Peter Elbow wrote in Vernacular Eloquence, “Writers have to take charge of language more than readers do. (Fans of reading often neglect writing…) Readers are the beneficiaries of an enlarged language, but writers did the heavy lifting. p. 48-49
And I feel like the group efforts of the writing project to get the next grant report done for CSMP is like a gym workout. I’ve never done a workout on machines, or any kind of workout in a gym, but that’s what I envision when I hear the words, “heavy lifting.”
I really dislike the confusing format of the items and questions in the report format and it begins to feel like fibbing to talk about what we will and won’t do in 2020. Yikes!
So, employing my expository voice [read this with a nasal, slow emphasis on posit] is not where my writing mind likes to live. It is more akin to going over to some friend’s cousins house whom I know from having done this same thing several months ago. I am munching chips and talking, but somehow it doesn’t add up to a conversation. Ask me next week what I said and I’ll be flummoxed.
But, writing anything is the heavy lifting compared to reading. Not how I am struggling to take charge of language as it flops and wobbles around into sentence-shaped bits. If I were just reading something, even a dense passage in Vernacular Eloquence, it’d be easy. Now I am thinking of people who DO work out in gyms, regularly, for fun and health. Reading this, they may think, “what’s the big deal?”
Writing grant reports and writing to prompts like the CSMP narratives are weight lifting. Trying to get it all in on a deadline adds to the pounds.
So, now, I can skitter around like a kid let out of school and just write whatever I want. I was really getting the new keyboard clicking, when my faithful Writing Cat, leaned over and contemplated biting my right knuckles. He looked at my hands in annoyance and thought it over and opened his jaw.
I gasped! “Huhhhh!!? my breath sucked through my throat. Mickey thought better of the bite and my words, “Do not bite me!” sunk into his feline brain. He has shifted a ways from the keyboards and it napping more contentedly.
Other writing. I have been doing reflective journal writing for the online course, Dharma 365 which I signed up for at New Year’s. Since much of the reading content is about Kriya yoga and intention and meditation, I have enjoyed just trying to tell myself the truth about what I believe, what I intuit, what I experience, and what I have absolutely no idea about. This has been a quick write style of focused writing. Writing to pay attention to my spiritual life. Writing to think about meditation.
Last weekend I spend all my writing muscles on a day long presentation, which led K-6 teachers to do some kinds of informational writing while they got the low down on why teach in workshop mode. That was writing to present, to teach. But I kept some life in it and didn’t go entirely over to my expository voice.
Tomorrow I will write and curate models for my Saturday lesson on writing personal essays with elementary kids and teachers. This should be easier, but I also have a way in writing lessons of getting caught up in details, searching for odd little pieces and otherwise revise perhaps way too vigorously.
Then the bright day will dawn, like journal for Two Writing Teachers this evening in which I will write just to write. Just for the mental fun of it. Just to push words out through my fingers and see thoughts form on the screen.
There were funny things and tough things about this week. Kids made reading victories and stuff got done I didn’t expect. But I don’t find it restful to go back into my teaching day and tease something out, just to call it a slice.
If there was a slice choosing me that’s be different. What I like is finally finding the mental space (Writing Cat sighs here) to just write.
Grants equal bar bells. Reports are a workout. Writing presentations is way harder than sitting in one. And I have just had some fun messing around with language and anticipating a season of creative writing.