September 17, 2012

Teaching Writing

Sometimes, teaching is a matter of being a river. I have my own riverbed and flow, but I invite yours. You don't have to join me; a confluence is often turbulent.  I invite you to become your own river.  It's likely you have just the place inside -- empty with boulders.  Sun shines and the water sends back the light.  It rains and suddenly you find currents, erosions, accretions, eddies. Willows hold and reach across the river to the other side. 

Sometimes a riverbed is dry. No matter. Maybe we'll work on the headwaters.  Maybe it has gone underground. The point is, you have riverness.  

I know water follows its own path. In the work, writers must let themselves be -- be a beginner, be uncertain, be full of clouds.  The clouds are on the surface.   Submerge and find the deep places, the cold and warm currents tugging on the roots and carrying the leaves and feathers and fish.  Things fall in, bridges are built, voices arrive.   

Image, image, image-engine.  Imagine.  One day the rains came for days and the water rose and tore away trees. I stood amid mudslides and broken roads.  Oh, that's a river for you. It rages and subsides.  We begin over and over.  

I want to trigger stories. It doesn't matter if they become poems, fiction, nonfiction, or letters. I want to tell you it begins with rain, and it becomes a path. It becomes deep, empties into a larger body. In this process of language falling among language --  we take in light, fall, let things go, arrive.

1 comment:

  1. Sheila,
    What a great posting. I hope you realize this may draw writer-wanna-bees out of obscurity. Any teacher bold enough to use two gerunds to title a message must know the effect it has on her students. Nothing improves writing like writing. For a procrastinator like me, this is an opportunity build a new habit that may lead to a behavioral change.
    Thanks for the invitation.