This is part of Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life. Find out more, and join in here
George Bailey’s impassioned speech at the end of It’s A Wonderful Life keeps playing in my head, only it’s me, crying “Please! I want to write again! I want to read again! I want to run again!”
Moving has been, continues to be all consuming. . . In its first-world way.
The slices have been, continue to be everywhere…Snapshots of
leaving and crying
arriving and smiling
boxing and unboxing
Taking three days out of the classroom last week means I’m still catching up.
What I want to do is write and read and go on a run. Luckily, last month I read Donalyn Miller’s piece, Fallow Fields. I’m fairly sure she didn’t mean this… this days on end of life-is-too-busy-I-can’t-sit-and-read-or-write-plus-my-books-are-still-packed. But, her piece helps me feel less guilty.
On Monday I confessed to my class. I said, “I’ve been so busy. I’m living out of boxes. I had to pack up my books, and my digital library loan ended right in the middle of my last book. I haven’t been writing. I haven’t been reading. I haven’t been running. How many of you have ever had a break between books where it’s hard to pick up the next book?” So many kids raised their hands, some with guilty expressions.
I told them (and myself) that readers and writers and runners take breaks sometimes — and that even super strong readers can have trouble getting back to it. Then I asked them for help. “How am I going to start again? I can’t pick up a book and read it all right now. I can’t go run a 5K, it’s been too long!”
A student raised his hand and told me advice he learned from his gym teacher. He thinks it could go for anything. “Just start slowly. Read one page one day, and then two the next.”
Brilliant advice. He’s totally right. I told my class that this was one of the extra benefits of being a teacher: A whole room full of advisors and people to cheer you on as you try to reach your goals.
So tonight, I’m taking his advice: 1 slice at a time.