Teachers Write: Sometimes, when I write…

Saturday, October 20th is NCTE’s National Day on Writing.  How will you celebrate?

It strikes me that this is not only a great excuse to hunker down somewhere with a big mug hot chocolate and notebook or laptop but also an opportunity to share.

If you’re a writer at heart, it’s tough to understand how anyone could live without putting pen to paper or clicking away some at a keyboard each day.  But plenty of people — lots of kids — can’t understand why we’d want to do that at all.  On October 20th, might we open a window into our writing lives so that people who don’t understand the value can have a glimpse of what this world is like?

Today: You can write whatever you want — a free verse poem, a memoir, a short story or monologue, a letter.  Start with this line:

“Sometimes, when I write..”

See where it goes.  Think about sharing this one with your students and inviting them to do the same.  The week of October 20th, we’ll be celebrating writing with a special project on my blog. This will get you (and hopefully your students!) thinking in the right direction to join the celebration.

For today, feel free to share a snippet in the comments if you’d like!

And by the way, you don’t have to be a teacher or librarian to join us in sharing today… We’d love to hear from authors and kids and nurses and accountants and everybody, too!

11 Replies on “Teachers Write: Sometimes, when I write…

  1. Quick poem inspired by your line:

    Sometimes when I write I am frightened I won’t be able to come up with anything. I stare at the blank page

    Afraid I won’t have an idea.

    But then I start. Words flow out of my fingertips. My keyboard clicks as I type faster and faster.

    Curious of what’s to come.

    And then she comes, that darn annoying voice. My inner editor pops up in my mind.

    You can’t do this.

    At first, I listen. The words slow. But then I shove her out of my mind. I CAN do this. I AM doing this. And all I have to do is keep letting the words come out.

    And my fingers start flying once again.

  2. Sometimes when I write,
    I imagine the words
    as if they were ghosts, tap dancing
    across the page —
    My job is kick off my shoes
    so that I can join them in silent revelry
    before pulling the plug on the jukebox,
    all of us standing still as the ink dries.

  3. Sometimes, when I write the words that scream to be out and put on the paper (or screen). Other times, the scenarios are quite different:
    I want to find the write word, but I don’t know it in English.
    I know that I am a good writer, but the words that I want to use don’t translate into English in the right way.
    I know the vowel sounds in English–at least the simple ones, but why does /a/ have so many different sounds? Wouldn’t one be enough?
    And what is with the /ck/ when you only pronounce one of letters anyway?
    Sometimes, when I write, I just can’t the write vowel sound no matter what I try. Should I rely on the spell checker?

    Sometimes, when I write, I want to use an online dictionary to help me. I know the word I want to use–just not in English. I write the word /tärkeä/ on the online translator, and I get 12 different words as the translation! Which one should I choose? See the difference:
    This message is very important.
    This message is very urgent.
    This message is very consequential.
    This message is very material.
    This message is very seminal.
    This message is very grave.
    Sometimes, when I write, translations confuse me.

    Sometimes, when I write, I get all mixed up with the prepositions in English.
    I mean, think: You have to “turn off” the lights but you “close the book”. Why can’t you “close off the book”? And please don’t tell me that would change the
    meaning–I hear that all the time. What about the word “at”? We are “at” school, and don’t yell “at” me? How is there consistency in this usage?
    Sometimes, when I write, the mechanics of English pull me down.

    But other times, when I write, I don’t care if my language is perfect; I just want my words to tell the story. I want my words to touch somebody. I want my
    words–even when they are imperfect–to carry a message to my readers.

    Sometimes, when I write, it is not about perfect grammar or following an English lesson, it is about the fun, the enjoyment that writing brings into my life. I write because I want to!

  4. Sometimes when I write
    it’s Sunday night.

    I’m tired and would rather be
    asleep and tucked in snugly.

    But seeing comments trailing Kate’s new post,
    I add my own. (My good intentions, not yet toast.)

  5. Not polished at all….

    Sometimes when I write, I pick up the pencil and have no idea what will come out of the lead.
    If I spent he day holding the hands of a wonderful man, the same man that years ago took me into his life as his own granddaughter, the writing might be painful. It might be raw and real. The pencil might tell of I how I felt when I looked into his face and knew he wanted to tell me something. But no words came. For such a weak looking man, his handgrip is strong. Not as strong as several years ago, but still strong and tough-just like him. His crumpled up body is itching to move on. To move on to a better place where there’s no more waiting. No more looking at people you don’t know anymore. No more lying in bed day after day.
    That old man will grab your hand and move it slowly, slowly, towards his neck and he’ll begin moving it back and forth-his way of telling you to rub his back. You’ll rub his back and talk softly to him. You’ll tell him it’s OK to leave. Nan is waiting for him. You’ll tell him how much you love him. You’ll tell him the story of the very first time you met him. He’ll look in your eyes and you think he remembers you. He smiles a crooked smile and when you leave, you don’t look back.
    Sometimes when I write, I watch the pencil cross the page and I remember this good old man as tears smudge the lead.