GJW is a little confused about how to execute: One piece of information from any class that has helped you figure out what you want to say and how to say it.

It took me a long time to find my voice. It didn’t take me long to lose it again and again. Establishing what I wanted to say to the world and believing that my message would have value came and went like waves in December. More sand and rocks were torn out of the safety walls, leaving me with more holes. All of my notebooks between twenty-two and forty (finished and half-filled) are stacked in three small boxes that I rarely open—all the things I didn’t say still scream at me when I think about opening them up. During this time I also spent ten summers working with the Oregon Writing Project at Eastern as a participant, group leader, and co-director. I learned a lot about writing and myself as a writer during that time, but, again, I lacked confidence in my message and I didn’t really acknowledge the responses I got to one style of writing. I thought I was a poet for awhile. I wanted to write fiction. I still love writing poetry and teaching poetry, but I acknowledge that fiction may not (is not) my thing.

So, where did I find my voice?

One of the last retreats I went to with the OWP was a grant-writing weekend. I wrote about the impact the OWP had on me professionally and personally. I wouldn’t still be a teacher without those summers, without that program. My personal essay got the kind of amazing response I hadn’t been able to really acknowledge or believe in other situations. That’s when I decided to start a blog. Anyone who looks through the history of this sucker can see the fits and false-starts and attempts at redirecting myself. Recently, I decided to talk about what it’s actually like to be a public school teacher right now. I’ve wanted it to be a place where my students could find ideas, more information, examples of some assignments. I want people who are thinking about teaching or about bashing teachers to have a place where they can look and maybe get an idea about how much of ourselves teachers pour into what they do.

So, GJW, did this help at all?


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