Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Real stories, real tears, real writers

Day 21 of 31 at TWT!
"Are we ok over here?" I scurry over to one of the square tables, where two girls are desperately grabbing tissues.

They nod, wipe away tears, and hug each other.

"Something someone wrote?"

"No, she just told me what she might write about her dad!"

Wow. Now we've moved on from crying over published posts to crying over potential posts! This community of writers is incredible! A slideshow in my mind shuffles through all the similar moments over our past few weeks of blogging:

Kneeling beside C. to tell him personally how heartbreakingly beautiful his post about his dad was and how many people had approached me about it to say they couldn't even find the words to comment on it. Him telling me that he'd cried while writing it. Watching him fight tears again at his table as he re-read it and the comments he'd received. (If you read it, don't worry -- he is safe; these memories are from a long time ago and his dad is far away now.)

Spotting a huddle of sobbing girls and going over to find that they were crying about how one had written about how hard it is to live far away from her mom. When her squad leader had read it, written her a kind comment, and personally gone over to tell her that she was there for her, they'd all lost it.

Bursting into tears at my desk on only the second day of the challenge at S.'s poignant post about being a child when Syria's Civil War started. Watching set after set of wet eyes boil over around the room when I shared it with the class as a mentor text. Seeing her put her face in her hands and weep as she read all of the wonderful comments she received on that post and subsequent installments of her story.

Stories of ruined friendships, divorced parents, injuries, fears, mistakes. And yes, joyful stories too: baby siblings, loving families, cherished moments, future dreams.

My students have worked on writing all year, but they have truly become writers this month. Writers discovering their voices, connecting with each other, and making realizations like this one:
"...when I write things down I feel better." <3
There is power in the stories, and there is power in the telling of the stories.

"Everything is held together with stories. That is all that is holding us together, stories and compassion." -- Barry Lopez


  1. Wow, wow, wow. I can't wait to check out your students' writing. You've created writers, storytellers and a community. Thank you! (And you better get some more tissues!)

  2. This is a whole different scene than past years. What an incredible community of writers you have developed. This will be what they remember most about this year in your class.


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