Note: I am writing this pretend letter as a response to Jason Reynolds’ WriteRightRite Tue., April 21, 2020 writing prompt video: Write the letter your hero would write back to you after you wrote to them.
Backstory: My 2020 NCTE Workshop Proposal was accepted. Yes – I am super excited. (However, I also wonder if the conference will even happen. What will things be like come Nov. 2020?? But that’s another story for another day). At the conference, three colleagues and I are planning to share tips on ways to guide readers in making a reading notebook page to show their thinking. We invited amazing author, Avi, to read-aloud a short story during our presentation so the audience can practice our tips. With this prompt, I’m going to pretend that it is sometime after thee 2020 NCTE conference which went on as planned and it is sometime after Avi received my thank you email for his participation in our workshop.
I so enjoyed reading aloud my short story, Tightie Whities or Briefs during your 2020 NCTE workshop. It gave me such energy to be in the presence of teachers who are so passionate about growing their practice, as evident by their enthusiastic attendance.
I found it most fascinating to see all the different ways the audience, all hearing the same story, created unique notebook pages. Some a web, some with just words, some only sketches, some used a chart. All recorded what you called, “invisible thinking” , their thoughts which occurs as they heard me read my story. I left the Denver Convention Center energized to keep writing. I do feel I have a few more stories in me, even though the word “octogenarian” is used to describe me.
I encourage you to keep writing, too. You mentioned how you like to blog. It sounded like over the years, you have drafted many stories. Maybe one day soon you can pick a topic and connect multiple stories into a short story collection. That is exactly what I did to make the short story collection, The Most Important Thing: Stories About Sons, Fathers, and Grandfathers. Maybe you have stories to create a collection called: The Important Thing: Stories About Daughters, Mothers, and Grandmothers. Or pick any topic. See where your collection takes you!
However, having a topic to gather drafted stories together is just one step. Here’s one more tip. It is advise I gave in my April 21, 2020 blog post entitled Re-Writing. I stated, “If, when you first write something and you think it is good, you’re in trouble. But when you write something and you think it is not very good, that’s great. Because now you can write it better. Nobody, nobody, nobody writes anything very good the first time.”
Sally, our session presentation gave me the needed kick in the pants to revise. Like I stated at the end of that blog post, “The whole point is not to think of revision as a separate part of writing. Revision IS writing.” I hope you remember this important writing tip!
Sally, thank you for choosing me to present with you. Stay in touch. Let me know if you choose to take the next writing step by focusing several stories about one topic and then revising them. If you create a short story collection, do share.
Your Denver Writing Friend,