The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Sunday, August 15, 2010

William's Words on Writing

           Last year I had a conversation with a colleague, who spoke of something she experienced while conversing with another teacher.  The teacher was working with young writers, and was asking questions to ascertain what their status was:  were they drafting?  were they generating ideas?  were they engaged in a prewriting activity?

           One student responded by saying they were working on some "wonderments."  What a great response!  Things that children wonder about lead to great writing pieces.

           Unfortunately, the teacher responded by telling the student they needed to remember to put ending punctuation at the end of every sentence. He felt proud of the interaction; he thought working on "wonderments" was a pointless activity, and was confident he had given the child a great direction to go.

            As writers, and teachers of writers, we need to realize that every writer is different, and often the way we arrive at the "end" of a writing piece involves a twisted journey, with lots of crossroads.  We have to celebrate the wondering that children engage in.

           William Stafford wrote these wise words about writing as he dealt with the importance of process instead of substance:

            " Writers may not be special---sensitive or talented in any usual sense.  They are simply engaged n sustained used of a language skill we all have.  Their 'creations' come about through confident reliance on stray impulses that will, with trust, find occasional patterns that are satisfying.
             But writing itself is one of the great, free human activities.  There is scope for individuality, and elation, and discovery, in writing.  For the person who follows with trust and forgiveness what occurs to him, the world remains always ready and deep, and inexhaustible  environment, with the combined vividness of an actuality and flexibility of a dream."

photo by stewartbremner

            We have to nurture writers' confidence.  We have to celebrate their elation.  We have to keep it free...

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed this post. This weekend I was told my writing is boring and soft... from my mother and husband! Apparently they enjoy my blogs about boogers a little too much. [insert attention-grabbing notions about my husband and mother here]. So, I don't really know what to say to them and I do appreciate their input tremendously. I enjoy writing, but everything isn't going to be about bodily functions and make them burst outloud with laughter. ho-hum... not really sure where I'm going with this! Anyway, write - write - write. Yes! Encourage writing no matter how it comes out! :o)


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