Monday, March 10, 2014

Writing Life

As I sit here waiting for my next conference at school it's quiet, too quiet.  I stare at a blank screen, drained from the day thinking what in the world am I going to write.
My reflection is on how this commitment to post a blog everyday has allowed me to grow as a writer. 
I realize now that I was making excuses to not write and that is exactly what happens with my students.  It takes work to write and any of the least resistance or set back gives us an excuse to quit.  When my son passed away I made it my mission to write everything that I could about Trent.  I worried that everyone would forget about him and not remember him anymore.  Then I began to worry that I would forget.  Forget what color eyes he had, his favorite foods, how he smelled, how his hugs felt... I had a journal to write down all the stories.  But I felt strange getting it out when my husband was around to write in it afraid he would ask and that I would upset him.  When I did get it out there was so much to write down, before I forgot, that it became overwhelming and I would just stare at it.  I bought a special pen thinking that would make it happen, that didn't work.  It was beginning to weigh on me and I felt that I was letting Trent down for not writing.  Finally,it just got easier to just not write.  Oh, I wrote in front of my students, even stories about Ashley and Trent but it was only occasionally.
Then at lunch one day at school I was having a conversation with some colleagues about funny stories in life.  As we were talking, Betsy shared with us about how she writes on her blog and that I should think about doing it too. Shortly after she helped me get started.  I wrote a few blogs my only audience was Betsy and Robin (Safe :) 
A few weeks ago I became frustrated with my students they were becoming stagnant in their writing and we were all loosing our enthusiasm.  So, when Betsy reminded me of the slice of life challenge in March I though Ah yes if I want my students to write more I need to write along with them. 
We were going through the motions of how to become a good writer but I never give them a reason to do it.
Now, that I have set up their blog they are excited to have others read their writing ... having an audience.  They are also excited when I read snippets of their quick writes everyday and share my connections that I have with their writing.  They love the feedback. Their class blog is: if you feel like checking it out.  It's a work in progress.  I have just a few kids type their quick writes as we have the time.
I am working through my writing demons along with my students.  I've come to realize there are kids that also have a difficult time writing about personal topics because of obstacles in their lives but if I can show them that I can do it hopefully it will give them the strength to write. 
I hope that people don't forget about Trent and more importantly I hope I won't forget those little things about him either.
Thank you Betsy for giving me that push that was well needed!
P.S. Trent's eyes were blue, he had a mole on his right upper lip like mine, he had dimples in his cheeks, he had blond hair, if you looked real close he had a few bits of asphalt left in his skin from a bicycle accident in 6th grade, he smelled like Old Spice Original (I know because I wear it everyday to remind me) and he had the most amazing hugs ever!  I wake up thinking about him and go to bed thinking about him.  I miss him more than anyone can imagine.


  1. It is so easy to make excuses for now writing. For some reason this year, I look forward to writing my slice...never knowing what I'm going to write about. In fact, I stress if I think I'm running out of time. Thank goodness for the friends that we have that have encouraged us to write.

  2. Kris,
    I hope you know how much I have appreciated our conversations about your students, your writing life and bits of life in general as it seeps into our talks. I truly feel a connection to you through your writing and what we have discussed over the past few weeks. I knew, somewhere deep, that you would and needed to write your stories. Trent's stories. I felt my tears at the end of this and imagined you probably felt the stinging in your cheeks while writing it. I'm not sure anyone would have ever expected a friendship or better yet the bond I feel we have established in a short time. There were many years it could have happened but sometimes things just fall into place when meant to. When I say I can't wait to read your next slice, I mean it. When I say I can't wait to hear what your students are writing, I mean it. When I hear you say it's hard to write, I get it. But I feel your open-ness and I sense your concern for your students and I know your passion for writing. Missing pieces are just mis-placed, not gone. You'll find them. You can hold onto them through writing.

  3. Thank you for sharing today! I really enjoyed reading about how hard it is to really get to business and write. I think I've grown in many ways with my writing, but it's with my exercise and running that I find I make lots of excuses. Anyways, a beautiful slice, and thank you for also sharing about your Trent. I can't imagine what that must feel like to miss your son so, so much....

  4. Kris, I tried to comment last night but I was at a loss for words. This piece is so powerful! The honest and open way you write gets me every time. The PS portion had tears streaming down my face. I look forward to your slice every day. Your students are lucky to have a teacher who understand how hard it is to write. I firmly believe that I'm a better teacher of writing because I write. If you don't live the struggles, you can't help others through the struggles. Your comment about not writing in front of your husband actually made me smile...I didn't even tell my husband I had a blog for months! It's a silly thing. Writing is so personal but you'd think it would be easier to share it with someone you are closest to rather than strangers, but it isn't!
    PS - your hair looks great! :)