My Mission Statement

I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Teaching and Learning

I was privileged to have a few minutes to teach a small group of middle school students this morning. We were working on essays, and I could have stayed there all day. It's so fun to help get kids fired up about something as important as writing. A few years ago, for my Reading Specialist master's program, I did a bit of research on teachers and writing which led me to the conclusion that it's hard for teachers to get fired up about something they're not that confident about themselves. Then I taught a series of writing workshops for teachers under the theory that if teachers get excited about their own writing, they'll be more effective with their students. Honestly not sure if it worked or not. I should really follow up with that. I mean, the feedback in the short term was very positive, but who knows two years later.

Anyway, as I demonstrated structure to these kids and talked to them about not lifting that pencil from the paper, I thought about how much I needed to hear those words. I've registered for NaNoWriMo, and I'm terrified, to be honest. I don't usually work that quickly and like my friend, Jody, said on a comment, it's so hard not to edit as you go. BUT I believe it's all good for my discipline and so forth or I wouldn't be doing it. Telling these things to the kids today really made me realize how much I need to stick to what I know to be true. It's so tempting to get your rear out of that chair or put down your pencil to run do some quick 'research', but honestly, I know and you know that if you don't hang around long enough for the magic to come, it never does. So I'm off now to put my pencil to paper and leave it there!

Also, I received a random rejection letter yesterday for a poem I'd written. I half-way expected it because I wasn't convinced it was the perfect fit for this magazine, but it was somewhat of a fit, so I sent it on. Anyway, that 'reverse communication' (as a friend of mine calls rejection letters) really got to me for whatever reason. I need to get back to work and shake it off. And YES, I've already resent the piece to another magazine where it is probably a better fit. What didn't I do that first? Am I subconsciously expecting a rejection letter first, so I go ahead and send it somewhere where I 'expect' it will be rejected? What's the psychology here? Where is that darn book of mine about battling resistance in the arts??

My kindergartner loves his flip flops. It was 49 degrees this morning,and I let him wear his flip flops. Will they call social services? But he LOVES them. When it's a cold morning, you dig them out of their warm beds, rush them to get dressed, eat breakfast, etc., I can't help but want to give him the small pleasure of wearing flip flops, you know? And he was thrilled. Wonder what the grown-up equivalent of wearing flip flops is? Hmmm...maybe you can help me here, folks.

Oh, and thanks for all my poetry writers last Friday! Yee haw! And HOORAY for all the NaNoWriMo sign-ups! I'll need your support to be sure! xoxox


WordWrangler said...

okay, okay. SO I just might have to sign up for the NaNo. I'm thinking on it.

It would be worth the effort - even if I spread it out over several different projects. Yes?

Still thinking - but closer to a yes today. :)


Anonymous said...

Hi Donna,

Sorry about your rejection. Lately when I get a rejection I write a thank you note to the editor. Even if it's a form letter. It sounds stupid, but somehow it feels good. The trick is to try not to sound sarcastic about it, but to genuinely thank them for their time. I don't know why it makes me feel better, but it does.

Isabel by Donna Jones Koppelman

Isabel by Donna Jones Koppelman

Major Bear at the Grove Park Inn by Donna Jones Koppelman

Major Bear at the Grove Park Inn by Donna Jones Koppelman