the author thanks his or her editor. I never comprehended that – and I still don’t have a deep understanding – but now I do at least have a clue. I value the eyes of others on my writing, and so many times people have responded with words I wish I had included in my original piece. So I’m thinking an editor must be something like that, and so much more.
I can’t thank Stacy and Ruth of Two Writing Teachers enough for hosting their blog and encouraging others to write. The community that I have discovered here is an important part of my life, even though I have never personally met any of these writers. (But I may know some of them better than I know my face-to-face friends, because so many have shared their inner thoughts and feelings – who they really are – in their posts.)
There are so many OTHER useful and inspiring parts of Two Writing Teachers, too. (Go ahead and check it out now!) It restores my faith in so many things – education, parenting, literacy – to know that these two women have decided to make a difference and promote what’s important just because it’s the right thing to do.
So I have done something I never thought I could do. One hundred posts! Deep down I know that writing was always a dream of mine, just waiting to spread its wings and fly. Now I am learning what hard work is required to just stretch those wings. And I hope, with God’s grace, to keep easing that dream out of the nest. With lots of hard work and more of His inspiration, I hope that my dream will be able to fly – maybe soar – someday, too.